ANDY ONYX Ignition (Village Green)

Andy Onyx is a British singer-songwriter with a colourful past that fairly leaps off the press release: of mixed Irish, Jamaican and American descent he was banished to a convent as an infant, later becoming a Shukoki karate student who represented Great Britain in Berlin in 1992. "Ignition" is his first album, a low-priced 6-track mini-thing released on his own label. Backed up by a band that includes ex-Young Disciple Marco Nelson (who has also appeared on albums by Primal Scream and Paul Weller) on bass, sitar and harmonica and former Style Council, Dexys Midnight Runners and Merton Parkas keyboardist Mick Talbot, it's hardly surprising to discover that Onyx's music conforms strongly to his own description of "classic 3 minute songs that are both pastoral and psychedelic". Imagine early Traffic singles filtered through present day Paul Weller 'authenticity' and 'roots' and you'll be at least looking at the map the right way round. It's enjoyable, unassuming stuff, he brushes off appealing lyrical images like dandruff and you can forgive the odd 60s steal (try playing snap with the riffs from "Shaky Monday" and Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth") because his music is so obviously crafted and cared-about. If you enjoy Paul Weller, especially circa "Wildwood", and feel that he's bumbled off the boil a bit recently, Andy Onyx is your restorative cup.