(out February 7)

SO THE inevitable follow-up to the massive blockbuster Ocean's Eleven is almost upon us, carting with it another attempt at a piece of musical artwork in the form of the soundtrack album.

Whereas the original collection glittered like a haul of diamonds in large, Ocean's Twelve only twinkles in parts as the string and drum-littered tracks give the impression Belfast DJ David Homes - at the helm again - is trying just that little bit too hard to maintain hip status.

Nevertheless, there are still some prize jewels here like the mellow Italian-sung song L'Appuntamento and the kitsch of Ascension to Virginity by the Grusin Orchestra (whose commendable contribution to the LP is this "la la la" laden track) and the hazy Pink Floyd-esque Explosive Corrosive Joseph by John Schroeder.


(out January 31)

THEY say don't judge a book by its cover so I guess the same must work with CDs. Thus, ignoring the picture on the front which screamed dire but cute girl band I gave it a listen.. only to find my preconceptions rang true.

The threesome have taken what is essentially a classic Phil Spector song and trampled all over it in their high heels with their vomit-inducing 'funked-up' version.

As if you weren't sucker enough for punishment, there's also two equally appalling mixes.

Expect them to slap out a few more questionable singles, break up, marry footballers/actors and re-form for a cash-grabbing reunion tour. Can't wait for it already.

Let this be a lesson to those who don't judge books by their glossy covers.


(out February 7)

IN another musical life they used to be the dance act Sub Sub - their most notable track being Ain't No Love (Ain't No Use) with Melanie Williams in April 1993 - and then they went all indie on us, discovering guitars and conjuring up two spellbinding albums of grandiose stadium rock Lost Souls and The Last Broadcast.

History lesson over, they're now back attempting to continue their success story with this, their latest single.

An opening plodding drumbeat is soon accompanied by an upbeat, energetic piano tune and the occasional funky guitar riff, like a train running reliably through a cityscape.

On the basis of this it will be interesting to see how the forthcoming album Some Cities pans out.


(both out now)

IT'S been four years since Andy Bell and Vince Clarke's last studio album and latest single Breathe, from their new album Nightbird, could almost be an Abba track for the 90s (not surprising since their only number one has been with June 1992's Abba-esque EP.)

Breathe has trademark Erasure electro-beats and a catchy soaring chorus - the thing is it's bound to slide into obscurity before too long as there's little substance and much of the album sounds like their previous tunes.

This just proves they really are a poor man's Depeche Mode.