The Fratellis ”We Need Medicine” (BMG Records)
Glasgow-based indie rockers The Fratellis have finally unveiled the long awaited follow-up to 2008’s “Here We Stand,” and this eagerly anticipated offering features more of the infectious bluesy romps which have been delighting audiences ever since the band burst onto the scene in 2006 with the million selling “Costello Music.” Their decision to take a lengthy sabbatical from group activities seems to have been totally vindicated as the trio have returned to the fray with renewed energy as they deliver a batch of fine new songs led by “Seven Days Seven Nights,” “Halloween Blues” and “We Need Medicine” itself.
Spacehog ”As It Is On Earth” (SH 004)
Twelve years have slipped by since Spacehog’s third album, “The Hogysssey” was released to a wave of general indifference, prompting the expatriate English indie band to throw in the towel soon afterwards. The Langdon brothers have now been tempted back into the studio to make another mildly psychedelic bid for rock stardom, with uniformly excellent results. Spacehog stick fairly closely to the enticing formula which proved so lucrative for them during their early years, paying homage to the musical legacies of T.Rex, Queen and David Bowie via anthemic gems such as “Oh Dinosaur,” “Curious Thing” and the epic “Deceit.”
“Berliner Philharmoniker Centenary Edition” (D.G. 479 1049)
The Berlin Philharmonic celebrate their hundred year relationship with the world’s leading classical label by releasing this remarkably inexpensive 50 CD set, whose contents were chosen by global public vote. The earliest musical offering in this weighty package dates from 1913 but most of the archive recordings featured here were captured for posterity during the past half century, including definitive performances of works by Mahler, Mozart, Beethoven and Richard Strauss to name but a few.
The Shadows “The Early Years(Expanded Edition)”(Parlophone Records)
Tuneful instrumental pop was all the rage for a few years during the pre-Beatles era in the early sixties, and Cliff Richard’s backing band were quick to capitalise on this short-lived phenomenon, notching up a string of hits characterised by the unique sound of Hank Marvin’s echo laden Fender guitar. This well annotated six CD set brings together all the commercially released tracks that The Shadows recorded between 1959 and 1966, serving up evocative chart-toppers such as “Apache,” “Wonderful Land” and “Kon-Tiki,” alongside easy on the ear renditions of everything from Glenn Miller’s “In The Mood” to Duane Eddy’s “Shazam.”
Clannad ”Nadur” (ARC EUCD 2471)
Clannad’s unique fusion of Irish folk and New Age music first captured the hearts of the record-buying public during the early eighties, when the Donegal quintet soared into the higher reaches of the Top 40 with the haunting “Theme From Harry’s Game.” They were regular fixtures in the album charts for the next decade or so but little has been heard from the band recently, and “Nadur” actually represents the original line-up’s first new offering since 1989’s “Past Present.” The contents signal a partial return to Clannad’s folk roots, and devotees would be well advised to lend an ear to fine tracks such as “Citi na gCumann,” “Setanta” and “Tobar an tSaoil.”