NEW RELEASES

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The Independent Culture
The Stone Roses: Second Coming (Geffen, CD/ LP/tape). Just as we were starting to feel like the diners in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, who wait throughout eternity for the return of the Great Prophet Zarquon, the plucky Northerners who defined indie music are back. Second Coming is accessible yet experimental, full of rattling dance beats and multi-textured, psychedelic arrangements, starring John Squire, a stunning, sassy guitarist and the album's main songwriter. But it palls after a few listens, partly because the Classic Rock riffs were familiar to begin with, and partly because the Roses compensate for the long gestation by eking the album out with instrumental jams, special effects, silences and a joke track consisting of plonky piano, coughing, and scratchy violin. A fine record, but not the glorious resurrection the title leads us to expect. Nicholas Barber

Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Volume 3 (Colum-bia, CD/tape/LP). A somewhat opaque concept. Dylan's influence is matched only by Presley's, yet his hits have been few, and a long time ago. This album's predecessors were able to call on such bona-fide chartbusters as "Like a Rolling Stone" and "Lay Lady Lay", but only "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" qualifies on Volume 3. What we get instead is a not unenlightening 77-minute survey of his output since 1974, the year of Planet Waves, which provides "Forever Young". The anonymous compiler has the sense to choose, alongside the obvious, three of Dylan's most complex and rewarding songs: "Changing of the Guards", "Jokerman" and the wonderful "Brownsville Girl", co-written with Sam Shepard, buried on the otherwise nugatory Knocked Out Loaded, and here revealed as a masterpiece, by turns romantic and hilarious and baffling. The inclusion of one new track to tempt old fans into a luxury purchase is a sleazy move; sadly, the song - "Dignity", a gloomy backporch boogie - really is worth hearing. Richard Williams

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