RECORDS; NEW RELEASES

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Marion: This World and Body (London, CD/LP/tape). A record that Alicia Silverstone's character in Clueless would put down as "complaint rock", This World... takes us back to the days when indie music meant never having to say you're happy. It's the first album by five Joy Division fans from Macclesfield, although it owes more to the jangled guitars and anguished tones of Suede, the Smiths and Radiohead (singer Jaime Harding had better hope that you can't copyright a vocal style, or Thom Yorke's lawyers could have something to say about that keening and swooping, and those breathy groans). Still, it's not all doom and gloom. The seriousness is counterbalanced by some urgent velocity and ferocity, and if the tunes don't stick in your head straight away, you'll want to keep listening until they do. This is a compelling debut. As long as Marion keep an eye on their heavy-metal tendencies, they should have a great future. Even now, you can't complain. Nicholas Barber

Billie Ray Martin: Deadline for My Memories (Magnet CD/LP/tape). Not for nothing does "diva" rhyme with "Shiva". At its most expressive, the voice of Hamburg's queen of soul conveys a depth of loss and yearning that is a kind of violence. True, on the rare occasions when Billie Ray Martin is not firing on all cylinders, she can stray alarmingly close to the air-brushed vapidity of Annie Lennox, but that just gives this imposing and stately recording an extra element of danger. The first of the 13 songs is a disconcertingly cheery account of a Brooklyn mugging, and if the rest patrol more conventional chanteuse territory - ie thefts of hearts rather than credit cards - the combination of Martin's edgy pyrotechnics and Brian Transeau's lush electro-soul backdrops doesn't lose the power to arrest. Ben Thompson

EG: Turn Me On I'm a Rocket Man (WEA, CD/tape, out Mon). Five years ago a pop duo called Eg & Alice released their first album, and these pages predicted great things for them. Sure enough, the record sank without trace, they split up soon afterwards, and for a long time the only sign of Eg was on our faces. But that's no reason not to repeat the exercise. This man has talent, and anyway, didn't the Eurythmics' first album fail to chart? Listening to Eg's solo debut, members of the Eg & Alice fan club - and there were at least four of us - may find themselves pining for Alice's sulky vocals. But his voice is very likeable, and his songs are a rare blend of craftmanship, warmth and eloquence, with a particularly good line in Nineties-man mixed-feelings. If you enjoyed Sting's last album, you'll enjoy this. And after Babylon Zoo's "Spaceman", what might have been a silly title is now the height of fashion. The Eg & Alice revival starts here. Tim de Lisle

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