CD Reviews

The latest efforts from Jonsi, Gabriella Cilmi, Pete Lawrie and Cancer Bats - and the Kick-Ass soundtrack - reviewed by our team

Artist: JonsiTitle: GoGrade: C+ Hooray! The Sigur Rós frontman – famed for singing in the made-up ‘Hopelandish’ language – introduces some English lyrics to the songs of earlier albums. We can finally understand what they’re singing about –though this does detract from the warmth of singing in a different language and having to guess meaning by tone and mode alone.Altogether Go is a very musically loose album, with drums rumbling and leaping through light-playing flutes, warming strings and a vocal line with collapsing harmonies. It is hardly a coincidence that Sigur Rós consider themselves to be of the pop genre. Applauds must also go to composer Nico Muhly for his well-placed and delicate arrangements throughout some of the instrumentally-heavy pieces.In a nutshell: Fun, playful, innocent and vibrant. Not as sad as others – more of a mixed bag really.Colin Sweetman~Artist: Various ArtistsTitle: Kick-Ass OST Rating: ARandomness can often be the greatest forte of film and music, and the two combined on this occasion make for a visceral treat. Highlights include the ever-electrifying Prodigy’s rendering of ‘Omen’ and ‘Stand Up’, not to mention ‘Banana Splits’ by The Dickies, which frames the entrance of Hit Girl in suitably anarchic fashion.Taylor Momsen (of Gossip Girl fame) surprises everyone by having a halfway decent band and sultry voice to match with ‘Make Me Wanna Die’, a track much better than its angsty title suggests. Most intriguing is the appearance of Quentin Tarantino-esque vocal stylings from the film on the tracks, but the film almost exceeded him in self-congratulatory coolness, so this works quite brilliantly. In A Nutshell: A gloriously deranged accompaniment to a gloriously deranged film.Grace Duffy~Title: TenArtist: Gabriella CilmiGrade: C-Cilmi is back with her sophomore album – taking on a new synth direction this time around. Although vocally strong, musically it sounds like Cilmi’s jumping on the electro bandwagon. The result, inevitably, is disjointed.‘On a Mission’ tries too hard to pack an opening punch by drawing on far too many 80s influences simultaneously, missing the mark and ending up being more kitsch than cool. The album picks up halfway, but efforts like ‘Robots’ and ‘Boys’ start strongly, then peter out into formulaic blandness.The album finally gets interesting with the laidback finale ‘Superman’, only for the album to end with a bonus rehash of her 2009 hit ‘Sweet About Me’ – which tellingly sounds fresher than most of the new content.In a nutshell: Bland, with some showers of borderline cheesiness.Lynda O'Keeffe~Artist: Pete LawrieAlbum: How Could I ComplainGrade: CThe album offers some nice tunes to tide the listener over – but besides that there’s not much to this CD. The solid rhythmic beats and throaty western lyrics of the opening track are reminiscent of of Josh Ritter, while the repetition in both lyrics and tempo leaves you tiring of the title track far too soon.‘Panic’, with its mash up of electric and percussion, is the best and most original track and offers a nice tune to bop your head to, very well complimented by the smoky rasp in Lawrie’s voice (though it sometimes sounds like he’s straining to be Tom Waits).Lawrie’s lack of originality makes this little more than something nice to listen to. You won’t find yourself singing the lyrics or having the violin move you, which is a shame because the album shows a lot of potential that it never delivers upon.In a nutshell: Excellent elevator music – which, sadly, means a failure.Ronan Breathneach