CD: Lloyd Cole - Guesswork The veteran singer-songwriter shows it's never too late for a change

From The Arts Desk The first thing you notice about Guesswork is the sound. Or rather, what's missing: there are none of the usual jangly guitars. No trusty Rickenbackers. Instead, the singer-songwriter offers up a palette of synthesisers and drum machines. For those who grew up listening to his Eighties' classic, Rattlesnakes, it can be a little disorientating. Scratch beneath the surface, though, and things really aren't so different. Cole's cracked voice is still gloriously soulful and his words continue to ruminate on life's unfolding saga. Unsurprisingly now, at 58, the story has moved on. Gone are the heartaches and lost weekends. In their place, we find pithy reflections on empty nest

CD: Bruce Springsteen - Western Stars The Boss shows his smooth side

From The Arts Desk Nothing can quite prepare you for Western Stars, Springsteen's homage to classic artists like Glen Cambell and Burt Bacharach. It's not just the presence of horns and strings. What really leaves you open-mouthed is the voice. Gone is the trademark sand and grit, and in its place, we get an effortless-yet-weary, country croon. It's all a far cry from the Boss's work with the E Street Band. The musical arrangements hark straight back to a golden age of orchestral pop and songs like "Wichita Lineman". Melodies swoop, and strings rise. There are sad muted horns and tinkles of electric piano. When the strings recede, underneath are country guitars. The whole album is soaked in

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