Album Reviews: The Vaselines, ROYKSOPP, Alex Hodgson, Sinatra, Christoph Willibald Von Gluck

POP THE VASELINES Sex With An X **** Sub Pop SPCD889, £10.99

If they stay true to type, Scotland's Vaselines should break up tomorrow. Twenty one years ago, Eugene Kelly and Francis McKee went their separate ways the day the band's debut album, Dum-Dum, was released. Kurt Cobain infamously covered three songs from that record, and doubtless would be equally enamoured with their long-awaited second album.

The title song is taut with a Catholic guilt ("It feels so good it must be bad for me" trills the absurdly catchy chorus). Kurt might also have wryly enjoyed I Hated The 80s, and its appropriating of Dylan's If Not For You, or the country tang and twang of My God's Bigger Than Your God.


Download this: Sex With An X, The Devil's Inside Me




Wall Of Sound WOS080LP, 11.99

The closest this gets to the energy pulsating through last year's Junior is Tricky Two, a nervy, twitching presence in a still warm sea of sonic gloop. Disquieting synthesised strings and Dave Gilmour-style guitar characterise Senior Living, a very civilised soundtrack to euthanasia. By way of contrast, The Fear is rather stern before it dissolves into a parody of the Tales Of The Unexpected theme, as reinterpreted by Kraftwerk. Overall, Senior walks a fine line between chill-out and coma.


Download this: Tricky Two, The Fear



Jeelie Jars 'n' Coalie Backies


Greentrax CDTRAX351, 11.99

The Prestonpans singer/entertainer has a warm, rich voice, and here releases a stoatir of a first album that celebrates the landscape, industry, history and women of his parish – in a plugged-in rockabilly line-up.

In the Pencaitland studio, with Elton John's bass player and half a dozen top-class muso pals, he runs through half-and-half local traditional and his own moving compositions; songs that have twice taken him to the finals of the annual Burnsong competitions, on to the airwaves from Robbie Shepherd's broadcasting studio and to the Queen at the Ghillies' Ball in Balmoral.


Download this: Inveresk



Jobim: The Complete Reprise Recordings


Universal 0602527459554, 12.99

Fans of the original, sublime Francis Albert Sinatra/Antonio Carlos Jobim album shouldn't get too excited: there are only three previously unissued tracks on this new CD, and they're the ones that caused Sinatra to pull the plug on the follow-up LP. When you hear Desafinado (fittingly re-named Off-Key), you'll appreciate why.

Overall, however, there are more delights than disappointments, and the delights are nothing short of masterpieces.


Download this: The Girl From Ipanema, I Concentrate On You



Orphe et Eurydice


Decca 478 2197, 22.99

Dedicated to Marie Antoinette, the French version of Gluck's well-known Orfeo et Euridice has been somewhat eclipsed by a mid-19th century remodelling by Berlioz drawing on the French version's orchestration, but using the Italian original text and re-shaping the opera into four acts..

Gluck's orchestrations in this three-act version are not just background to a beautifully sung line; they add tempo and tension to the proceedings. After a strikingly fast overture, Cobos' conducting sometimes relaxes, not wishing to overshadow his singers, but too much so. Nevertheless a fine, engaging performance.


Download this: J'ai perdu mon Eurydice