RECORDS

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The Independent Culture
Yoko Ono and IMA: Rising (Parlophone, CD only). Oh no, you must be thinking, not another 62-year-old Japanese woman singing grunge and jazz-rock with a band of teenagers who have never been in a studio before. But Rising is different. It's Yoko Ono's first album in a decade and her first backed by her son Sean Lennon's group, IMA. The songs, all by Ono, are dignified, enigmatic and uplifting, reminiscent at times of the more poetic works of Marianne Faithfull, Lou Reed, and that specky bloke from the Beatles. The only real problem is the rising son. IMA's arrangements are efficient and accessible, if not exactly singalong-a- Yoko, but they never come up with a sound as interesting as is required. Ono as producer must take some of the blame. Several of the songs have apparently been remixed by Tricky, the Beastie Boys and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, but these versions are unavailable in Britain. It's a shame, because with a few of the production ideas that these gentlemen could offer, this record would soar. Nicholas Barber

Baby Bird: Fatherhood (Baby Bird, CD only). The third instalment in the five-album, solo Bird cycle (the last two follow next month) is the quietest and in some ways the most magical yet. The vocals are an angels' choir of overdubs, the guitars ripple like the surface of a canal someone chucked a shopping trolley into 10 minutes ago: 20 songs emerge blinking into the sunlight fully fledged. There are several moments of exquisite melancholy, but this is not a sad record. It is, in its author's back- cover assessment, "good news: the good news that says your leg's not broken but just badly bruised". Ben Thompson

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