Album: Cage The Elephant - Melophobia (Relentless) ****
THOSE cheeky chaps Cage The Elephant are back with their third album and, we're pleased to say, it's a cracker.
Opening with the lively Spiderhead, Melophobia gets off to a promising start.
Their trademark dirty country/indie sound is here in spades, although the reference to "spiders in my head" might not paint a particularly welcome picture for the arachnophobes among us.
Moving on to the album's first single, Come A Little Closer, the band slow things down a little, but without veering too far from that classic sound that made their early songs In One Ear and Ain't No Rest For The Wicked instant classics.
There's a not very subtle keyboard tribute riff to The Beatles on Telescope, with Matthew Shultz sounding more like The Flaming Lips' singer Wayne Coyne than ever.
On It's Just Forever, the band get some vocal assistant from the brilliant Alison Mosshart - she of The Kills and The Dead Weather fame. It's a song with more twists and turns than a Lionel Messi foray into the penalty area and it's one of this record's standouts.
There's a dancier feel to Halo, which brings to mind Franz Ferdinand and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah with its disco-style verses which merge into a massive chorus showcasing the band's knack for a catchy tune.
For our money, Black Widow is the best on offer here. Just different enough to show that the bad are willing to take risks, but enough like their early material to keep long time fans onside.
Melophobia is our new music release of the week.
Album: The Fratellis - We Need Medicine (BMG) ****
HAS it really been five years since Glasgow's favourite three-piece last released a record?
It hardly seems possible, but that's probably down to the fact that their smash hit Chelsea Dagger constantly crops up in adverts, TV show soundtracks or simply in your head, where it is destined to remain for the rest of your life.
Costello Music came out right in the middle of a Britpop revival led by the likes of Kaiser Chiefs, but what set it apart was The Fratellis' flair for the flamboyant.
A second album, Here We Stand, flew by almost unnoticed and the band went their separate ways.
But after working on various solo and side projects, the trio are back and they've not lost their touch.
Album opener Halloween Blues has more than a hint of vaudeville, a tactic the band employed so successfully on their early material.
It could easily be the soundtrack to a quite magical stage show.
"I'm gonna be the next Harry Belafonte," sings Jon Fratelli, and we wouldn't put it past him.
She's Not Gone Yet But She's Leaving is an early highlight, and single Seven Nights Seven Days keeps the momentum going.
Things take a turn towards classic rock territory on This Is Not The End Of The World, but there's also a hint of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band on display and it works beautifully.
There's a cinematic feel to Rock 'n Roll will Break Your Heart, the theme of which may refer to the band's slump after the release of that second album.
But if that is the case, surely album number four will feature a track called something along the lines of Rock 'n Roll, We Forgive You ... because this album is a storming return to form.
Welcome back The Fratellis, and bravo.
Single: The Saturdays - Disco Love (Polydor) ***
WE love Saturdays. Not The Saturdays, just Saturdays.
Sundays are pretty good too.
That's not to say we dislike the girl group who, since they broke onto the scene in 2008, have pretty much dominated the British pop scene.
They've released some undoubted pop classics, sprinkled with some not so classic tracks that were as instantly forgettable as My Heart Takes Over was immediately lovable.
Disco Love falls somewhere in between, not quite reaching the heights of their better work but featuring enough of a Katy Perry influence to make it a nailed on hit on both sides of the Atlantic.
It's modern, but has an unmistakable disco feel to it - as the title would suggest.
There's a reference to a DJ playing "hit me baby one more time" in a club, which is a nod to another of the group's influences, one Britney Spears of course.
One can't imagine any stars of the future harping back to Disco Love in 15 years' time, but it'll certainly take over the airwaves and club playlists for the coming weeks at least.
If you like the sound of Cage The Elephant, The Fratellis, and The Saturdays, check out Stef Lach's Spotify playlist for this week - a selection of tracks from similar artists to those featured in this week's reviews.
Like Cage The Elephant? Check out...
She Don't Use Jelly - The Flaming Lips
The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Like The Fratellis? Check out...
You will You Won't - The Zutons
Chicken Payback - The Bees
Like The Saturdays? Check out...
Physical - Olivia Newton John
I Feel Love - Donna Summer