POP: ALBUM REVIEWS
Gerard Levert, Keith Sweat and Johnny Gill are three R&B heavyweights with innumerable platinum sales between them. Seeing as ego-the-size-of-Paris loverman funk is an overcrowded market of late, by pooling vocal resources they've done us a big favour - one album instead of three. Producers and star guests are the usual suspects - Sean "Puffy" Combs, Missy "Misdemeanour" Elliot, Busta Rhymes and LL Cool J. HHH
Everclear: So Much For The Afterglow (Parlophone, below) Mid-twenties melancholia set to power pop from Oregon's Everclear, the sort of "dudes" who would wear orange shorts and bounce onstage in the early Nineties but now sport suits and wail about the Prozac not working anymore. Thankfully, vocalist/guitarist Art Alexakis invests a level of insightful lyricism and melodic guile into the proto-grunge. HHH
Robbie Robertson: Contact From The Underworld Of Red Boy (Capitol)
Robbie's first album in three years plunges us headlong into the politics of Native American survival by blending that community's music with rock and dance, and including a spoken-word piece by imprisoned American Indian activist Leonard Peltier. But the resulting hybrid of sonic influences doesn't have enough emotional charge. HHH
Fridge: Semaphore (Output)
Fridge are part of the British battalion of post-rock moodling, making landscapes from samples, synthesizers, bass and drums, no vocals. Fridge are also computer, architecture and maths students, which is telling. Although there is much rhythmic intrigue here, sometimes the impression is left that the knobs and buttons on synthesizers dictate the melodies. HH
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