Album reviews: Linkin Park | Metric | Daryl Sherman | Silly Wizard | Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra/Gustavo Dudamel

Pop, folk, jazz and classical new releases reviewed by Colin Somerville, Alison Kerr, Norman Chalmers and Alexander Bryce

POP

Linkin Park

Living Things

Warner Brothers, £12.99

***

On their new album, producer Rick Rubin moves Linkin Park further away from the rock and rap blueprint which has characterised much of their output since breaking through 12 years ago. The band go easy on guitar thrash and waft into the world of electronica, sounding like part of the early 80s British scene on the opening Lost In The Echo, which is arguably the best thing they have done. In My Remains continues to build on that keyboard platform, with vocalist and multi instrumentalist Mike Shinoda sounding more measured and mature about his craft.

CS

Download this: Burn It Down, Lost In The Echo

Metric

Synthetica

Metric Music International, £10.99

**

This is a one-dimensional record by the Canadian band with frontwoman Emily Haines failing to inject any life or colour into a collection of frustratingly familiar songs. It all sounds like a bad audition for the latest musical from Mike Batt – well scrubbed, polite and a hormone-free zone.

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Its sleeve brings back memories of Italian synthpop band Hipnosis, but the title song boasts more life than the rest put together. Extra star for Lou Reed’s cameo on The Wanderlust, though.

CS

Download this: The Wanderlust

JAZZ

Daryl Sherman

Mississippi Belle – Cole Porter In The Quarter

Audiophile ACD-342, online only

****

As Edinburgh Jazz Festival-goers will discover next month, the American singer-pianist Daryl Sherman is a terrific entertainer whose frothy, coquettish vocals and swinging jazz piano make her a class act. On this CD, Sherman celebrates the lesser-sung Cole Porter – a composer with whom she has a special affinity, since for years she played his piano in the Waldorf Astoria.

Some of the songs here are a little too cabaret for jazz tastes but there’s still much for devotees of elegant mainstream jazz.

Alison Kerr

Download this: Let’s Do It, Ours

FOLK

Silly Wizard

Live Again

Birnam Records BCD619, online only

****

Recorded nearly 30 years ago at a sell-out concert in Massachusetts, and alive with the American fans’ squeals of delight, this compilation reveals the Scotland-based band at their crowd-pleasing peak; Johnny Cunningham and Phil Cunningham leading the charge on fiddle and accordion on top of Gordon Jones’s acoustic guitar, Mamie Hadden’s electric bass and Andy Stewart’s banjo.

The latter’s well-written songs then slow things down and inject a mellower mood before the remaining tracks take the tempi of the reels and jigs to typical Silly Wizard extremes – from slow to cheerful cardiac arrest.

Norman Chalmers

Download this: The Ramblin’ Rover

CLASSICAL

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra/Gustavo Dudamel

Bruckner, Sibelius, Nielsen

Deutsche Grammophon, £24.99

*****

Classical music can create some strange bedfellows. The Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel came to wide public attention through his work as music director with the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, which has introduced tens of thousands of young men and women to performing classical music. This CD, however, focuses on three solidly northern European composers: Anton Bruckner, Jean Sibelius and Carl Nielsen.

Dudamel brings out the tension in much of the music, as well as its grandeur and colour. In this excellent set of live recordings, there is never a sense of going through the motions, but rather of a considered, intelligent exploration, digging out unexpected sound balances.

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The Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra excels throughout: the brashness and breeziness of Dudamel’s work with his Venezuelan youngsters may not be there: instead, this is thoughtful, insightful conducting.

Alexander Bryce

Download this: Sibelius No 2, Finale