Preludes: Rare and Unreleased Recordings
Comprised of outtakes and demos discovered after Zevon’s death, the recordings on Preludes can sound a little rough, but that just adds to their mystique, shedding new light on an underappreciated artist. The solo piano pieces sound very of-their-time but with a world weary, psychedelicised edge, more Gram Parsons than Billy Joel. The full band rockers are fantastic: especially the ‘Poor Poor Pitiful Me’ demo and an extremely dishevelled version of ‘Werewolves Of London’.
Our Earthy Pleasures
New-school new-wave act Maximo Park produce another set of smart, succinct pop songs on their second LP: muscular, angular postpunk tunes fortified with well chosen textural touches like anlaog synths and Johhny Marr-esque guitar-lines (‘Books from Boxes’), and wordy-but-charming lyrics delivered in Paul Smith’s distinctive Newcastle accent. If there’s any downside here it’s that the band’s personality is diluted by big name producer Gil Norton’s radio-friendly generic rock sound. Otherwise, all good.
Nothing on Timbaland’s solo LP stands up against his ground-breaking production work with Aaliyah and Missy Elliot, but when a man has completely rewritten the pop rulebook over the last decade, he deserves a little slack. Given the star power he’s mustered here (Elliot, Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, Elton John), it’s inevitable that most of the material is at least above average, even if no-one’s really trying. And it’s fun to play spot the Britney joke(s).