Naughty Boy - Hotel Cabana If you thought Shahid Khan aka Naughty Boy has simply burst onto the music scene out of nowhere, his debut album might teach you otherwise. The British-born Pakistani singer- producer has been creating Top 10 records since 2005, after a Deal Or No Deal win allowed him to set up his own studio. His experience shines through on Hotel Cabana - an accomplished and polished album featuring a who's who of today's fresh and charting artists. The resulting sound is varied, and makes for an interesting listen. Catchy No 1 single, La La La, and a Get Lucky cover with Tanika are stand-outs. A gloriously fun pop album. Rating: 8/10 Hjaltalin - Enter 4What's considered 'pop' in Iceland is a bit more eclectic than our own chart offerings, as this Reykjavik-based musical collective's third album deftly demonstrates. The group, led by vocalists Sigriour Thorlacius and Hogni Egilsson but featuring a wealth of talent courtesy of a seemingly everexpanding line-up, have as their stock-in-trade a fine line in baroque-ish, mature chamber- pop. Notes of soul, rock, classical and indie are present in their work. Fans of alt pop acts from Camera Obscura to Bon Iver to Bjork will find the group, and this eclectic album, hard to resist. Rating: 7/10 Scud Mountain Boys - Do You Love The Sun Seventeen years after their last release, Massachusetts in 1996, cult alternative country band Scud Mountain Boys are back with their fourth album. In that time, mainstay Joe Pernice has released a string of records under various guises including Chappaquiddick Skyline and The Pernice Brothers. The names may have changed over the years, only for the original line-up of Joe Pernice, Stephen Desaulniers, Bruce Tull and Tom Shea to reunite, but the sound has remained broadly the same. Stand-out songs include the title track which, in a better world, would be a perfect lazy summer surprise hit.
Rating: 8/10 Newton Faulkner - Studio Zoo A year on from his last offering Write It On Your Skin, Surrey singersongwriter Newton Faulkner releases his fourth album, Studio Zoo. Having streamed the entire recording process 24/7 for five weeks from his home studio, die-hard fans may already know what to expect from the acoustic folk- rock musician, slaying any chances of anticipation. Where To Start and Just Outside are reminiscent of Bon Iver's debut LP, with melancholy vocals balanced over Faulkner's finger-pick method of guitar-playing, which lends itself well to this stripped-back style.
Unfortunately, this leaves tracks such as Indecisive and At The Seams sounding hollow.
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