The Lemonheads - The Lemonheads
Evan Dando is back doing what he does best - pleasing power pop - and back doing it under the name of The Lemonheads. This album is liking meeting a old friend who you have not seen for a while, and thankfully, you still like them. I would stop short of calling this classic, but when this record is good it is very good - Become the Enemy is pound for pound as good as anything dando has written; No Backbone; In Passing; Black Gown and many more hit the spot nicely. A welcome return.
Union of Knives - Violence and Birdsong
One of the true surprises of 2006, this Glasgow band are well worth checking out. Described by NME as "Quivering Big Rock songs being circled by tribal electro-drums with guitars of solid glacier" there is a lot going on. Operated On is full of industrial drum beats and is one of the tracks of the year. Other highlights include: Evil has Never; Taste for Harmony; and Go Back to School. Recommended
Basement Jaxx - Crazy Itch Radio
Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe have produced some of the more interesting and inventive modern dance music of recent years, and it is pleasing to see this continue on this album - just check the disco joy of Hush Boy for example. At times the need to do everything can make things hard going - Run 4 Cover featuring the talents of MIA and Lady Sovereign has a Jamaican dance-hall beat that grates. But move past here and take in Smoke Bubbles and On the Train. Actually on tracks such as these this album reminds me of Bran Van 3000.
Christina Aquilera - Back to Basics
God this album (or two albums) goes on a long time. Is it bad? No, it just isn't that great either. I am of the opinion that Aint no other Man is one of the finest singles of this year. Sadly nothing else here gets anywhere near this joy of this track. A few other tunes - Candyman; Still Dirrty; Back in the Day; and the album's second best track, Save me from Myself are all enjoyable enough (and in the last of these CA shows vocal restraint).