POP: ALBUM REVIEWS

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Gomez `Liquid Sky' (Hut) The country blues banditos from Southport have managed to go one better than their Mercury Music Prize-winning debut. It's much the same formula, yet it's beefier and bolder. The heat is on for album number three. HHHH

Hybrid `Wide Angle' (Distinctive)

The Swansea collective emerged this summer on the strength of "Finished Symphony" and "If I Survive", and both feature on this album of sublimely orchestral and cinematic chill-hop. The rest is good, too, making this one of the best "non-dance" dance albums since Massive Attack started out. HHHH

Plone `For Beginner Piano' (Warp)

It's Warp's 10th anniversary and they've delivered another gem. Plone mix warm electronica with a global sensibility. It's rather rare to hear synths sounding so affectionate and wondrous, especially on "Marbles" and the single "Plock". HHH

Apollo 440 `Gettin' High on Your Own Supply'(Stealth Sonic/Epic)

If this is dance music, it's an extremely metallic version of the genre. Tracks such as the Quo-riffing "Stop the Rock" are too cartoonish, but elsewhere there's challenging drum'n'bass, skanking and other excellent twists. HHH

Ocean Colour Scene `One From the Modern' (Island)

There are few departures on Ocean Colour Scene's fourth album, although there's some decent country and sitar twanging. Pleasant enough, but far from earth-shattering. HH

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