CD Reviews

This week we review the latest albums from Anika Moa, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, The White Stripes, The Avett Brothers, and Eddy Current Suppression Ring.

> Anika Moa. Love In Motion. EMI.
3 stars (out of 5)

Two and a-half years since the release of the excellent In Swings The Tide, Anika Moa returns with album No 4, Love In Motion, which, as its title suggests, deals with various aspects of love.

Moa eschews the country lilt of her previous effort in favour of a more in-your-face attitude, complemented by occasional guitar stabs (in particular, opener Two Hearts and the single Running Through The Fire).

Once again, the harmonies are faultless but, in adding layers of polish, she ends up playing it a bit too safe, sometimes obscuring the delightful vulnerability of that crystal-clear voice.

Single download: I Am The Woman Who Loves You
For those who like: Bic Runga, Sharon O'Neill

- Shane Gilchrist

> Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. I Learned The Hard Way. Daptone Records.
3 stars (out of 5)

The retro-soul vein continues to deliver for Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, whose fourth album, I Learned The Hard Way, is a muscular mix of Brill Building-era polish and 21st-century scuff.

Jones is firmly in control, whether she's bouncing poppily through Better Things, slow-dragging on If You Call or winding up for She Aint' A Child No More, while the Kings, always snappy and reliable, loosen up funkily on standout track I'll Still Be True.

There's a dearth of obvious singles but that won't hold this album back; it's a collection made for the stage.

Single download: I'll Still be True
For those who like: Lee Fields, Amy Winehouse, Eli Reed

- Paul Mooney

> The White Stripes. Under Great White Northern Lights. XL Recordings.
4 stars (out of 5)

This excellent concert CD/DVD documents the White Stripes' 2007 tour of Canada, where the duo played every province and territory, from conventional gigs to hastily organised side-show performances in town squares, on boats, bowling alleys and pool halls.

On film, a glowering Jack does most of the talking while Meg smiles enigmatically and says little.

On stage, Jack bleats like a stuck sheep and Meg thumps the tubs mercilessly as they rip through a set of post-White Blood Cells favourites with raucous and rugged aplomb.

Play as loud as your neighbours will allow.

Single download: I'm Slowly Turning Into You
For those who like: The White Stripes - this one's for fans - Jeff Harford

> The Avett Brothers. I and Love and You. American Recordings.
3 stars (out of 5)

The major-label debut for siblings Scott and Seth Avett (and bass player Bob Crawford), I and Love and You, is their sixth studio album, following more than a decade of songwriting and, apparently, storming live shows.

Picked up by influential producer Rick Rubin (Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, Red Hot Chili Peppers), The Avett Brothers mix tinges of bluegrass with West Coast Americana and bombastic, piano-driven pop-rock.

At the heart of their songs are symbiotic harmonies that, in the best moments, are laid bare to a backdrop of acoustic guitar or banjo.

Single download: Ten Thousand Words
For those who like: Counting Crows, Turin Brakes

- Shane Gilchrist

> Eddy Current Suppression Ring. Rush To Relax. Shock Records.
2 stars (out of 5)

This third album from Melbourne garage rock outfit Eddy Current Suppression Ring adds little to the canon that hasn't already been documented but there's a certain colloquial charm about it nevertheless.

No flowery language here as these Aussie lads blast through a mix of punky, riff-driven guitar tunes reportedly recorded in only six hours; just some fairly ordinary lyrics about everyday things, sung unremarkably.

Working best when the band explores several extended instrumental jams, Rush To Relax sounds a little . . . er . . . rushed.

Single download: Anxiety
For those who like: The Dirtbombs, the Troggs, the Stooges

- Jeff Harford

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