September album releases reviewed.

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Status Quo
Backbone
(EARmusic)

4 Stars

Not content to rest on their gold standard laurels, Status Quo has returned with a ramrod of pile-driven catchy tunes on this album of all-new songs.

Now helmed by Francis Rossi alone, since the untimely passing of Rick Parfitt, Backbone is indeed what this release exudes in spades. Packed with irresistible songs, Cut Me Some Slack forces itself on the ears with its toe-tapping riff.

The chugging Better Take Care rolls back the years. Whilst Get Out Of My Head puts the pedal to the 12 bar metal in a headbanging frenzy of fretwork.

Closing out this album of true grit, Running Out Of Time also belies its title as the Quo juggernaut returns with plenty of miles still left on the clock.

Samantha Fish
Kill Or Be Kind
(Rounder Records)

5 Stars

Recently earning the sobriquet ‘Sugar’ as much for her sweet tone as for her ‘Some Like It Hot’ looks, Samantha Fish should hit the big time hook, line and sinker with this mature and classy release.

Catchy as a virulent fever, these songs get into your head and refuse to quit. The itchy pleasure of Love Letters and cigar box stomper Bulletproof are already live favourites.

Recorded in Memphis, there is a tough yet slinky feel to the eleven tracks herein which veer from heartbreaking ballad She Don’t Live Around Here and steely-eyed killers You Got It Bad and title track Kill Or Be Kind.

Angelic voice, devilish guitar play and alluring looks confirm Fish as a superstar in waiting.

Slade
Feel The Noize
(BMG)

3 Stars

Glam-Rock Midland maniacs Slade seemed to be perennial Top Ten big hitters throughout the 1970s.

Not included here, their unparalleled Xmas chart-topper is partly responsible for this impression. However, Slade also achieved high chart status with a hot run of singles.

Collected together, this set of ten internationally released small slabs of vinyl rewinds back to their glory years.

All the vinyl 7” singles contained are also carefully curated replications of their original foreign single releases. From Slade’s first number one ‘Coz I Luv You’ in 1971, five of the collected singles all topped the UK charts. The remainder were all Top three hits.

Often imitated and plundered by lesser bands, this is a remarkable reminder of the pervasive power of this group of loud super-yobs.

Sons of Apollo
Live With The Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony
(Inside Out)

4 Stars

Take five superstar musicians, blend them together then sit back and enjoy their individual and complementary unique talents as these exquisitely composed songs pour into the ears.

Live recordings should test the quality and unadulterated abilities of players, and this live show repeatedly hits supernatural levels as all musicians re-define and jump the sound barrier on this release.

Debut release Psychotic Symphony naturally features heavily in this set recorded in a Bulgarian Roman Amphitheater.

Yet it’s a smart and judicious choice of complex covers which really pricks up the ears as Rainbow’s Gates of Babylon, Ozzy Osborne’s Diary of a Madman and Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb sizzle with sonic excellence.

Caravan
An Anthology
(Universal)

4 Stars

It’s a desirable honour when a band/artist becomes synonymous with a geographical ‘sound’. It’s an ultimate accolade. A Kitemark for authentic and groundbreaking music of a recognisable high standard.

Mention ‘The Canterbury Sound’ and Caravan complete the sentence. And vice-versa.

Lead exemplars of ‘The Canterbury Sound’, Caravan’s complete output from their Decca/Deram recordings are collected here into a trove of digipacks with original art and revealing sleeve notes.

From their first provocatively titled Decca/Deram studio recording If I Could Do It All Over Again, I’d Do It All Over you to the final Cunning Stunts, the music speaks far more eloquently for itself. There are further live recordings and a stunning collection of BBC recordings.

Although there is nothing new from the archives here, the real treat is listening to Richard Sinclair’s languid voice and a band of maestros who pushed musical boundaries to snapping point.

My Life Story
World Citizen
(Exilophone Records)

4 Stars

Britpop pioneers My Life Story returns with a powerful reminder of their class. Led by the flamboyant Jake Shillingford, MLS should regain their crown as World Citizen overflows with sharp and witty observations.

Lush orchestration and astute lyricism make this clever collection of songs a must-hear.

All reviews by Paul Davies.

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Paul Davies