BabyBird: "There's Something Going On" (Echo) Stephen Jones and company are back with a darker edge than on poppy hits like "You're Gorgeous". It's a generally welcome move. He's got a fine ear for a tune, while crunching guitars and drum'n'bass both melt in well. The swathes of strings can irritate a bit, though. HHHH
Bob Mould: "The Last Dog And Pony Show" (Creation) If, as the title hints, this is to be Bob Mould's last electric band album, then it's a tad disappointing considering his massively influential career with Husker Du and Sugar. However he can still use distortion and thrash guitars to create skin-tickling intensity. HHHH
UNKLE: Psyence Fiction (Mo Wax) James Lavelle and DJ Shadow's project seems certain to lift the Mo Wax label into the high-street market thanks to guest vocalists, including Richard Ashcroft, Mike D and Thom Yorke. However, the result is a disappointing hotch-potch of dance styles and modern music rather than a coherent concept.
Fun Lovin' Criminals: "100% Colombian" (Chrysalis) Throughout this follow-up to their platinum debut, the Fun Lovin' Criminals fling in every kind of groove from slow-burning lounge and Barry White-era soul to anthemic rock and country hoedown. None of these hip-hop fusions exhilarate on record for a band that carry a wicked reputation for their live shows. HHHH