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Music Round-Up April 09

Jude Adam

Neko CaseThe breadth and quality of releases in the last issue meant I didn't have space to talk about the wonderful debut from Australia's Empire Of The Sun. Formed by Luke Steele of The Sleepy Jackson, Empire Of The Sun may be another glitter-daubed 80s-sounding synth-duo, but Walking On A Dream goes from strength to strength, and it has an interest and enduring quality that the likes of MGMT failed to pull off over 10 tracks.

Also transporting us back a few years is Invaders Must Die, the new album from The Prodigy. Invaders is a fantastic return to form, and not only because it sounds incredibly like their genre-defining 1994 album Music For The Jilted Generation. Liam, Keith and Maxim have still got the three key aspects that made them great: political teeth, amazing beats, and un-stoppable energy. Dance music's young pretenders just got totally shown up by their dad.

Firing off new rounds from his arsenal is a VERY LOUD Morrissey. On Years Of Refusal he has adopted a more full-on rock sound, and the album is a non-stop barrage from start to end. The opening track has Mozza in full-on shouty mode and he barely takes breath for the next 43 minutes. The key theme of the record is how lonely and unloved/unloveable he is, but this is met with the final concluding track 'I'm OK By Myself'. Yeah? You are? Then why have you been YELLING at me for 40 minutes? The sad thing is that it's not that there aren't good songs on the album - there are three or four truly great ones - it's just very hard to listen to all at once.

Finally a must-listen album from Neko Case. Middle Cyclone is a gorgeous piece of work from the US singer-songwriter. Her gently powerful voice, wonderfully crafted song, and clever wit are reminiscent of the much-missed Kirsty Maccoll, and like Kirsty she's not afraid of interesting covers and collaborations. Here she works with friends from her other band New Pornographers, Calexico, Los Lobos and M Ward, and tackles Spark's 'Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth'. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Jude Adam