Click to follow
Beulah `When Your Heartstrings Break' (Shifty Disco)

San Fran's Beulah sound like Pavement drawing on the Beach Boys and late Beatles with lively guitar, Dexy-ish horns and string-drenched wonderment. Oh and there are tunes too, all 11 of them. Dreamy substantial pop at its best. HHHHH

Filter `Title Of Record' (Reprise)

Ex-NIN man Richard Patrick's outfit return on even better form with a real feast of an album that riffs and bleeps its way through all sorts of moods, from the crunching "Welcome to the Fold" to the superbly eerie "Cancer". A major accomplishment. HHHH

Richard Thompson `Mock Tudor' (Capitol)

Just why Thompson, revered in the US, isn't a household name here is a mystery. This conceptualised selection about growing up and living in London is one of his best, switching seamlessly from wistful folk to driving rock. Ambitious and rather excellent. HHHH

Arsonists `As The World Burns' (Matador)

The Latino NYC crew take more risks than most hip-hoppers, even using cartoon and circus tunes to good effect. This is great stuff, with witty skits and complex rapping, but it's just a shame that they didn't edit it down to an all-action 45 minutes rather than the actual 65. HHH

Prince `The Vault - Old Friends 4 Sale' (Warner Bros)

Billed as a set of 10 unreleased songs from 1985 to 1994 that were intended for private use, this album's long blues and jazz breaks emphasise the purple one's move from perfect catchy pop to more indulgent stuff. Some good songs but lots of doodling. HH


Hell `Cops' (V2/Disko B)

On last year's exciting Munich Machine album, the German maniac raised a few eyebrows with his hacked-up and warped techno-disco adaptation of none other than Barry Manilow's "Copacabana". It works delightfully as a single and is remixed further by Phats & Small and Abe Duque. HHH