Pop: Album Reviews

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Orbital `The Middle of Nowhere' (FFrr) It's been a wait but Orbital have delivered the goods with a fresh batch of techno tunes. It's all here: anthemic and cinematic soundscapes coupled with driving manic moments. It's accomplished, a cheery effort and an essential album. HHHHH

Paul Westerberg `Suicaine Gratifaction' (EMI/Chrysalis) More structured and acoustic than the madness of the Replacements, and co-produced by Don Was, this is possibly the best thing the Minneapolis genius has done in his career. Westerberg's been through it all and the resulting songs are sad but beautifully cathartic. It's doubtful if, as a songwriter, he has any peers in the US today. HHHH

Make Up `I Want Some' (K Records)

One of the most prolific US bands on the punk underground, they have released this beautifully-packaged 22-track CD made up mostly of singles previously available only on limited edition 7-inch vinyl. Frenetic, weird and offbeat, Make Up should gather a whole host of new fans with this release. HHHH

New Radicals `Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too' (MCA) Led by the Jagger-toned Gregg Alexander, these Detroiters offer an accessible blend of classic rock and urban sass. The hit single, "You Get What You Give", isn't a one-off as there are plenty of future hits here especially "Mother We Just Can't Get Enough". HHH

Various Artists `1,2,3,4! A History of Punk and New Wave 1976- 79' (Universal) A hundred records from a hundred bands on five CDs in a lavish box: the track listing is superb with the key songs from the key bands like the Sex Pistols, Clash and Stranglers. There are also lots of forgotten names like Eater, Rudi and the Outcasts. It puts all other punk compilations to shame. HHHH


Cay "Neurons Like Brandy" (eastwest) Admittedly not the best thing that they have in the pipeline, this debut full-release single is nonetheless notice that Cay, led by rising star Anet Mook, are a force to be reckoned with in British rock. It conjures up notions of a fully rocking Sonic Youth and all things good. HHH