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Sound Advice

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Rhythms Del Mundo  - Cuba  -  -  - Hip-O Records  -  - Sounds like: Popular hits with a Latin overdub -  - Short take: Fun for a good cause -  - Conceived as a fundraiser for Artists' Project Earth to - promote awareness of environmental disasters and - climate change, members of the Buena Vista Social Club - have fused Latin rhythms with hits from bands like - Coldplay, U2, Franz Ferdinand, Maroon 5, Sting, the - Arctic Monkeys and others. Initially, it's jarring to hear - congas and brass come in on top of the piano in "Clocks" - or over the electric guitar of "The Dark of the Matinee," - but once you get your bearings, it's downright hip- - swivelin' entertaining. Ibrahim Ferrer's contribution is a - highlight, though I could have done without yet another - version of "Killing Me Softly." How aptly named is that - song, anyway?  Matthew Schniper
  • Rhythms Del Mundo

    Cuba

    Hip-O Records

    Sounds like: Popular hits with a Latin overdub

    Short take: Fun for a good cause

    Conceived as a fundraiser for Artists' Project Earth to promote awareness of environmental disasters and climate change, members of the Buena Vista Social Club have fused Latin rhythms with hits from bands like Coldplay, U2, Franz Ferdinand, Maroon 5, Sting, the Arctic Monkeys and others. Initially, it's jarring to hear congas and brass come in on top of the piano in "Clocks" or over the electric guitar of "The Dark of the Matinee," but once you get your bearings, it's downright hip- swivelin' entertaining. Ibrahim Ferrer's contribution is a highlight, though I could have done without yet another version of "Killing Me Softly." How aptly named is that song, anyway? Matthew Schniper

Sondre Lerche  - Phantom Punch  -  -  - Astralwerks  -  - Sounds like: A more confident Belle and - Sebastian -  - Short take: A Norwegian prodigy finds his - sound -  - On last year's Duper Sessions, 24-year-old - Sondre Lerche did his best crooner impression  and - produced an impressive effort. Thankfully, though, it was - only the tip of the iceberg. After Duper, Lerche found - himself opening for Elvis Costello and recording with - Belle and Sebastian producer Tony Hoffer. Their - influence is heard loud and clear within the 11 quirky- - yet-brilliant pop tracks that fill Phantom Punch. - Behind Lerche's voice, the bouncing, happy melody of - "Airport Taxi Reception" (which wreaks of Hoffer's touch) - sets the tone as the opener on the disc. Meanwhile, the - second track, "The Tape," sounds more like a young - Costello. And it's also the top track on the album - which is saying something, considering that there's really - not a bad song in the bunch.  Pete - Freedman
  • Sondre Lerche

    Phantom Punch

    Astralwerks

    Sounds like: A more confident Belle and Sebastian

    Short take: A Norwegian prodigy finds his sound

    On last year's Duper Sessions, 24-year-old Sondre Lerche did his best crooner impression and produced an impressive effort. Thankfully, though, it was only the tip of the iceberg. After Duper, Lerche found himself opening for Elvis Costello and recording with Belle and Sebastian producer Tony Hoffer. Their influence is heard loud and clear within the 11 quirky- yet-brilliant pop tracks that fill Phantom Punch. Behind Lerche's voice, the bouncing, happy melody of "Airport Taxi Reception" (which wreaks of Hoffer's touch) sets the tone as the opener on the disc. Meanwhile, the second track, "The Tape," sounds more like a young Costello. And it's also the top track on the album which is saying something, considering that there's really not a bad song in the bunch. Pete Freedman

Sloan  - Never Hear the End of It  -  -  -  - Yep Roc Records  -  - Sounds like: A breakneck career summary -  - Short take: The power-pop compendium -  - At 30 songs amassed as one enormous 76-minute - medley, Nova Scotian quartet Sloan's eighth album - Never Hear the End of It is something of a - harbinger. For with that much material, my God  the - band has to get in, make their melodies and get out, an - assembly-line process of music. As a result, Sloan - sounds as loose as Robert Pollard, or The Dead Milkmen; - amidst the sprawling sprawl of songs, they attempt to - maintain a near constant high, clipping glam-rock - enormities, almost-punk melodies and super ballads. It's - exhausting, but satisfying, an unhinged ambition seen - mostly to fruition, which, for a band dwindling into - boredom, is phoenix-from-the-flames good news. -  Matt Martin
  • Sloan

    Never Hear the End of It

    Yep Roc Records

    Sounds like: A breakneck career summary

    Short take: The power-pop compendium

    At 30 songs amassed as one enormous 76-minute medley, Nova Scotian quartet Sloan's eighth album Never Hear the End of It is something of a harbinger. For with that much material, my God the band has to get in, make their melodies and get out, an assembly-line process of music. As a result, Sloan sounds as loose as Robert Pollard, or The Dead Milkmen; amidst the sprawling sprawl of songs, they attempt to maintain a near constant high, clipping glam-rock enormities, almost-punk melodies and super ballads. It's exhausting, but satisfying, an unhinged ambition seen mostly to fruition, which, for a band dwindling into boredom, is phoenix-from-the-flames good news. Matt Martin

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