CD Reviews

The debut release from The Rascals; Glen Campbell reinvents himself; introspective gangsta from The Game; strange and beautiful from Bond Street Bridge and nostalgic yearnings from Extreme.

The Rascals. Rascalize. Shock.
3 stars (out of 5)

After engaging in some (Arctic) monkey business with Alex Turner as one half of The Last Shadow Puppets, Merseyside muso Miles Kane looks to his day job.

Rascalize, the debut release from The Rascals, sees Kane joined by Joe Edwards (bass) and Greg Mighall (drums) to produce an album of raucous - yet earnest - indie rock.

There's a barrelling momentum to these 12 tracks, which compounds the sense we've heard it all before.

Yet to their credit, The Rascals infuse the bluster with woozy psychedelia, ensuring Bond Girl and Freakbeat Phantom have enough depth to leaven the generic swagger.

Single download: Bond Girl
For those who like: Atmospheric indie rock

- John Hayden

Glen Campbell. Meet Glen Campbell. Capitol Records.
3 stars (out of 5)

Glen Campbell might not have quite the cachet of, say, Johnny Cash or Loretta Lynn, other seasoned performers to have found some late-career comeback cool, but on this collection of covers his radio-friendly pop-country stylings play with a warmth that's hard to resist.

Steered by producer Julian Raymond, Campbell works through a lush set that takes in tracks by Tom Petty, Foo Fighters and Green Day, among others, and emerges with his dignity intact.

There's nothing too profound here, but as far as covers albums by septuagenarians in heavily orchestrated '60s/'70s-influenced pop-country styles go, this one takes some beating.

Single download: Sing
For those who like: The car radio era

- Paul Mooney

The Game. LAX. Geffen.
3 stars (out of 5)

The Game has relinquished the beef on LAX, his third and purportedly final album.

With little of the 50 Cent/Dr Dre baiting that marked his previous releases, he still shows himself to be plenty preoccupied with his place in the canon.

Building on standard gangsta fare in terms of lyrics and string samples, cuts like State of Emergency and Bulletproof Diaries are little more than tired retreads, while an armoury of guest stars (Lil' Wayne, Ice Cube, Ludacris and Nas) does little for the album's consistency.

Still, when the name-dropping and chest-thumping stops, My Life and Letter to the King cut to the Game's emotional core.

Single download: My Life
For those who like: Introspection with their gang-bangin'

- John Hayden

Bond Street Bridge. The Mapmakers Art. Monkey Records.

It's hard to believe that Aucklander Sam Prebble (Broken Heartbreakers, Reb Fountain's Bandits) could have created this strange and beautiful piece almost single-handedly.

Kate Whelan plays double bass on a couple of tracks, but elsewhere it's Prebble on vocals, violin, guitar, piano, organ, mandolin, percussion, and programmed blips and beeps.

Curious narratives about travel and adventure mix with a stream-of-consciousness examination of ordinary things.

Evocative musical landscapes stretch back in time to where myth and history meet.

Single download: Black Market Soul Transplant
For those who like: The Cake Kitchen; Cloudboy

- Jeff Harford

Extreme. Saudades de Rock. Stomp.
2 stars (out of 5)

The title of Extreme's first album in 13 years translates from Portuguese as "nostalgic yearning for rock", and it is nothing if not nostalgic.

After his misadventure fronting Van Halen, singer Gary Cherone sounds more at ease belting out rasping rockers over Nuno Bettencourt's fantastically fluid but incessant riffing.

However, the bravado can't disguise a lack of inventiveness.

There's nothing of the promise of 1992's conceptual 111 Sides To Every Story.

Once touted as a successor to Queen, Extreme appears as another Bad Company-meets-Van Halen rip-off.

Single download: Flower Man
For those who like: Their blues-tinged rock to rhyme in a cliched '90s way

- Mark Orton

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