POP: ALBUM REVIEWS

Tricky: Angels With Dirty Faces (Island) It has been Tricky's relative Finley Quaye and fellow Bristolians Massive Attack and Portishead trooping off with awards in the past few years, but this album outclasses all of Tricky's contemporaries for perilous individualism. The emotional lurches ("Broken Homes") and relentless seething ("Money Greedy" and "Record Companies"), make this a compelling, fascinatingly honest, breath of fresh air. HHHH

Ghostland: Ghostland (EastWest) Big things are expected of this folky, string-laden extravaganza which casts its musical net as wide as Ireland, America and Turkey. Ghostland is a collaboration drawing together celebrated classical musicians, while everyone, from Liam from Hothouse Flowers to Sinead O'Connor, drops in as guests. It is an elegant exercise in evocative gorgeousness, but its sense of mystery soon fades. Superior background music. HH

Mogwai: Kicking A Dead Pig (Eye Q, below) The Scottish instrumental mischief-makers have a lot of friends in other bands who want to smudge the Mogwai blueprint and remix their tracks to add new layers of sonic malcontent; here they do it quite well. Especially interesting are the two takes on "Like Herod" - Leeds troupe Hood make it militantly moody, while Germany's Alec Empire turns in a mindboggling mix of headbanging jungle with spookoid samples. HHH

Cleopatra: Comin' Atcha (WEA) They're frighteningly young, but is that an excuse for this sugary, dated brand of teen pop? The Moss Side trio allow themselves little room to mature into rebellious champs like TLC, and never escape the eager-to-please cuteness of the title track and "Life Ain't Easy", which has the sort of social commentary cliches that one always hopes teenagers don't latch on to too early. H

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