So Blank Project – Cherry’s first solo album for 18 years – comes as something of a surprise.Not that this is pop in any conventional sense, but the songs are sparky and Cherry is in excellent voice as she raps, sings and swings against the sparse, drum and bass-style backing orchestrated by Four Tet.
****St Vincent 'St Vincent' (Loma Vista/Caroline International)Annie Clark’s fourth album is frequently extraordinary: even in singing “Oh what an ordinary day/ Take out the garbage; masturbate”, she undoes any claim to normalness by being so uncommonly candid.
Her take on tenderness involves insisting “I prefer your love to Jesus”.
The youngest two children are from her relationship with her husband/producer Cameron Mc Vey, aka Booga Bear, who worked on Massive Attack's Blue Lines and has been writer/producer on all three of her solo albums.
"There was a point not long ago when Tyson saw me getting my youngest daughter, Mabel, dressed in the mornings and it made her angry. I was on tour, and that hurts," says Cherry, who was the first female pop star to appear on Top of the Pops eight months pregnant - in tight Lycra.
*****Ags Connolly 'How About Now' (Drumfire)He calls it “Ameripolitan” in defiance of the perceived values of the current US country mainstream and to denote a certain identification with older, more authentic values. In fact the slight lumpiness of his writing lends pathos, as if the dismal feelings (women, whiskey, general woe) have only just been felt. ****John harle & Marc Almond 'The Tyburn Tree' (Sospiro)Hot on the heels of Harle’s Art Music, on which he was a guest, Almond returns as a full partner for this psycho-geographical survey of “Dark London”.