RECORDS

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The Independent Culture
Manic Street Preachers: Everything Must Go (Epic, CD/LP/tape). It's not just cagoules and V-necked sweaters that Britpop has brought back into fashion: it's also melodies, even for groups who once would have spat at the breadhead, corporate-sell-out idea of a hummable ditty. So it is that the Manic Street Preachers are now writing tunes instead of just beating breasts, waving flags and thumping tubs. While 1994's The Holy Bible was crushingly heavy-going, Everything Must Go is the most immediate, assured and anthemic British hard-rock album since Oasis's Definitely Maybe. SkippinACOaaaaaceeeeiiinoouuupounds Oo... --""''g past the embarrassing opener, "Elvis Impersonator", we come to an embarrassment of fiery-chorused potential hits, including the title track, "Australia" and "The Girl Who Wanted to Be God", whose guitar and string parts could be by Bernard Butler. There's also the No 2 single, "A Design For Life", and, mercifully, a couple of quiet ones, too. Nicholas Barber

Super Furry Animals: Fuzzy Logic (Creation, CD/LP/ tape). Only in the quiet of the countryside can the mystical hum of overhead power cables be properly appreciated, and this Cardiff quintet's happy knack for a pastoral interlude sets off their imposing psychedelic power-surge capacity very nicely. Honours graduates of the Syd Barrett school of chemical whimsy, Super Furry Animals strive nobly to give their lyrics - "Struggling in the vortex with my jacket made of Gore-tex" - a contemporary slant, and the musical drift of this fine debut album is definitely forward rather than back. In the space between The Move's "Blackberry Way" and David Bowie's "Heroes", Gruff, Dafydd, Cian, Guto and Huw have built themselves a charming bungalow. Ben Thompson

Bryn Terfel: Opera Arias. Metropolitan Opera Orchestra/Levine (DG, CD). Even at this early stage in his career it's fair to say Bryn Terfel is a great singer, and his voice on this CD is very fine: warm, flexible, highly characterised. This is a fairly unadventurous kind of dressage, however, with Terfel cantering around a set of classic obstacles from Mozart, Rossini, Gounod, et al, that he describes as a diary of future operatic engagements. Interpretive insight isn't at highest levels, but the Wagner is superb: a beguiling "Evening Star" from Tannhauser and a fearful, brooding 10 minutes from the Flying Dutchman are worth the disc's price alone. Dermot Clinch

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