11:16 Thursday 09 January 2014

Album reviews

Written byROB SMYTH

Manu Chao

Sibérie m’était contéee


WORLD music superstar, Manu Chao, is well known for combining a variety of languages and styles, often singing in French, Spanish, English, Portuguese, Galician and Arabic.

Despite the historically complicated relationship with his homeland, Chao returns to his French roots with live album, Sibérie m’était contéee, (If the story of Serbia was told/recited to me).

Almost a decade since its release, Chao’s first French speaking only album has now been made available in the UK.

As energetic as expected, the songs consist of informal rhythms and lively rifts which are interspersed with the typically Parisian sound of breathy accordions.

Propelling and spotlessly enunciated vocals are hauntingly inviting meaning you don’t have to have an A-Level in French to get drawn in and enjoy the albums street-party narrative.

While not as heavily punk influenced as his previous solo endeavors, you can still feel a hint of ska and reggae present, albeit with a distinct Parisian spin.

Chao, began his musical career by busking on the streets of Paris before joining French rockabilly band Hot Pants in the 1980s, and then eventually starting rock influenced, Mano Negra with his brothers and cousin.

Disbanding in 1995, Chao, the son of refugees from Franco’s Spain who was bought up in Paris, decided to forge a solo career incorporating his archaic style with a global twist, opting to sing in any language but his mother-tongue.

Surprisingly easy-to-listen to, if your only knowledge of Chao is Robbie Williams cover of “Bongo Bongo” on that Rudebox album; I implore you to give this record a listen.

(Libby Wilkinson)

Keziah Jones

Captain Rugged


I’m not quite sure of the word you would use to define this genre of music, bit I can certainly think of a word to describe what I think of it.

Unfortunately it’s not one that is printable in a newspaper.

This effort comes from Nigerian singer-songwriter Jones, who has apparently been releasing music since 1992.

There were moments while listening to this album that I thought it could grow on me, but that soon passed. I don’t like this style of music at all but for people who like ‘blufunk’ (I just googled him) then Keziah Jones could well be for you.

(Sarah Bould)

Jake Bugg

Shangri La


JAKE Bugg’s sophomore album Shangri La is the acoustic-fuelled follow-up to his 2012 self-titled record.

Shangri La follows up where the Clifton-born indie boy’s previous album left off. It is full of resonating six-string tracks with obvious nods to Dylan, Young and the Gallagher brothers.

While Shangri La might be as strong as Bugg’s first record, it is a strong record which cements him as one of the defining indie artists of the time.

I would also rather listen to this album on endless repeat, than subject myself to any of the disposable transient cacophonic bleating of anyone from X Factor.

(Mark McKay)

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