Boy Kill Boy: Civilian (Vertigo £11.99)

Boy Kill Boy are a pack of proficient stragglers with nothing new to offer. The British indie rock four piece is made up of a motley crew of East London lads, fronted by singer-songwriter Chris Peck. Civilian is their debut album, produced by John Cornfield (Muse, Oasis, Supergrass). It's a mix of punk-pop, rock anthems and piano-led ballads - which sounds like it could make for a complex album of interestingly mixed tastes and flavours, but it isn't.

Actually, what we have here is the same song played slightly differently seven times (or so it sounds) plus two ballads. Which, essentially, means an album full of two songs. Nevertheless, those two songs are accomplished, complete with jerky verses, slashing riffs, big choruses and adenoidal vocals. 'Suzie', the band's biggest hit to date, is a catchy dancefloor-filler. But the songs are all over-produced, with unnecessary synths. I had hoped for more.

Hot Chip: The Warning (EMI £11.99)

This is a highly quirky second album from electro-pop mischief-makers Hot Chip. Songs such as 'Boy from School' have sweet melodies, but on more extended workouts, such as the bleep-driven lead track 'Over and Over', Hot Chip veer towards twee bloodlessness. "We'll give you laid-back", goads vocalist Alexis Taylor.

There's more on the title track: "Hot Chip will break your legs/snap off your head". Not too chilled then. And then later, when the rage-fuelled band sing about the "joy of repetition", it's difficult to share their enthusiasm.

The bizarre album is saved by some truly devious musical twists, but overall, this South-west London quartet make a strange sound, influenced by electronica, hip-hop, funk and indie pop. You can hear hints of Prince and The Neptunes. Which, put together, may make you want to dance, and will try (usually successfully) to make you laugh, but is frankly odd.

The Raconteurs: Broken Boy Soldiers (XL £12.99)

The kick of rock underpins this team-up between The White Stripes' Jack White and the Sixties power-pop singer/ songwriter Brendan Benson. And very good it is too, in it's brash, boysy way. White Stripes fans might miss the tension between Jack and Meg, but the union of Detroit-born old mates Jack and Brendan is a corker. Broken Boy Soldiers is a gritty and eclectic offering, with touches of The Beatles and Led Zeppelin. It's possibly got more of Brendan Benson's influences throughout than Jack White's, but if they're happy with that, surely we can be too.

The Raconteurs weave enjoyable vocal harmonies throughout and remain true to their eccentric form. The hit single and album opener 'Steady As She Goes', is a standout pop song: White's vocals swirl over Hammond organs and thumping drums.

The Raconteurs started out with the intention of being a one-album band. I say they owe us another.

Zero 7: The Garden (Sainted PR £9.99)

The Garden is the third album by Zero 7, known by friends and family as Sam Hardaker and Henry Binns. Recorded in Binns' home studio in Somerset, Cuban legend José Gonzales swoops in to provide some honeyed guest vocals on four album tracks, including the first single 'Futures'.

The album is a haven of Sixties-sounding West coast American pop, tripped out with Zero 7's ironic musak quality. It's eerily innocent-sounding, with naïve lyrics and a bouncy, slightly sinister brass section. When the electric guitars kick in, on 'Throw It All Away', for example, it all goes a bit Eighties pop. And 'You're My Flame' takes a turn for the electro pop. But the album gels overall into an upbeat journey. Zero 7 fans - especially those who were disappointed with their second album When It Falls - will love it. It's a return to the haunting magic of Simple Things with beautifully naïve. "Catch a falling star, you'll go far" from 'Pageant Of The Bizarre'. Is a case in point. Bless. This is how muzak got credible.

Comments