Album: Eliza Carthy, Neptune (Hem Hem)

The 10 songs on Neptune apparently reflect the last 10 years of Eliza Carthy's life, as she moves between relationships and confronts the duties of maturity.

Accordingly, the drunken wreck of the opening "Blood on My Boots" is replaced, by album's end, by the sad mother of "Thursday", distraught at having to leave her own child to go on the road, as happened to her as an infant. But musically, she strays a little too far from her folkie comfort-zone, with varied results: the rumba-rock of "War" is fine, but the reggae groove of "Monkey" is too stilted. Elsewhere, "Britain Is a Carpark" effectively reprises the theme of "Big Yellow Taxi", but without the charm, while its alternating between bustling brass traffic and a cappella invocation of "the oak and the ash and the ivy" is too clumsy an evocation of the age-old conflict between urban and rural.

DOWNLOAD THIS Thursday; War; Blood on My Boots