wed 22/05/2024

New Music Reviews

Spandau Ballet, O2 Arena

Robert Sandall

The success of Spandau Ballet's ecstatically received reunion lies in no small part in its impeccable timing. The band could hardly have chosen a better moment to re-form and revisit their well stocked catalogue of 1980s hits. Not only are their original fans now stuck firmly into middle age and feeling the usual nostalgia for the soundtrack of their youth, but a younger generation of listeners has at last decided that Eighties pop is cool.

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Sara Tavares, Jazz Cafe

howard Male A lightness of touch and an instinct for melody make Sara Tavares's music unique

Portuguese singer-songwriter Sara Tavares trades in understatement. She strokes rather than strums guitar chords, her two percussionists are more likely to brush a drum than whack it hard, and her soft close-to-the-mike voice specialises in gentle yearning rather than soul-girl histrionics. So the intimate space of the Jazz Café seems much better suited to her than, say, the Barbican where she had the unenviable task earlier this year of being a viable support act to the larger-than-life Malian...

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Indigo Girls, O2 Academy, Bristol

Veronica Lee

It’s interesting to ponder why, after 22 years in the business, the Indigo Girls aren’t more successful or better known outside the cognoscenti and their very loyal fanbase. Their intricate harmonies and beautifully constructed guitar-based folk-rock has attracted many fans (and sometime collaborators) in the music industry - from Natalie Merchant and Ani DiFranco to Lucinda Williams and REM - and one of their albums went platinum. They even won a Grammy, so what’s not to like?

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Wolfgang Voigt as Gas, Barbican

joe Muggs

It comes to something when the logic of a German act calling themselves “Gas” is the least troubling element of a perfomance. Not that Wolfgang Voigt's ambient music, or the slowly-evolving digital art of Petra Hollenbach projected on the Barbican's cinema screen, contained any obvious shock tactics – but the whole 80 minutes created just about as unsettling an experience as one could imagine from abstracted sound and image.

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Synth Britannia, BBC Four

Adam Sweeting

Would-be axe murderers of the BBC often propose to lop off (among other things) TV channels Three and Four, but Four’s music coverage is vastly better value for viewers’ money than the executive pension fund. Synth Britannia stuck firmly to Four’s “Britannia” formula, being a bunch of talking heads and clumps of archive footage interwoven with synth-pop classics from the late Seventies and early Eighties.

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Spiritualized: Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space, Royal Festival Hall

Robert Sandall

Performing your classic album as a full concert item has become a significant part of rock’s heritage culture in recent years, and the tide of potential classics is rising all the time.

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Cara Dillon, Union Chapel

Russ Coffey

With her impish looks and translucent, near-perfect voice Cara Dillon does well to avoid the “coffee table” epithet.  As a "product" she looks prime for mass marketing into the suburban dinner party circuit. But as an artist she is much better than that.

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Mott The Hoople, Hammersmith Odeon

howard Male

If Bowie, Bolan, and Roxy Music were the shimmering glam triumvirate of early 1970s British pop, then what were Mott the Hoople? Surely they don’t belong with the likes of the Sweet, Suzi Quatro and… er… Gary Glitter. In fact with their R&B and rock 'n' roll roots they’ve more in common with some of the decade’s more credible rockers such as the Faces or even the New York Dolls. It was in their ragged swagger and the stylised arrogance that vocalist Ian Hunter projected while...

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Joan As Police Woman, Union Chapel

Robert Sandall

You’ve got to take the pedal off the metal at some point, and in 2009 the prodigiously energetic New Yorker Joan Wasser – otherwise known as Joan As Police Woman - has apparently decided to ease up and release an album of cover versions.

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2562 album launch, Corsica Studios SE1

joe Muggs

For some people, dubstep has an identity problem. Its suburban origins and recent global spread, its propensity for hybridity, the relatively genial nature of the scene, and perhaps worst of all its popularity with – whisper it – students lead some commentators to regard it with suspicion.

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