Album: James, The Morning After (Mercury)

This companion-piece to this year's The Night Before mini-album is a far superior effort, a homogenous collection of subtle songs about devastation which packs a powerful punch.

Using an uncluttered palette in which juddering vibrato guitar or keyboards are stroked by tiny curlicues of slide guitar, Tim Booth inhabits damaged characters – the alcoholic begging forgiveness for a marital assault in "Got The Shakes", the old folks' home resident wondering how her children "can be so cruel" in "Tell Her I Said So", and most affectingly the husband in "Kaleidoscope", scared his wife's on the phone to a lover when, actually, she's getting bad news from the doctor. Save for the euphoric "Lookaway", it's a fine example of how to grow old with grace and maturity.

DOWNLOAD THIS Kaleidoscope; Tell Her I Said So; Fear; Got The Shakes