Album reviews: Arcitc Monkeys | Gomez | My Morning Jacket | Stan Getz | Findlay Napier | greig, Schumann, Mendelssohn

ARCTIC MONKEYS Suck It And See *** Domino, £11.99

The trouble with the title of the Sheffield band's fourth album is that, the longer you live with it, the less tangy it becomes.

Pleasingly they continue the meteorological bent that started with Crying Lightning on Humbug with the opener, She's Thunderstorms. From a lovely wonky guitar intro, it declares an even more thoughtful approach to the pop craft than usual. Alex Turner naturalises the frequently complex linguistics deployed in his lyrics, lulling the listener into accepting his phrases as everyday parlance.

If anything, though, Suck It And See is too relaxed in its approach, picking up when the band's guitars get grubbier in the riff-driven Brick By Brick and Don't Sit Down Cause I've Moved Your Chair.

The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala is trying to be too clever, as the title suggests, and the same can be said of Love Is A Laserquest. Fans are sure to find some new Arctic phrases which will provoke a hard-earned snigger. Piledriver Waltz reels them off effortlessly, perhaps suffering from the law of diminishing returns, and the title track is a well-practised set piece rather than an act of spontaneous genius. It's a very efficient, well-crafted record that makes them sound much older than need be.

Download this: Don't Sit Down Cause I Moved Your Chair, She's Thunderstorms



Whatever's On Your Mind


Eat Sleep Records EAT062CDA, 11.99

The three principal songwriters remain at the core of what Gomez do, and perhaps that is part of the group's problem. To these ears the contribution of Ben Ottewell far outweighs that of Ian Ball and Tom Gay, and the four songs he sings – notably the title track – have human warmth beyond simply good pop tunes. There is nothing particularly wrong with this record, but nothing that sounds just right either.

Download this: Whatever's On Your Mind, Equalise




V2, VVR770978, 13.99

My Morning Jacket's new album all begins to get a bit strange with Holdin' On To Black Metal, which is when Jim James looks to be losing it. Restrained and formulaic, the aforementioned track is the one and only sign of anything cutting loose a little, but it falls flat on its face.

The pop harmonies of The Day Is Coming waft sweetly to no great effect and Outta My System has some cringe-making lyrical moments. Slow Slow Tunes bears that malaise out, with both inspiration and perspiration apparently noticeable by their absence.

Download this: Circuital



Stan Getz With Cal Tjader


OJC Remasters 0888072326903, 8.99

Stan Getz's playing is like a cool summer breeze, and this lovely 1958 album is as fresh and lovely sounding as his more famous, subsequent, bossa nova LPs. He and vibes player Tjader have a great rapport and, accompanied by a quartet that includes pianist Vince Guaraldi, work their way through a delicious mix of standards and Tjader-penned tunes, with Guaraldi's joyful Ginza Samba a rousing opener. A gem.

Download this: Ginza Samba, Liz-Anne


File Under Fiction


Watercolour Music WCMCD042, 13.99

This album boasts clever lyrical lines, interesting contemporary, semi-acoustic, rocking arrangements and a rake of subject matter, from the eponymous lonely librarian's emotional frustration to a stalker's skewed imagination. If there is too much shouted singing for this reviewer, it just means he's of the vintage to remember when rock'n'roll first emerged and meant more. But hats off to them – they're courageous and creatively skilled.

Download this: Waiting in the Wings


Romantic Trumpet Sonatas


Linn CKD370, 13.99

This CD's title sounds like an oxymoron, but in rearranging music for trumpet and piano, Jonathan Freeman-Attwood and Daniel-Ben Pienaar are raiding music in the Romantic genre rather than creating a brassy backdrop to a night in for two.

Grieg's Holberg Suite is an understandable candidate, and works well once you accept the quite different sound that results. Schumann's Sonata No 1 in A minor and Mendelssohn's Sonata No 2 in D major are less obvious ones, but they transfer just as well. Unusual but enjoyable.

Download this: Holberg Suite, Sarabande

This article was originally published in Scotland on Sunday on June 5th 2011