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The Independent Culture

Amanda Roocroft. LPO/Welser-Most (EMI, CD only). By common consent Roocroft is the flower of young British sopranos. It was only a matter of time before a major record company claimed her; EMI has done it with a vengeance. This debut is a showcase, with a broad range of material - Handel, Mozart, Strauss, Puccini, Dvorak - and the message is: this voice can handle almost everything. 'Let the Bright Seraphim' could be brighter, Strauss's 'Morgen' more imploring. But the texture of this voice is gloriously substantial; the range, control and colouring outstanding. Michael White

Barry White: The Icon is Love (A&M, CD/tape, out tomorrow). Something old, something new . . . and something blue. There's no mistaking the deep, deep purr, or the lyrics ('Hey babe, your foreplay just blows my mind/So why don't we stop all the talking girl?') that would make Madonna blush. This is a man with no qualms about taking the stereotype all the way. (And when I say 'all the way' I think the ladies in the audience know what I'm saying, am I right, girl?) The gentle hip-hop/ soul production by Jam and Lewis among others gives the album a contemporary spin, and White is authentic enough to rise above imitators such as Boyz II Men. Nicholas Barber



Lutoslawski: Symphonies 3 & 4. Los Angeles Phil/Salonen (Sony, CD only). Confirmation that Lutoslawski is an alluring symphonist, and Salonen a fine MD. MW

Orbital: Are We Here? (Internal, single). Two brothers, six mixes and 39 minutes of digital serendipity. BT

Dinosaur Jr: I Don't Think So (from Without a Sound, Warner, CD/LP/tape). 'I'd like to think she'd cry for me/But I don't think so.' As perfect a piece of whining self-flagellation as there's been since Radiohead's 'Creep'. NB

Lyle Lovett: I Love Everybody (MCA, CD/LP/tape). A crooked smile, a warped wit, and a wonderful voice. NB

Johnny Cash: American Recordings (BMG/American, CD/

LP/tape). Sepulchral rumblings to lift the soul. BT