Saltwater Band – Malk (Dramatico) ****
If you can’t beat them, join them. That seems to be the message from the Saltwater Band, a seriously talented group of Aboriginal artists from Australia. Their traditional music may not reach the masses in the way that this selection of pop/reggae/ska-infused songs will, so they have adapted this medium as their way of passing on their traditional storytelling to future generations. The songs tell of their culture sung in their local dialect (but with a handy translation in the sleeve notes). The music is guaranteed to put a smile on your face and get your feet tapping. With the number of awards that they have already won for their previous two albums and live performances, I am sure that their message will soon be spread more widely around the world.
Nigel Goodman, 53, teacher, Heaton
Other Lives – Tamer Animals (Play It Again Sam) ****
This is a rather cinematic piece of work that has stacks of orchestration to it which reminds me a lot of some of The Beatles later work. Tamer Animals is a very calming set of songs which are full of texture. Vocalist Josh Tahish sings effortlessly and still has great melody, his voice is also extremely relaxing to listen to. There seems to be a lot going on. There are 11 tracks in all featured on this album, which certainly makes this an interesting listen; at times even a slightly hypnotic experience. Other Lives have got a good thing going here and I look forward to hearing more from them in the future.
Russ Petcher, 36, bassist, Low Moor
Various – Songs To Save A Life (Samaritans) ***
KT Tunstall, James Morrison, The Overtones and Sophie Ellis-Bextor are among the big names to have recorded a unique collection of original tracks and inspirational covers for Songs to Save a Life – a new charity album in aid of Samaritans. The album also features music from Ed Harcourt, Jay James Picton, Lucie Silvas, Jon Allen, Graham Gouldman (of 10cc), Katie Kim and Queen Orlenes. All the profits from the album will fund the essential 24-hour helpline service to support anyone feeling suicidal or with nowhere else to turn. By buying this album, you could help to save lives.
D Rowbotham, 61, retired, Bradford