CD Reviews

This week we review the latest albums from The Coral, School of Seven Bells, The Naked and Famous, Richard Thompson and Disturbed.

>The Coral.
Butterfly House.

4 stars (out of 5)

Not so many years ago, The Coral tore up stages with such manic guitar meltdown that Brit critics hailed them as all that was great with new guitar bands.

So what happened to turn them into an easy-listening hard folk crossover act? Perhaps the departure of lead guitarist Bill Ryder-Jones was the catalyst.

Whatever, The Coral should have dipped their toes in this water earlier.

Butterfly House is awash with such sumptuous West Coast melodies that rich harmonies are the new guitar solo.

These enlightened scousers take their biggest cue from the Merseybeat pioneers, and it's great.

Single download: She's Coming Around

For those who like: Moby Grape, Bread, Love, Tim Buckley, The Doors

- Mark Orton

>School Of Seven Bells.
Disconnect From Desire.
Vagrant Records.

3 stars (out of 5)

Benjamin Curtis (guitar and electronics) and sisters Alejandra and Claudia Deheza (vocals and electronics) have unwittingly pointed to the shortcomings in their dense and dreamy brand of shoe-gazer pop in the title of their follow-up to 2008's Alpinisms.

While there's no denying the beauty and allure of the melodic, intertwining vocals and the punch and thrust of the pristine electronic backgrounds, the music washes around and leaves little in its wake.

The disconnection from desire or any other genuine emotion is comprehensive, despite the attempt to paint some fairly desperate and dark images in the lyrics.

Single download: Windstorm

For those who like: Blonde Redhead, Bat For Lashes, Cocteau Twins

- Jeff Harford

>The Naked And Famous.
Passive Me, Aggressive You.
Universal Music.

4 stars (out of 5)

I'll confess to some nervousness around Young Blood earning The Naked And Famous this year's Apra Silver Scroll, but great pop songs tick some boxes that more highbrow efforts leave unchecked, and this debut full-length release proves the win was no fluke.

The band's shimmering, exhilarating songs tumble forth in a perfect storm of muscular electronic joy, capturing a moment it might struggle to repeat, given the ephemeral nature of such things.

But let's not begrudge these young Aucklanders their time in the sun.

Instead, let's admire the clean, sharp lines of their punchy, industrial-strength pop.

Single download: Punching In A Dream

For those who like: MGMT, Computers Want Me Dead

- Jeff Harford

>Richard Thompson.
Dream Attic.
Proper Records.

3 stars (out of 5)

Folk-Rock veteran Richard Thompson has been taking shots at the world for decades now but still hasn't got all the bees out of his bonnet, as this album (of new material taken from a few live dates in the States) shows.

Kicking off with a spleen-vent at financiers (Money Shuffle), the album spits and snarls as Thompson lashes out, both lyrically - check the swipes at Sting in Here Comes Geordie - and musically, wrenching shards of discomfiting sound out of his electric guitar while his backing band kicks on with suitable spikiness.

A handful of slower tracks smooth the ride a little.

Single download: Crimescene

For those who like: Fairport Convention, Frank Turner

- Paul Mooney


1 star (out of 5)

Disturbed is as big as it gets in commercial hard rock, and for its fifth album doesn't deviate from the slickly-produced anthems that have made it the band of choice for angst-ridden teens.

If there is anything more annoying than a metal band churning out a soulless procession of manufactured riffs, it's the same band looking at world issues.

Vocalist David Draiman seems intent on spreading his word on the holocaust, global warming, war and turning into a werewolf, but has no new vocal tricks to replace that annoying overused distorted yelp.

Asylum is chock-full of moronic melodies for the tonally challenged.

All filler, no killer.

Single download: Remnants

For those who like: Stone Sour, Avenged Sevenfold, Seether

- Mark Orton

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