Joe Satriani - Black Swans And Wormhole Wizards *****
THIS latest album from the maestro shows, as if it needed any further doing, just why Joe Satriani is one of the top axe-slingers in the business. Not only for his technical ability, but also his talent at coming up with a great tune. And it's not just all about rocking out either. Joe shows that he can groove with the best and float off on a trippy riff too. Unlike some of his albums, there are no vocals here, which is actually no bad thing as the material works just fine without. Tyro guitarists will tie their fingers in knots trying to emulate what's going on here, but the rest of us can sit back and enjoy a varied and highly satisfying album.
Yann Tiersen - Dust Lane ****
FRENCH guy Yann Tiersen's sixth album sees him in indie rock mode, but the influence of classical composition and film soundtracks is unmistakable. The songs tend to noodle around for the first couple of minutes with wooshy synths, cymbal splashes, and Americana/Frenchicana acoustic instrumentation, occasionally with a morose Leonard Cohenstyle vocal about the struggle for artistic integrity, before switching to a driving outro. It's a mature psychedelic soundtrack.
Deathray Trebuchay - The Idiot ****
IT'S not for the faint-hearted, nor any dinner-party setting, as east London six-piece Deathray Trebuchay are emerging as one of the capital's choice live acts, infusing Latin American rhythms and punk resonance into their accomplished playing. They're at their best when they focus on making an instrumental commotion. Debut LP The Idiot offers an introductory glimpse of a sextet who are investing phenomenal playing and a reassuringly subversive spirit into a project.
Antony And The Johnson - Swanlights ***
THIS is the fourth album from Mercury Prize winner Antony Hegarty and his collaborators and, though it seems impossible, it offers an even sparser, more delicate and mysterious sound than before. Hegarty sings every syllable with honesty and feeling, and his delicately warbling voice is matched only by that of Icelandic popstrel Bjork, who joins him on the sublimely simple yet unpredictable track Fletta. A triumph for melancholy chamber pop.