CD: Sting - My Songs Mr Sumner updates his impressive back catalogue... slightly

From The Arts Desk Some say that every successful rock star's career can be divided into three phases. First comes the youthful exuberance. Next, there's mature experimentation. Finally, the artist goes back over everything he's done. That's where Sting is now. His last solo album was a homage to the Police, and now he's "re-imagined, refitted, and reshaped" a selection of his greatest hits. Or, at least, that's how he puts it. In truth, you'd need a magnifying glass to tell the difference between most of these and the originals. You're not, for instance, going to find "Roxanne" rearranged with lutes. Nor are there any new or unreleased songs. Instead, we find a series of re-recordings and r

CD: Catfish and the Bottlemen - The Balance: Manufactured rock at its blandest

From The Arts Desk Indie-rock sure ain't what it used to be. These days boys-with-guitars sound no less manufactured than actual boy bands. And, of all these generic outfits, few appear to have less musical substance than Welsh four-piece Catfish and the Bottlemen. The Balance, the Llandudno bands' third LP, is pure indie-by-numbers. It's full of chugging guitars with angsty vocals sung in a regional accent. Occasionally everything goes quiet before bursting into a massive chorus. It's as the band has sat down and tried to recreate the essence of Kasabian and Arctic Monkeys. The problem is more than just going heavy on the influences. It's what's happened to the band's own musical personalit

Sigrid, PRYZM Kingston review - unassuming, energetic and melodic :The Norwegian chanteuse thrills f

From The Arts Desk Sigrid Raabe bounced onto a tiny stage, fizzing with energy, and launched straight into her recent single "Sucker Punch". Following her recent support slot with George Ezra, this concert was the 22-year-old Norwegian's big thank you to fans who have recently been supporting her. It wasn't just a gratitude gig. This was a special "all age" event in a suburban nightclub and the whole thing was over by nine o'clock. That didn't stop moments of goosebump exhilaration coming thick and fast. Partly it was down to the sheer quality of the material. Sigrid may have only just released her debut album but her offbeat melodies already sound like the work of a seasoned hitmaker. The f

CD: The Brian Jonestown Massacre - The Brian Jonestown Massacre: Anton Newcombe is a changed man. Fo

From The Arts Desk If you're familiar with The Brian Jonestown Massacre, chances are it's from the 2004 Sundance-winning rockumentary, Dig!. The film took a wry look at the Californian band's intense rivalry with The Dandy Warhols. More, though, it was an extended character-study of charismatic, drug-frazzled BJM frontman Anton Newcombe – a man once described as consuming narcotics so ferociously, it was like an anteater eating ants. It was generally assumed Newcombe would soon be sucked into the vortex of his fevered mind. Instead, he got sober and stayed that way. The change is certainly remarkable. Newcombe now lives Berlin where he divides his time between BJM work and producing other ba

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