CD Reviews: November 10

  > Beachwood Sparks.
The Tarnished Gold.
Sub Pop.

Sounding like it's been around forever, the third album from Californian collective Beachwood Sparks is in thrall to the sound of droopy-moustached '70s America. Its forte is unfussy yet beautifully crafted songs, and while there are no wild flashes of innovation, a sunny West Coast vibe permeates the release - gleaming harmonies waft above melodies so sun-kissed they're almost sunburned, while shimmery guitars and deft pedal steel add a lachrymose elegance to the likes of Talk About Lonesome and Nature's Light.

Single download: Talk About Lonesome
For those who like: Buffalo Springfield, Gold Rush-era Neil Young, The Byrds
- John Hayden

  > Paul Banks.
Matador Records.

Try as he might, Interpol front man Paul Banks cannot distance himself sufficiently from his band to get out of its giant dark shadow. His voice is too distinctive and his range too limited. But on this second solo effort (his first was as Julian Plenti), Banks' liking for samples and the influence of trip-hop make for some deeper, mellower textures to these songs of self-confessed purging and venting. Young Again and I'll Sue You are the better examples of his ability to lace a thread of something sweet through fairly forbidding grey curtains of sound.

Single download: The Base
For those who like: Interpol
- Jeff Harford

  > Gary Moore.
Blues for Jimi.
Eagle Rock Entertainment.

The saddest thing about this posthumous release, is that not one, but two of the artists represented have passed away since the 2007 recording. On a night that Hendrix fans gathered to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Live at Monterey, Irish guitar supremo Gary Moore took the stage and proceeded to lift the floorboards of the London Hippodrome with some of the nastiest plank-spanking since Jimi himself wailed. Blues for Jimi shifts gears when Moore ushers in Billy Cox and Mitch Mitchell. The duo lay a perfect platform for Moore to lift the Hendrix spirit from his Strats.

Single download: Red House
For those who like: Jimi Hendrix, Lightnin' Hopkins, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Joe Bonamassa.
- Mark Orton

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