From Manic Street Preachers to Richard Thompson, ADRIAN THRILLS reviews the latest albums in the world of rock and pop

By Adrian Thrills

Adrian Thrills reviews the newest releases in the world of rock and pop.

GEORGE EZRA: Wanted On Voyage (Columbia)

With Ed Sheeran leading the charge, British pop is wallowing in a wave of young men with acoustic guitars.

To a list that includes Jake Bugg and Passenger, the name of George Ezra can now be added.

The 21-year-old from Bristol, who plays guitar and keyboards, sings in a more rugged style than most of his peers, and his robust approach pays off here.

There are hints of rockabilly on the forceful opener Blame It On Me, while the catchy Budapest is already a Top Five single.

Verdict: 4/5

George Ezra's  Wanted On Voyage  album cover

George Ezra's Wanted On Voyage album cover


RICHARD THOMPSON: Acoustic Classics (Beeswing)

British folk-rock figurehead Richard Thompson looks back over his four-decade solo career on this intimate acoustic set.

Rightly acclaimed as one of the best guitarists of all time by Rolling Stone magazine, the former Fairport Convention member is gifted and versatile (he sings Britney’s Oops!… I Did It Again in concert).

Here, he brings a stripped-down freshness to the classic I Want To See The Bright Lights Again, originally a duet with his ex-wife Linda.

Verdict: 4/5


LEWIS WATSON: The Morning (Warner Bros.)  

In the slipstream of Ed Sheeran, Jake Bugg and George Ezra, Oxford singer-songwriter Lewis Watson is the latest in a lengthening line of young men with acoustic guitars.

Two years in the making, this debut is a polished overhaul of the sensitive fare that has made the 21-year-old an Internet hit. Watson has some fine tunes – Stones Around The Sun; the Sheeran-like Windows – but he relies too often on the one-size-fits-all emotions of a typical Coldplay song.

Verdict: 3/5


JOSH RECORD: Pillars (Virgin EMI)

Having toured with Lorde and made two EPs, falsetto singer Josh Record is aiming for the mainstream with this downbeat but atmospheric debut.

The 26-year-old from Stroud enjoys the kind of complex choral arrangements favoured by Beach Boy Brian Wilson, although recent single For Your Love also points to the chamber pop of Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon as an influence.

Bones is a dreamy opening track, and Coldplay’s Chris Martin would be proud of the ballad Wonder.

Verdict: 3/5

Falsetto singer Josh Record is aiming for the mainstream with this downbeat but atmospheric debut Pillars

Falsetto singer Josh Record is aiming for the mainstream with this downbeat but atmospheric debut Pillars


SIA: 1000 Forms Of Fear (RCA)

A reluctant star who refuses to show her face in public, Sia Furler penned the power-ballad Perfume for Britney and Diamonds for Rihanna.

Here, she steps tentatively into the limelight. The Australian adopts the Bajan inflections of Rihanna on the poppy Hostage.

But, with its heavy orchestration and booming drums, Burn The Pages is overwrought.

Her forte is the deliciously dark ballad: Straight For The Knife and Dressed In Black are superior examples.

Verdict: 4/5


MANIC STREET PREACHERS: Futurology (Columbia)

Welsh rockers the Manic Street Preachers play to their traditional strengths on an album of big riffs and agile choruses.

A welcome return to form after last year’s melancholy Rewind The Film, this 12th effort is packed with rock songs that simmer before erupting in dramatic flourishes.

On Walk Me To The Bridge and Let’s Go To War, they also revisit a a neglected backwater of British rock — the fusion of punk and electro-disco that inspired early Eighties bands like Simple Minds.

Verdict: 3/5

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