Marc Cohn - Burning The Daze (Atlantic).

"Walking in Memphis" was Marc Cohn's classic imprint, and now, four years on, he proves that poignancy and lyrical wistfulness haven't deserted him. Cohn (below) is a man of contrasts - a divorce led to a protracted period of personal dysfunction, but his soft guitar, blues-tinted muses are never less than steady, coherent and unexpectedly affecting. HHH

Pram - the North Pole Radio Station (Domino)

If this kooky electronica did emanate from a cold and eerie wilderness like the North Pole instead of Blighty, perhaps the four-album-old Pram would be bigger than they are. Although their avant-pop dramas are more direct than before, the music is still awkward at its core. But their dark playfulness has a woozy ambience which makes this a very friendly oddity indeed. HH

Fu Manchu - The Action Is Go (Mammoth)

The band charged with the responsibility of putting the cool back into old-school metal since the demise of the wondrous Kyuss have thumbed through the battered handbook of 1970s riffs and come up with a bit of a winner. The lyrics are low-brow trash given monikers like "Anodizer", the bass is rib-rattlingly heavy, and the guitars squeal with unadulterated Sabbath firepower. Scorching fun. HHH

Lionrock - City Delirious (Concrete)

Current single "Rude Boy Rock" is typical of the attitude, if not the prevailing sound of Justin Robertson's album. The Manchester club culture supremo hasn't quite shaken off his remixer focus, because he uses his knob-twiddling skills to re-ignite the vibe of some of his favourite records in a 1990s style. It's eclectic stuff, from stoked-up ska to moody film- score techno, but this isn't as innovative as he's like it to be. HH