RATING: 3.5 out of 5

It’s been nearly three years since Gomez last hit stores with their fantastic album How We Operate – an album this reviewer described as “songwriting at its best” (Investigate Magazine, July 2006) – so it was with high anticipation that I popped A New Tide into my CD player and sat back for a listen.

Picking up where Operate left off, this latest collection of tracks sees singer and primary songwriter Ben Ottewell building on the accessible sound of that record, and going all out to appeal to as many people as possible.

While it would be easy for such a move to turn into a major disaster, in the hands of Gomez it works – opener “Mix” starts off as a stripped back acoustic ballad before giving way to rowdy distorted guitars leading into “Little Pieces”, one of the rockier songs in the groups’ repertoire, and easily one of the catchiest hooks on this album.

It doesn’t all work quite as well, with tracks like “Bone Tired” and “If I Ask You Nicely” finding the group traversing overly-safe territory they don’t need to be in, but this is a decent collection of tracks nonetheless and should appease the groups’ loyal fanbase.

ARTIST: Thrice
RATING: 4 out of 5

It can be difficult to judge a band based on a live album – there are many variables, such as the sound quality at the show, the recording method, whether the group perform at their best, and so on – but Live at the House of Blues is as good a documentation of a band as any greatest hits collection around.

Not too well known in mainstream circles, Californian group Thrice, led by singer Dustin Kensrue, are one of the more artistic and ambitious bands to emerge in the current emo-rock scene.

That variety and ambition is plainly obvious here, as Live at the House of Blues is a two-disc affair made up of tracks from the groups entire back catalogue, with particular focus on their four-disc concept record The Alchemy Index.

Being a live album, the songs are looser and on many occasions more enjoyable than their studio counterparts, but it also has its glitches – the audience is too loud in several parts, and the singing can sometimes tend slightly to the pitchy end of the scale.

That said, this is a veritable best-of collection, performed well enough that it doubles as a great introduction to the band, and certainly worth checking out.

ARTIST: Nat King Cole
RATING: 4.5 out of 5

Perhaps one of the more interesting albums to hit in recent times, this is one of those few times that – going in – I had no idea what I was about to hear.

Re:Generations is a posthumous collection of unreleased Cole tracks that have been grabbed, chopped up and twisted by a variety of the world’s top producers, and ending up as a collection of the most interesting collaborations I’ve ever come across.

Imagine my surprise at the disc kicking off with the sound of a record starting up, a smooth piano/string arrangement and Cole’s unmistakable voice blaring out the words “I was wrong”, before giving way to a dance beat and a funky bass line, courtesy of Cee-Lo Green, on opening track “Lush Life”.

The album carries on from there, with artists like Will.I.Am (Black Eyed Peas), hip hop collective The Roots and indie-rockers TV on the Radio performing on remixes courtesy of guys like hip hop producer Just Blaze (the man behind releases from Jay-Z, TI and Snoop Dogg) and keyboard player Salaam Remi (Amy Winehouse’s band), combining Coles’ genius with modern hiphop, dub and latin influences. There simply isn’t a weak track here, making this one album you must have a listen to.