CDS of the week: three new re­leases

The Week - - Arts | Drama -

Black Rebel Mo­tor­cy­cle Club: Wrong Crea­tures Ab­stract Dragon/pias £9.99

If any­one tries the old “rock mu­sic is dead” the­sis on you this year, just “sniff dis­dain­fully at their ig­no­rance and di­rect their at­ten­tion” to this crack­ing new al­bum by BRMC, said Mark Edwards in The Sun­day Times. The col­lec­tion of­fers “more range” from the Cal­i­for­nian rock­ers than ever be­fore, from the “Roy Orbison-ish” bal­lad Haunt and the “truly creepy” pop of Cir­cus Ba­zooko, to Echo, a “gor­geous, slow-build­ing emo­tional jour­ney”.

Rock is so out of fash­ion that BRMC re­sem­ble a “hooded monas­tic or­der bent over es­o­teric in­stru­ments in dark­ened schol­ar­ship of an al­most for­got­ten lore”, said Lu­dovic Hunter-tilney in the FT. But Wrong Crea­tures “proves the old for­mula still works”. Lit­tle Thing Gone Wild is the only “out­right stom­per”. Oth­er­wise, the mood is slower and more ex­pan­sive than usual. Drum­mer Leah Shapiro and bassist Robert Levon Been lay down a “noc­tur­nal, swampy beat”, while Peter Hayes “mixes up a thick im­pasto of grind­ing gui­tar tones and sharply pointed so­los”.

Camila Ca­bello: Camila Syco £9.99

Camila Ca­bello’s break­through smash

Ha­vana “ap­peared, seem­ingly out of nowhere, in Septem­ber, and made the 20-year-old Mex­i­can-cuban singer a star”, said Will Hodgkin­son in The Times. Now ar­rives the solo de­but al­bum from this for­mer mem­ber of Fifth Har­mony (a hugely suc­cess­ful, but no­tably frac­tious, girl group put to­gether on the US ver­sion of The X Fac­tor) and it’s a “charm­ing, rather mod­est, sur­pris­ingly re­flec­tive pop al­bum”. Ca­bello some­times sounds “like an un­likely cross be­tween Mariah Carey and Joni Mitchell, and it is rather lovely”.

This record “screams su­per­star” – and could “dom­i­nate 2018”, said Lisa Ver­rico in The Sun­day Times. The al­bum’s ten tracks are mostly mid-tempo, “awash with pi­ano and sweet acous­tic and strummed elec­tric gui­tar” – when beats do kick in, “they are sparse and sub­tle” – with the “airy and ef­fort­less” songs work­ing well to show­case Ca­bello’s “ver­sa­tile” singing voice. “Through­out, re­straint is key, but the im­pact could be enor­mous.”

De­bussy – Pi­ano mu­sic (Stephen Hough) Hype­r­ion £10.50

The cen­te­nary of Claude De­bussy’s death falls in March, said An­drew Cle­ments in The Guardian, and sev­eral record com­pa­nies have ma­jor tie-in re­leases cel­e­brat­ing the great French com­poser lined up for 2018. For De­bussy fa­nat­ics and mu­si­col­o­gists, Warner Clas­sics has got in early with a 33-disc Com­plete Works set. It’s a “scrupu­lously as­sem­bled” col­lec­tion that will be “in­valu­able” as a ref­er­ence re­source, al­though the qual­ity of some of the ear­lier record­ings is vari­able.

Also quick off the blocks is Stephen Hough with a more man­age­able and su­perb al­lDe­bussy pi­ano disc, based on works he has been play­ing in recitals for sev­eral years, said Richard Fair­man in the FT. Any­body who has heard Hough’s “scin­til­lat­ing record­ings of Camille Saint-saëns’s pi­ano con­cer­tos will know how well the sparkling clar­ity of French mu­sic suits him”. Here, his play­ing ranges from the “at­mo­spheric” to the joy­ful, in a se­lec­tion tak­ing in most of De­bussy’s larger works for solo pi­ano out­side the two books of Préludes and the Études.

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