CD Choice

In their poptastic heyday, Crowded House were probably incapable of writing a bad song

In their poptastic heyday, Crowded House were probably incapable of writing a bad song. Sure, some of their tunes could be uninspired, whimsical or sound too much like The Beatles, but they never lacked a chorus, hook or hummable melody. When the House broke up in 1994, they still had plenty of unreleased material left over, and this collection features songs which didn't make the final cut on such best-selling albums as Temple of Low Men and Woodface. These "orphans" were mostly penned by the band's leader, Neil Finn, and while Lester - a song about a dog, for pete's sake - and My Telly's Gone Bung may be the runts of the litter, Sacred Cow, You Can Touch and Private Universe are prodigal sons to be proud of.

Incognito: Future Re-mixed (Talkin' Loud)

By Jim Carroll

Last year's No Time Like The Future album from Jean-Paul Maunick's crew may not have set the world alight, but there's plenty here to suggest that a couple of firecrackers are ready to be lobbed on to selective dance floors. While heavyweight dons Masters At Work turn in a handy if unspectacular day's work, it's the mavericks who really set you glowing. Carl Craig pushes Out Of The Storm into deep, jazzy waters, newcomers Spackek shine and polish Marrakech into an unexpected gem, MJ Cole takes Nights Over Egypt into two-step heaven and Jazzanova treat Get Into My Groove to seven minutes of their jazz-not-jazz tomfoolery. The future is bright: the future is re-mixed.


The Who: BBC Sessions (Polydor)

By Kevin Courtney

In the 1960s, The Who always came third behind The Beatles and The Stones in the pop pecking order, but they were still significant enough to merit nine BBC Sessions, despite the ever-present danger they might smash up Auntie Beeb's precious equipment. The BBC, however, managed to destroy a 1965 recording of I Can't Explain, but they've presciently held on to these versions of My Generation, Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere, Substitute, Happy Jack and - one of my all-time favourite songs - Pictures Of Lily. Most of these sessions were recorded for the hugely popular Saturday Club, and the show's host, Brian Matthews, introduces the songs in that wonderfully slick 1960s broadcasting style. The Who had a thing for radio jingles, and this collection is topped by a tongue-in-cheek jingle which featuring the lyrics "talking 'bout my favourite station".

D'Angelo: (EMI)

By Jim Carroll

If D'Angelo is the crown prince of sweet, sexy, urban soul, the important word to note is "soul". His 1995 debut Brown Sugar had lots of it and Voodoo, too, shakes down to its very roots. Like fellow soul-mates Lauryn Hill, Maxwell and Erykah Badu, D'Angelo's groove is an organic taste, turning cuts like Devil's Pie into monster Marvin Gaye funkathons and Untitled (How Does It Feel?) into maverick Prince smooches. His cover of Roberta Flack's Feel Like Makin' Love even brings Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder into the house. And yet, despite standing on the shoulders of giants (Prince in musical terms, if not height), D'Angelo rarely panders and seldom steals. The first great soul release of the year.

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney is an Irish Times journalist