CD: Liam Gallagher - Why Me? Why Not. The songs may remain the same, but the delivery has a little m

From The Arts Desk Liam Gallagher's 2017 solo debut, As You Were, took everybody by surprise. Not only did it show Gallagher Jnr to be still of capturing the public's imagination, but it also revealed him to be a much more capable writer than anyone had suspected. Two years on, things have (slightly) changed. Each song on Why Me? Why Not. has been co-written with a one or two superstar songwriters, leaving Liam to concentrate on his inimitable vocals. Unsurprisingly, the basic formula remains the same. There may have been some tinkering around the edges - a little more classic rock and a fraction less Beatles - but anyone hoping for jazz saxophones or mandolins will be disappointed. What sto

CD: Chrissie Hynde with the Valve Bone Woe Ensemble - Valve Bone Woe The Pretenders' singer swit

From The Arts Desk Chrissie Hynde has always loved a cover song. But never before, has she strayed so far from her comfort zone. The 14 covers on Valve Bone Woe are a million miles from new wave. They're a kind of jazz odyssey - a journey from bebop to easy listening via early soul. It couldn't be any less like what usually happens when a rock star 'goes jazz'. Hynde's approach is both sophisticated and tasteful. Along with her Valve Bone Woe Ensemble, the Pretenders' singer explores songs as diverse as "Wild is the Wind" and Charlie Mingus's "Meditation (for a Pair of Wire Cutters)". The band take the changes of mood in their stride. Cool-Jazz trumpets give way to gently-caressed pianos. On

CD: Ride - This Is Not A Safe Place The shoegaze legends' comeback is still going strong

From The Arts Desk It's been two years since Ride came back from a 20-year break with their reunion LP, Weather Diaries. Fans considered the album a triumph. This is Not a Safe Place, though, is a notch above. It's 50 minutes of intoxicating and contrasting moods that move from dreamy indie to post-punk. Underpinning the music is a sense of finding your identity in an increasingly disconnected and polarised world. Intriguingly then, it wasn't contemporary Britain but 1980s New York that first inspired the album. Or rather, the city as portrayed by street-art maverick Jean Michel Basquiat. In 2018 guitarist Andy Bell saw an exhibition of Basquiat's stark, alienated figures. Afterwards, he fel

CD: Volbeat - Rewind, Replay, Rebound Scandinavian Elvis-metallers try out a new sound, with mixed r

From The Arts Desk In metal circles, Volbeat are a phenomenon. For almost 20 years the Danish rockers have been filling venues with their iconic combination of bulldozer riffs and hip-shaking Elvis swagger. It's the tension between these two contrasting influences that underpins their success. Or, at least, so far. Now, the recipe has changed: the tension has gone. The flavours have merged. It all sounds a lot softer. Fans won't be altogether surprised. Songwriter Michael Poulsen's music has been getting progressively lighter for years. What really strikes you is how mainstream it now feels. Other than the occasional obligatory rockabilly-metal number, the album is split between soft and con

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