POP: ALBUM REVIEWS

The Original Soundtrack: Touch (Roswell/Capitol, below) Foo Fighters vocalist and ex-Nirvana sticksman Dave Grohl is not the obvious moodsmith to set the tone for the Bridget Fonda and Christopher Walken film, but Grohl's grunge persona is discarded for the most part, "Saints in Love" especially. But as he smoothly swaps styles from languid country to garage rock to florid instrumental, this makes a good alternative FF album, displaying fleshier atmospherics and unexpected gentleness. HHH

Gerald Levert: Love & Consequences (Elektra) R'n'B superstar Levert lays on the slickness that has pushed his sales past pounds 9m already, but there's more to him than cynical loverman posturing. There is as much authority as emotion in his voice, and heavyweight consideration of arrangements makes his duet with Mary J Blige, "That's the Way I Feel About You", a gladiator of a ballad. Not just an R'n'B market record, but a good record. HHH

The Freestylers: We Rock Hard (Freskanova) Take a bundle of old-skool hip hop samples, junglist freneticism and dancehall rabble-rousing and you have The Freestylers, which is fine, but original ideas rarely surface. "Here We Go" initially seems one of those, but that may have more to do with Definition of Sound helping out. Underneath this delirious hybrid of borrowed hardcore values, vacuity reigns supreme. HH

Cinerama: Va Va Voom (Cooking Vinyl) The Wedding Present's David Gedge seems to have done an Edwyn Collins and besuited himself with a polite, thirtysomething persona with which to deliver his anxiety-riddled love songs. But his voice still sounds parched, and the melodic lightness of touch becomes irritatingly whimsical by "You Turn Me On". If John Gordon Sinclair wrote pop, it would sound ominously like this. HH

HHHH excellent HHH good HH average H poor

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