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CD REVIEWS


SUPER FURRY ANIMALS / Rings Around the World
(Epic/Sony)

Welshpop rules. This has to be the conclusion after listening to the devilishly good fifth album from idiosyncratic Welsh rockers Super Furry Animals. Following quickly on the heels of a heroic release by WalesECatatonia, Rings Around the World marks a return to English, after SFA recorded their last album Mwng in Welsh. An epic odyssey through styles ranging from Beach Boys-flavored pop to psychedelic techno and even country, Rings is a musical kaleidoscope at times inspired and at others bewildering. Ever-irreverent as they parody Tom Jones or satirize Bill and Monica, SFA carry their sense of humor over to their live act. In the tour for Rings (expected to hit Japan later in the year), they have been writing down the song titles on tiny balls, and drawing them at random from a bingo machine to determine the playing order. Go figure.


USHER / 8701
(BMG)


This may sound snobbish, but amid the torrent of saccharine smarm from boy bands like Boyz Life and West Zone (sic), the new release from honey-toned urban soul singer Usher sounds positively sincere in comparison. Delayed after the leak of a number of tracks onto Napster caused Usher to head back to the studio to record new material, Usher’s third album features rhymes by Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, producer of Usher' 1994 self-titled debut, on the song "I Don't Know." Other songs of interest include the sweetest love song (on an album of sweet love songs), “How Do I Say,” and the dreamy funk of “Pop Ya Collar.” I’ll freely admit that this sort of thing isn’t my cup of tea, but if it were, I’d ask my partner to slip into something more comfortable as I slipped this into the CD player.


BOZ SCAGGS / Dig
(Virgin)


If any album deserves to be called a comeback album, then it’s this one by the graybeard king of smooth soul rock, Boz Scaggs. Cobbling together an outstanding session band that includes longtime Eric Clapton bassist Nathan East, Toto guitarist Steve Lukather, brass player Roy Hargrove Jr. and drummer Steve Jordan from Rolling Stone Keith Richards' X-pensive Winos band, Scaggs has emerged with a work of nostalgic beauty to rival his 1976 smash, Silk Degrees. “Ms. Riddle,” for example, is a lovely song about the challenges of pursuing a beautiful, difficult woman, with angular horn charts that contrast nicely with Scagg’s supple, understated vocals. Meanwhile, Scaggs is set to cap his comeback with an appearance on the season debut of Fox TV series Ally McBeal.


CD REVIEWS ARCHIVE:
OCTOBER
394:
NATALIE IMBRUGLIA/White Lilies Island
DAFT PUNK/Alive
VARIOUS ARTISTS/Trance Progression
GERLING/When Young Terrorists Chase The Sun
THE CHARLATANS/Wonderland
SEPTEMBER
392:
LAURIE ANDERSON/Life On A String
BLAKE/Step Into The Light
ROGER SANCHEZ /First Contact
BUDDY GUY/Sweat Tea
VARIOUS ARTISTS/WIRE01 Compilation
391:
The strokes
New Order
Grant-lee Phillips
390:
Ben Folds
V.A
Jamiroquai
Bjork
Cake
389:
Tantric
Turin brakes
Herbie Hancock
august
388:
Roots Manuva
Green Day
V.A.
Bran
V.A.
387:
Super Furry Animals
Usher
Boz Scaggs
386:
Farida's Cafe
Freaky Flow
Laura Liza
385:
Rhona
Dan Bryk
Jose Padilla
384:
Catatonia
Deep Dish
Manu Chao
Pre_Shrunk
Taraf De Haidouks
JULY
383:
The Cult
Sphongle
Tomb Raider Soundtrack
382:
Ursula Rucker
The Rembrants
Perry Farrel
Iggy Pop
Feed
381:
Stone Temple Pilots
Inner Circle
Gorodisch
380:
Joe Hisaishi
Plaid
Sugar Ray
Tarika
Travis
JUNE
379:
Goo Goo Dolls
Tonino Baliardo
Bran Van 3000
378:
Shur-I-Kan
Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliot
Pete Rock
Frankie Valentine
Masanori Ikeda
377:
Depeche Mode
Chilldren ov Paradise
Our Lady Peace
376:
Backyard Babies
Taj Mahal & The Hula Blues Band
ebz
Solid Ground
Weezer
375:
David Byrne
Mekon
Ken Ishii
MAY
374:
AIR
Martires Del Compas
V.A.
Coil
Cosmic Rough Riders
373:
G. Love & Special Sauce
Ben Harper
Neil Finn
372:
Alternative 3
Stevie Nicks
Snake Hip Shakes
Soul Scramble
The Slackers
371:
The Black Crowes
Dirty Beatnisk
DJ Spinna
Mogwai
Tokyo-Mirai
APRIL
370:
R.E.M.
Makyo
Missile Girl Scoot

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