Ed Sheeran, + (Asylum Records)
IN an era when just about anybody performing without a band is a singer-songwriter it is refreshing to have someone grasp back the genre in such old school style. Relentless touring, flogging CDs out of his backpack, word of mouth swiftly had Ed on his way with songs that seem to win over all who hear them; the swoonsome but intelligent A Team, caustic new single You Need Me, I Don’t Need You, the touching Drunk. + gets Blunt sickly in places and Ed’s occasional rapid-fire lyrical delivery irritating but overall this matches the promise.
Melanie C, The Sea (Red Girl Records)
WITH her stage debut in Blood Brothers and debut as a mum it’s a wonder that Ms Chisholm found the time to turn out another solo record. Seemingly fired by the Spice Girls reunion tour the Scouse songstress has made an album of slick pop probably more akin to her Spice days than Northern Star endeavours. Chart guru Guy Chambers is among co-writes on a collection of tunes fuelled by pulsing electronica and acoustic-infusions that are easy on the ear but hardly indelible, even if a bouncy leap on from her indie tomboy solo days
Drugstore, Anatomy (Rocket Girl)
SO often you don’t realise you miss something until it’s absent for a while. Certainly that was true for Drugstore songstress Isabel Monteiro who became depressed after the Drugstore closed nine years ago. A brief reunion in 2009 and a fan-donated guitar led the Brazilian to write again, ultimately leading to this fourth record of “painfully intimate, shamelessly simple, devastatingly sad” songs. Rustic is one word. It’s not a bundle of laughs, but there is hope there and a lot of heart. Just be in a good mood when you play it.