POP: ALBUM REVIEWS

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The Independent Culture
Luna `The Day of Our Nights' (Beggars Banquet) It's hard to understand why, after four previous albums, Dean Wareham's group are still "obscure". On probably their best work yet, they tone down the dreaminess and come up with a dozen playful songs. Still very subtle but now more accessible. Check it out. HHHH

Barry Adamson `The Murky World of Barry Adamson' (Mute) Twelve tracks (including three new ones) from the Moss Sider's 10-year solo career outline what a great asset he is to British music; there's no better description for these cinematic forays than fabulously murky. HHHH

Pram `Telemetric Melodies' (Domino) Pram's latest album offers ethereal vocals, strange samples and lo-fi keyboards as bleak as the bleakest parts of their homebase of Birmingham - but there's an enchanting pop vision here, a mysterical force, a gorgeous musical swell that demands attention. HHH

Afro Celt Sound System `Volume 2: Release' (Real World) Sinead O'Connor's vocals on the opening track should bring more attention to these fusionists, who by including more techno and some dub beats, make this a truly global effort. Slow at times but there's always a surprise around the corner. HHH

Eric Benet `A Day In the Life' (Warner Bros) The sophomore effort from Milwaukee's soul singer-songwriter sees a polished and more wide-ranging product than most US R&B stuff at present, with the funky "Something Real" and the gospel hip-hop of "Loving Your Best Friend" among the best tracks. HHH

SINGLE OF THE WEEK

Fridge `Kinoshita' (Go Beat) After two acclaimed albums, Fridge bring their unique electronic soundscape (in this case dreamy progressions coupled with a staccato rhythm) to a major indie label. If they only had a fluffy toy and a TV commercial they'd be household names. HHHH

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