Eric Matthews: The Lateness Of The Hour (Sub Pop)

Eric made a grand entrance into our consciousness a few years back with orchestral rock on the album It's Heavy In Here, but this is patchy stuff. He's always been an intimate lyricist, and when he's good he's superb, as on "My Morning Parade". But often the tunes are on the anaemic side, so despite his curious gift for sounding flamboyant and restrained at the same time, the melodies really need stoking up. HH

Rebbie Jackson: Yours Faithfully (Epic)

Yet another Jackson? Oh yes folks. The sister of LaToya and Janet and Micky and Jermaine has managed to stay obscure for a long while, and here we see why, because she mews without distinction. The album is candyfloss soul - sweet with an eager-to-please attitude. Irredeemably unremarkable. HH

Victoria Williams: Musings Of A Creekdipper (EastWest)

The rich rural warmth of Victoria Williams' voice is still hypnotic, even after all these years. She not only puts flesh on the characters she sings about, but builds a whole world around them, before inviting us in. Maybe having multiple sclerosis has focused her mind in a particularly powerful way, or maybe she just possesses heartfelt individualism that gives her tales that touch of magic. HHHH

Therapy: Semi Detached (A&M, below)

A new drummer and guitarist, plus a return to heavyweight punk guitar, signal the return of Ireland's Therapy. They never turn in new ideas exactly, but always get more mileage out of the ones they've pinched from Steve Albini. Thankfully, the battalion of guitars that overrun every track don't just bludgeon the senses. HHH