Maybe Guillemots are just too odd for widespread acceptance. If Trains To Brazil can only peak at 36 then maybe the gap between the position at the top table many a critic perceived would naturally be theirs and the reaction of your average Snow Patrol latecomer on seeing a band with a kaftan-clad drummer, double bassist, guitar played with a drill attachment and at the centre a ball of bespoke suited energy and flyaway hair may never be breached. Annie, Let's Not Wait has been reworked from the album into something approaching leftfield soul revue, and if that doesn't work, well, at least the rest of us are being moved by it. Joan As Police Woman supported them on their breakthrough tour, and she slings out The Ride on limited edition seemingly in connection with nothing other than reminding people that they missed a quiet gem of an album in the end of year lists. Two quiet gems that we suspect people will forget about when 2007's retrospectives are written are meanwhile being flagged up in advance, one heard by us, one not for a while yet: Field Music's Tones Of Town we've praised to high heaven before and will again in a couple of weeks, but A House Is Not A Home, relocating a Beethoven piano figure to the sort of classically pastoral layered offbeat nowhere-but-England pop Brewis, Brewis and Moore probably deliver in their sleep. Similarly the heartbroken/heartbreaking retro charm written by Andrew Laidlaw, sung by Ali Howard and played by Laidlaw and four other people in the name of Lucky Soul, whose influences list on Myspace pointedly includes "nothing with the words 'chill out' in it". Third single Ain't Never Been Cool does it again, coming up slowly to sweep you off your feet from behind in a sweep of strings and what can, and we do apologise in advance for this, only be labelled indie-soul. We must say, we're admiring this run over the last year or so of bands who can trace lineage to St Etienne.
The album market is still trying to rouse itself for the year's longeurs ahead, so Frank Turner's getting in ahead of most of the pack with Sleep Is For The Week. The hard gigging ex-Million Dead frontman's wordy acoustic alt-folk protest songs and often ire-filled social and emotional commentary deserves far better than the inevitable clueless journos labelling him merely as "an antidote to James Blunt". Alec Empire is an antidote to James Blunt, but that doesn't make him any more listenable. In compilation news we have the latest of Andy Votel's trips into the obscure and necessarily weird. What's happened to Votel and Damon Gough's Twisted Nerve Records now Badly Drawn Boy has switched labels from the one that bought a part-share in them, by the way? Has it folded? A right bugger if it has, we say. And while we think about it, what became of Dave Tyack of their Dakota Oak Trio, who was reported missing a few years ago? Anyway, Folk Is Not a Four Letter Word Vol. 2 is a second dip into little known (bar Pentangle and Alexis Korner) acid hippy fusion folk-pop-rock-things.