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Paul Mccartney: Run Devil Run (Parlophone)

Paul Mccartney: Run Devil Run (Parlophone)

Getting back to his Cavern Club roots, McCartney has chosen 12 fairly obscure 1950s rock'n'roll songs, first recorded by the likes of Gene Vincent, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Fats Domino. He's added three authentically Berry-flavoured originals and bashed them all out in a week, along with a tight little band that includes Dave Gilmour of Pink Floyd. There's not much else to say. If an album of fairly obscure 1950s rock'n'roll songs sung by Paul McCartney is what you've been waiting for, here it is.

OOBERMAN:THE MAGIC TREEHOUSE (Independiente)

"Tales of love and loss, woodlands and outer space ... recorded with all the care, emotion, beauty, sadness and eccentricity we could ever hope to muster." It's helpful when bands review themselves in their sleevenotes, isn't it? Despite hailing from Bradford and Liverpool, Ooberman could be the long-lost country cousins of Blur (this, their début album, was recorded under the guidance of Parklife's producer, Stephen Street). The five-piece can slip from naïve easy listening to pogo-ing punk to complex, choral chamber music, often within the same song, but their big-hearted lyrics are always full of beaches and fields. Sometimes you'll wish that the group had mustered a bit less eccentricity: there are one too many toe-tapping pop songs which dissolve into contrived kookiness. But as soon as the opening tracks, "Million Suns" and "Blossoms Falling", burst open like fireworks reflected in a lake, you won't doubt that you're hearing a group with a starry-eyed vision all their own.

Various Artists: Soul Food (Cookin')

With his ever-reliable Good Looking record label, LTJ Bukem has released much of the best music that drum'n'bass has to offer. Although he's never been prolific himself, his early releases defined what became known as "artcore", and the Logical Progression and Earth compilations confirmed his place as ambassador for all that is lighter, more melodic and ragga-free in the world of drum'n'bass. Now comes the debut album from sister label, Cookin', dedicated to a more down-tempo and chilled groove. GL's usual suspects, Blame, Artemis, Odyssey and Blu Mar Ten, are joined by newcomers such as Vincent, K-Scope and Longers, and it's the latter that seem more comfortable with the change of pace. I particularly like Vincent's "Golden Gate", a loose piece of double-bass driven jazz-funk topped off with a catchy piano melody. But the best is saved to last with Longers' "The Brain", a slice of simple but beautiful trip-hop that samples and repeats a four-note jazz trumpet lick that's to die for.

LAURENCE PHELAN

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