CD reviews.

Various Artists

Later... Live With Jools Holland



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The latest release from post-pub favourite Jools Holland's legendary vehicle, this double album attempts to skim the cream of the last three years' performances, as the format rattles towards its 200th show. But with 39 tracks from an embarrassment of riches, there's bound to be some favourite performance that isn't featured, begging the question why the BBC doesn't just offer them all through iTunes or similar. In true Jools style there's plenty of big names (Razorlight, Amy Winehouse) alongside '08's stars-in-waiting like Duffy and Adele, but there are no unmissable, stand-out performances here. Loses a star for an abysmal cut'n'paste over the f-word in Green day's American Idiot.


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What Are Friends For

Fat Cat


What Are Friends For (noting the title's rhetorical statement, rather than a question, is important here) is just over half an hour of heavily textured post-hardcore experimentalism, seconding melody to a repetitious mix of sharp and blunt, hi-hat and bass, Thomas House topping it all off with a throat-shredding take on singing. Perhaps helped by recording it all in a church hall in Norwich, WAFF is a tightly-wound ball of tense discomfort and agitation, which should act as an effective toxin to chart-loving pop fiends. It should be awful, but there is an inner heartbeat to this challenging, messy malevolence that strikes a primal chord. (Un)easy listening.


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