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Counting Crows: August and Everything After (Geffen, CD/ LP/tape). This debut album from a San Franciscan six-piece is already hugely successful in the States, where critics are battling to pinpoint the band's exact influences (The Band, early- Seventies Van Morrison, Tom Petty, John Cougar Mellencamp) and MTV-watchers shell out for the snappy single 'Mr Jones'. Singer Adam Duritz's words are full of roads, trains, unhappy people and Saul Bellow references, but despite reading like an album for the hopelessly lost, its musical warmth makes it sound like a bunch of understated anthems in which, conceivably, millions could find solace. Maybe they'll put an end to a tiresome feel-good chapter in US rock. At the Borderline, WC1 (071-734 2095), on 5 Apr. David Cavanagh

The Proclaimers: Hit the Highway (Chrysalis, CD/LP/tape). The Proclaimers' values of marriage, fidelity and do-right women are as out of step in 1994 as they were when the Beach Boys sang 'Wouldn't It Be Nice' in 1966, so the six-year delay in following 'Sunshine On Leith' is hardly cataclysmic. Little has changed, of course. Craig and Charlie Reid's gift for passionate, guttural soul stomps is instantly apparent on 'The More I Believe' and the title track, while covers of Otis Redding's 'These Arms of Mine' and the Consolers' old gospel tune 'I Want to Be a Christian' are timeless and convincing. It's a man's, man's, man's world, however, viz the line 'All right, you can have a cat - just as long as it barks'. DC



Primal Scream: Rocks (Creation, single). The most hedonistic band on earth revisit the Stones' 'Exile On Main Street' on what will be an instant jukebox classic. DC

Saint Etienne: Tiger Bay (Heavenly, CD/LP/tape). A delicious third album from London pop's flame-keepers, now branching out into the pastoral. DC

Credit to the Nation: Teenage Sensation (One Little Indian, single). Irresistible whistling song from Walsall's young-adult rap superstars. The video is pretty good too. Ben Thompson

Lewis: Fourth & Beale (Verve, CD). Superb grunt'n'slide set from a maverick country bluesman; recorded live in bed. BT

Misty Oldland: A Fair Affair (Columbia, single). The new feminism - the kind that comes with glamour - moves out of the bookshops and into Our Price. The tune draws on 'Dizzy' and 'Je t'aime', the words are like an unusually witty lecture and the whole thing is a beguiling pop-rap song. Tim de Lisle