Record Review with Kevin Bryan

Here is the latest set of record reviews, courtesy of Kevin Bryan.

Bat For Lashes - The Bride (Parlophone). ­Natasha Khan’s (pictured) innovative approach to music­ making is captured in all its otherworldly glory as her alter ego of Bat For Lashes unveils this utterly compelling concept album. Khan’s work has been variously compared to everyone from Kate Bush to Tori Amos and Siouxsie Sioux and the London-born singer and musician is certainly able to conjure haunting musical landscapes from the ether, as she recounts the tale of a particularly tragic wedding day and its aftermath, via captivating ditties such as Close Encounters, In God’s House and Never Forgive The Angels.

Paul Tortelier/Robert Veyron­Lacroix - Bach : The Sonatas for Viola da Gamba (Erato).­ This eloquent vehicle for the consummate artistry of cellist Tortelier dates from the far off year of 1963 and finds the great French musician working in tandem with harpsichordist Robert Veyron­Lacroix as the Gallic duo immerse themselves in the works of J.S.Bach.

The three sonatas featured here weren’t originally conceived with the cello in mind but in Tortelier’s hands they made the transition with effortless ease, with Veyron­Lacroix’s vast knowledge of 18th century music helping to lend an air of Baroque authenticity to the proceedings.

Girlschool - Take A Bite (HNE/Cherry Red).­ This South London quartet were one of the more tuneful outfits to emerge from the new wave of British heavy metal during the late 70s, and although their fortunes were seriously flagging by the time that Take A Bite appeared on the scene a decade or so later the contents represented a pleasing throwback to the energised and aggressive musical stance which was such a feature of their earlier output. Late lamented Motorhead frontman Lemmy co­wrote the album’s stand­out track, Head Over Heels, and the girls also served up a fine cover of Sweet’s Fox On The Run alongside newly minted creations

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    such as Action and Up All Night.

    Greenslade - The Birthday Album . Live Switzerland 1974(Angel Air).­ This distinctly low fidelity offering captures the stylish prog rockers’ performance at Prilly in Switzerland on keyboard ace Dave Greenslade’s 31st birthday, in what was destined to be the last known live recording made by their original line­-up. The band were always a little shaky in the vocal department but their appreciative Swiss audience didn’t seem unduly concerned about this as they were regaled with

    some choice extracts from Greenslade’s first two Warner Brothers albums, including Pilgrims Progress, Sundance and the title track of their finest long­player, Bedside Manners Are Extra.