Randy Newman - Dark Matter The hangdog songsmith's latest LP swaps the political for the persona

From The Arts Desk Think of Randy Newman and the image conjured up may be of a lugubrious piano man with a sardonic streak. Or perhaps the composer responsible for countless Pixar soundtracks. But there is more to the bespectacled songsmith than just his witty songs and orchestral themes. There are also his theatrical flourishes. And Dark Matter, Newman's first singer-songwriter LP in a while, starts in just such a cabaret mood "The Great Debate" takes the form of a discussion, weighing up the pros and cons of science and religion in an eight-minute epic complete with gospel choirs and spoken-words. Although it's thought-provoking and often good fun, British audiences might find the subject

CD: Haim - Something to Tell You The Californian sisters are back, but will they continue to charm a

From The Arts Desk Back in 2013, Haim's debut seemed like the freshest breath of air in a slightly stuffy rock scene. The girls' inimitable musical style – a kind of blend of Stevie Nicks and Shania Twain – lit up any number of radio playlists. Equally important was their air of authenticity. These three musical prodigies from LA were literally sisters and literally doing it for themselves. But there were still nagging doubts – particularly after one TV performance which they, rather oddly, dedicated to David Cameron. For all their hippy hairstyles were the girls actually as free-spirited as they seemed? Something to Tell You indicates that the trio may not be quite as bohemian as their sart

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