Music review: February 9

For close to 30 years, Hoboken band Yo La Tengo has tested many approaches to making absorbing rock music, from neat-as-a-pin pop numbers to sprawling sonic diversions, and, while not all of it has welcomed repeated listening, it has all been the product of honest endeavour.

> Yo La Tengo. Fade. Matador Records.

The trio's latest album Fade will romance those who favour the band's efforts to create beautiful, interesting and melodic tunes that announce themselves with a whisper rather than a shout. This is as cohesive and alluring a set as it has produced, made to be played from start to finish.

Single download: Ohm
For those who like: David Kilgour, Galaxie 500, Stereolab
5 stars (out of 5)

By Jeff Harford

> Madness. Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da. Cooking Vinyl.

They might be yesterday's men, but it's hard to say no to Madness' giddy mix of ska, soul and pop. Over a decade since their last top-10 single, the Nutty Boys attempt to trade on past glories with the jaunty My Girl 2, while the character sketches and kitchen-sink melodrama of Leon and Powder Blue are relics of Thatcher's Britain.

When forgoing nostalgia, however, How Can I Tell You's languid skank and the dub-heavy dread of Death of a Rude Boy remind us that this is a group of deft musicians ... not a joker's shop.

Single download: Death of a Rude Boy
For those who like: The Specials, The Beat, baggy trousers
3 stars (out of 5)
By John Hayden

> Aaron Jury. Wyre Street. Pacific International.

Kaitangata son Aaron Jury, winner of the 2005 Gold Guitar Awards, has at last got a debut album in his back pocket.

Though there are just two tracks solely attributed to Jury (the remaining nine penned by professional songwriters on an album recorded in Nashville and Australian studios), it is his songs that shine brightest and resonate the strongest: 29 is a tribute to those killed at Pike River, while the title track evokes a childhood spent in a small town.

Shining through the slick production is Jury's voice, a warm baritone that wouldn't be out of place in a big rig thundering down a long straight.

Single download: Wyre Street
For those who like: George Jones, Alan Jackson
4 stars (out of 5)

By Shane Gilchrist

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