(Everday Life/Rocket Girl)
KEVIN O'DONNELL, helmsman of this ludicrously named London outfit, is no stereophonic newcomer. Originally from Falkirk, he began life in shambolic early 1990s rockers The Cyanide Dolls, whose other members sired the likes of Arab Strap and Sons And Daughters. O'Donnell's more obscure enterprises most recently included the acclaimed The Be Be See. Now in tow with the rhythm section of Paris-hailing Underground Railroad and using the surname Retoryka, his long apprenticeship hasn't been in vain. The Highs And Lows Of... is plenty of the former and very little of the latter. Think frenetic cosmic rock with art-school conditioning, indebted to everyone from Stereolab to Roxy to The Velvets to the, er, better bits of Britpop. What really sets it apart is the production, which melds unashamedly high fidelity with such full-blooded live wallop that your coffee table had better be fit for dancing on. Best of all might be former single Snowballs, where La's swagger meets Stranglers muscle before erupting into a chorus so sugar-coated it could almost be ELO.