Nic Armstrong, The Greatest White Liar
OK, let's not make any bones about it - if you're the type of relentlessly modernist aesthete who thinks that the bone-jarring metallic funk of The Neptunes just isn't futuristic sounding enough, then this record will definitely give you nightmares. It's not just retro, it's pre-retro - it doesn't stir up echoes of Dylan and Merseybeat with a 21st century slant, IT SOUNDS EXACTLY LIKE 'EM.
But that's why it's good. When Nic does scratchy, lascivious blues, like on the vicious 'Broken Mouth Blues' or the mental, raging 'Mrs The Moralizer', it at least has the grace to sound like it was recorded on a mixing desk from the Mesozoic era. And when he does jaunty beat-pop, he does it with a beaming, bright-eyed effervescence that would have made Freddie & The Dreamers think, "Fuck me, who's that chirpy sod?"
He overdoes it once - 'She Changes Like The Weather's' meteorology-as-love metaphors are almost Crowded House in their horribleness - but he doesn't overdue it 13 times. It ain't the Neptunes, it's just some hep tunes.