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The Independent Culture
Kraftwerk: Radio-Activity, Man Machine, Computer World (EMI, CD only). So how do these old Kraftwerk albums (first released in 1975, 1978 and 1981 respectively) sound, now that even the dapper Deutschlanders' most bizarre flights of futuristic fancy have become conventional wisdom? Has the emotional capital reserved in their pristine soundbanks been eaten up by two decades of systematic plunder? The answers to these two vital questions are "fantastic" and "quite the reverse". Radio-Activity has aged the best. Its combination of hymn-like simplicity and wry humour - "Ohm Sweet Ohm" indeed - still resonates beautifully. The two later records both have the odd quaint moment of antique ultra-modernism, but mostly come up fresh as paint. Lester Bangs called Kraftwerk's music "intricate balm", and truer words were never spoken. Ben Thompson

Peter Maxwell Davies: Resur-rection (Collins Classics, 2 CDs). Resurrection is the "mis-sing" Maxwell Davies opera, premiered at Darmstadt in 1987 but written in the 1960s. A very black comedy on the conformist ills of modern life, it fires from the hip in all directions. My memories from Darmstadt are not fond, but this recording (from Man-chester, last year) makes a cleaner appeal to the ear than the German staging did to the eye. Davies himself conducts the BBC Philharmonic. The sound is good, the parodies robust, and the result fun. Well, almost. Michael White

Jerry Lee Lewis: Young Blood (Sire, CD/tape). Country-flav-oured boogie- woogie with a glint in its eye. Nicholas Barber

Black Grape: Reverend Black Grape (Radioactive, single). Unfeasibly upbeat and mirthfully infectious return from Sean Ryder. BT

Pulp: Common People (Is-land, single). In Jarvis Cocker, the tensions of class conflict and sexual desire fuse to unforgettable effect. BT

Pavement: Wowee Zowee (Big Cat, CD/LP/tape). Top-grade cerebral Americana: obtuse but ultimately irresistible. BT

McAlmont and Butler: Yes (Hut, single). Phil Spector rides again. A chocolate mousse of a song. Tim de Lisle

The Police: Live! (A&M, double CD/double tape). The first ever Police live album comprises two complete concerts, one in Boston in 1979 (Outlandos D'Amour, Regatta De Blanc era), one in Atlanta in 1983 (Synchronicity). Generally speaking, the former is a rowdier affair, characterised by Sting's raw-throated yelps, while the latter is smoothed over by the addition of backing vocals and keyboards. Whichever your preference, both convey the excitement and extemporisation of a live show. And both are the work of a supergroup, a rare marriage of intricate jazz/reggae drums, Andy Summers' highly influential guitar chimes, Sting's powerful central presence, and a stack of excellent songs. The only question is why the Police kept this locked away for over a decade. Nicholas Barber

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