New CD releases: The Magic Numbers, Palace Winter and Beach House | Music | Entertainment

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ALBUM OF THE WEEK: The Magic Numbers – Outsiders (Role Play Records)

They have been less high-profile since but Outsiders, made after a four-year hiatus, should change all that.

This is pop songwriting of the highest order, from the curiously Roy Orbison-like opening track Dreamer through the glorious grinding chords of Sweet Divide and dynamic Ride Against The Wind.

Nuanced harmony vocals elevate every track, as does some curiously old-school synthesiser and, on the soulful Power Lines, a superb trombone solo.

Rating: 4/5

Palace Winter – Nowadays (Tambourhinoceros) – out now

Palace Winter, a Copenhagen-based duo of singer-songwriter Carl Coleman and producer Caspar Hesselager, make a glorious noise, fusing the grandiosity of old-school prog rock with a certain pop breeziness.

Take Shelter, with its huge piano chords, orchestra and Fleet Foxes-style harmonies is a highlight, as is Empire, which, with its bell-like chords and unfolding hooks recalls Blue Oyster Cult’s classic Agents Of Fortune album.

Rating:4/5

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Beach House – 7 (Bella Union)

What on earth has happened to the usually sublime Beach House? Having signed up a new co-producer and allowed their live drummer to go free range (always a mistake) the Baltimore vocal and keyboard duo have all but abandoned their beautiful, cut-glass minimalism in favour of a much murkier sound.

Dark Spring, which begins with a scuffle of percussion, is oddly anonymous, Black Car sounds almost like self-parody.

Only Last Ride (no relation to the Todd Rundgren masterpiece) and Drunk In LA come close to matching the ghostly, emotional pull of past glories.

Rating: 3/5

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REISSUE OF THE WEEK: Glenn Frey – Above The Clouds: The Very Best Of… (UMC, 3CD, IDVD)

Two years on from his untimely death, former Eagles founder Frey (right) gets a fitting tribute that proves both his group and solo work ran a lot deeper and wider than his most famous hit (and Beverly Hills Cop theme), The Heat Is On.

Rating: 4/5

All CDs released on Friday except where stated



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