Record reviews

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ROCK

Embrace: The Good Will Out (Hut, CD/LP/tape). Even if Embrace weren't led by two Northern brothers of Irish descent, it would be impossible to discuss them without using the "O" word. Of all the post-Oasis bands, they are the most Oasis-like. The proudly portentous, hands- in-the-air, Beatle-echoing ballads, the stony-faced, singalong, stadium rock'n'roll ... every track could be on one of the Gallaghers' albums, except for "One Big Family" and "Fireworks", which could be on one of The Verve's. Before we dismiss Embrace as No Way Sis, though, it's only fair to note that the McNamara brothers' songwriting on this assured, hour-long debut is comfortably up to the Gallagher/Ashcroft standard; indeed, it's better than most of Be Here Now. But while Embrace's songs may keep Noel awake with worry, Liam can sleep soundly. Embrace's Achilles Heel is Danny McNamara's larynx, and as Liam's worst syllable could demolish the best of Danny's agonisingly flat, bedraggled whimpering, Embrace will just be Karaoasis until he employs a vocal coach. Nicholas Barber

JAZZ

Keith Jarrett: Tokyo '96 (ECM, CD). How much longer peerless pianist Jarrett can continue to restrict his records to the output of his "Standards" trio is a moot point. Once one of the most experimental jazz musicians of the century, Jarrett seems happily stuck in a standards-groove, restricting his keyboard variations to re-treads of the classical repertoire of familiar show-tune songs. As far as it goes, however, this new live recording is typically inspired, but the finest moment occurs when, for an encore, Jarrett deigns to play one of his own tunes, "Song", which then melds into a reprise of the previous track's "My Funny Valentine", which features a killer bass solo by Gary Peacock. As Roy Walker, host of "Catchphrase", would say: "It's good, but it's not right!" It's also more than good enough to be getting on with. Phil Johnson

Grupo Batuque: Samba De Futebol (Far Out, CD). The hip choice when it comes (and come it must) to World Cup compilations, featuring old-school sambas by the likes of Dom Um Romao and Ivan Conti interspersed with snippets from wonderfully eccentric football commentaries , including that famous shout of "Goal!" that goes on forever. PJ

DANCE

KeKoop: Sons Of Koop (colombe d'or, CD). Deliciously melancholy and moody debut by Swedish duo who blend samples of Debussy, cool jazz, and trip-hoppy beats into the self-consciously avant-garde but winningly tuneful pop-style mix of the sacred and profane. Like Air re-mixed by Ingmar Bergman. PJ

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