Alicia Keys, The Killers, Mum

Alicia Keys
As I Am
Sony/BMG
4/5
The most successful tracks on Keys’s new LP are those where she injects a little grit into her slick old-school soul meets R&B formula (‘Go Ahead’ and ‘No One’). Often though, she defaults to banal piano ballad mode, resting on her million dollar voice and major label production budget laurels. Next time, more Lauryn and less Elton, thanks.
ipod selection: Where do We go From Here

The Killers
Sawdust
Island
3/5
A fairly pointless grab-bag of b-sides and rarities, if Sawdust proves anything, it’s that The Killers’ love-it-or-hate-it post-punk stadium-rock sound works best on their own material. The Lou Reed collaboration is pretty awful, their covers of Dire Straits’ ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and Joy Division’s ‘Shadowplay’ (from the soundtrack to Control) are downright woeful. Strictly of interest to fans only.
ipod essential – Where the White Boys Dance

Mum
Go Go Smear the Poison Ivy
Fat Cat/Rhythmethod
4/5
Iceland’s prodigies of indietronica have lost their female lead vocalist, but retained their whimsical song titles (‘These Eyes are Berries’, ‘I Was Her Horse’), and their unmistakable, ethereal-as-hell sound. The textures and arrangements are more organic than before: at points even upbeat, in a glitchy kind of way. A worthy progression from their earlier albums.
ipod essential – Marmalade Fires

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