Album: Patti Smith, Banga (Columbia)


Patti Smith's latest album, her best in a while, is held together by a spine of pieces themed around exploration, from the culture-shock encounter of "Amerigo", through the cosmic awe of "Tarkovsky (The Second Stop Is Jupiter)" and the aesthetic strivings of "Constantine's Dream", to her lovely version of Neil Young's "After the Gold Rush", with children being rocketed off to seek fertile new planets.

Around this central spine are dangled some of her most touching love songs – notably the gently ingenuous "April Fool" and rapturous "Mosaic" – and pieces prompted by real people, Johnny Depp celebrated in the dervish swirl of "Nine", and Amy Winehouse eulogised in the charming elegiac waltz "This Is The Girl".

Download: Mosaic; April Fool; Constantine's Dream; After the Gold Rush