I’ve been spinning Beck’s latest long player, Modern Guilt, relentlessly recently. I have been a long term admirer of the young pop prince, especially his more muted, melancholic offerings, Sea Change and Mutations, which are both fabulous. Modern Guilt is a marvellous achievement and certainly one of my favourite albums of this year. Ten immaculately produced tracks, full of swagger, grace, melody and intelligence are proffered. Danger, er, Mouse, the production wizard, has helped conjure up an elegant, breathy, neo-psychedelic ambience, a layered sonic gem that dazzles and challenges without losing a tangible sense of humanity. Funky beats permeate. Repeated plays reward.
The rugby football was exciting again yesterday. Before the start of the season I was concerned that the Northampton club would mount a challenge for honours but on yesterday’s evidence against the mighty Gloucester, a club I favour, the self-styled Saints will be lucky to avoid a close shave with relegation. The home side played with verve and energy and ambition for the second week running and deserved the five point salute for attaining a quartet of touchdowns. Gloucester kicked the ball a little more often than they did against Bristol and this disappointed me a tad. With the strong running Michael ‘Mike’ Tindall, Luke Narraway and varied cohorts banging huge holes in the visitors’ midfield, the guile and poise of numerous strike runners could been unleashed more often had ball been kept in hand. This is not a complaint, merely an observation. Things look good for the city club at the moment. Tougher challenges await but a host of players, notably the skilful and alert Balshaw, are hitting form while plenty of key personnel remain on the sidelines with points to prove on their return.