JAMES IHA Let It Come Down (Hut)
Ahhh, lovely. The stripey-haired guitarist takes time out from his day job carving Titanic slabs of doomy alternative stadium fodder with the Smashing Pumpkins and whittles up an album of love songs. There are steel guitars, brass and string sections and hammond organs, and the sum is music that sounds like the work of a man in love, and in love with the world, without the patchouli reek of excess that might suggest. Why, his publishing company is even called Orange Butterscotch Music.
Some critics have compared James Iha solo to Gram Parsons, but I wont - hes not that good, and theres precious little evidence of a country sensibility here to support such a comparison. Id describe it as a sweet-toothed version of the last Teenage Fanclub album: tunes such as "Be Strong Now" and "Silver String" are undeniably gorgeous, even to a grizzy ol cynic such as meself, but could be sickly if played too frequently. But in moderation "Let It Come Down" will leave you with a rosy, happy glow, as will too few of the other records released this year.