Pop: ALBUM REVIEWS

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Beta Band: "The 3 EPs" (Regal) These sensational Scots release their three limited-edition EPs on one disc. The Beats take in practically every musical influence, but their trademark is a bare acoustic opening, progressing and twisting into a thoroughly addictive peak of beats. HHHHH

Cassius Clay: "I Am the Greatest" (Rev-Ola/Creation) Recorded in 1963, this catches the future Muhammad Ali in buoyant, boastful mood. Packed with gags, he fires off poems and answers questions from the audience. Now repackaged with an extra track - Clay's version of Ben E King's "Stand By Me". A vital historical document. HHHH

Photek: "Form and Function" (Science/Virgin) Photek (aka Rupert Parkes) reworks some of his classic 12-inch releases, sampling Pharoah Sanders and allowing the likes of Doc Scott and J Malik to remix along the way. A couple of new tracks show that Photek remains the name for intelligent drum 'n' bass. HHHH

Chemical Brothers; "Brothers Gonna Work It Out" (Freestyle Dust)) Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons celebrate getting their own label with a mix album. Starting with the soul grooves of the title track, they zoom through almost every conceivable dance sound and some more of their own compositions before ending in an indie groove. HHH

Faithless; "Sunday 8pm" (Cheeky) Having sold some five million records before the release of the current hit single, "God is a DJ", this is obviously one of the month's big releases. But as it winds its way through different dancefloor styles, moods and emotions it just seems that bit too slick and lacking the soul and surprises of the likes of Morcheeba. HHH

SINGLE OF THE WEEK

Creeper Lagoon; "Dear Deadly" (Shifty Disco Singles Club) This is your chance to hear the Californian quartet who are creating a buzz back home. This limited edition is available by subscribing to Shifty Disco, 65 George Street, Oxford OX1 2BE at a bargain pounds 30 for a CD single each month for a year. HHHH

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