Bryn Christopher , My World, Album, Polydor, September 8 ****
Polydor has played this one very cool. A download-only single and a handful of low-key gigs have been enough to kick start the hype, so there's more resting on this album than usual.
But Bryn doesn't disappoint. My World is a timeless record that nods towards soul tracks of yore. His thick, velvety vocal also recalls Gnarls Barkley's Cee-Lo and Terrence Trent D'Arby, but he steers clear of the retro sound adopted by the recent swarm of girl singer/songwriters.
Here, the 22-year-old Brummie has amassed an EP's worth of classics-in-waiting. His interpretation of Portishead's Sour Times shows his versatility and My Kinda Woman is a beautiful, lyrical love letter.
The Quest is spine-tinglingly raw, but he shows his lighter side with opener Help Me - a foot stomping party starter that would sound at home at both a kid's party and in a swanky bar - no one is safe from his charm.
The fillers pass you by, but even on the more forgettable tracks, his voice hits you full throttle. Super stardom is surely only months away.
Emiliana Torrini, Me and Armini, Album, Rough Trade, September 8 ****
Criminally overlooked Icelandic singer/songwriter Torrini releases her third album - and it might just be enough to push her into the mainstream.
You might not know her name, but chances are you'll know her voice - she provided the breathy, ethereal vocals for Gollom's Song on the Lord of the Rings soundtrack. Me and Armini takes her pixieish, faraway sound, but sees her venturing into new realms - she's far from a one trick pony.
From the twiddly, acoustics of Birds to the gentle reggae beats of Me and Armini, she flits between styles enough to keep your attention, but effortlessly enough to feel completely natural.
Jungle Drum and Big Jumps are radio-friendly singalong tracks that reveal her sassy, feisty side. Think Bjork covering Tori Amos - a quirky but gimmick free delight.
New Kids On The Block
Fifteen years after they shattered hearts across the world by splitting up, the original boyband release a new album ahead of a huge worldwide arena tour.
It's been a thoroughly American affair - unlike their British counter parts Take That, New Kids look handsome and chiseled. Suited and booted, they're a million miles away from the denim dungareed 20 year-olds who were super stars in the late 80s. Which could prove to be their downfall, because while concert tickets will fly out with the promise of a nostalgia fuelled evening, it's hard to pin point who will buy their new music.
Here the boys launch an attempt at more credible RnB pop. The Block is packed with guest appearances from America's new pop royalty - Akon, Pussycat Dolls, Ne-Yo and Timbaland all get a look in - and while its admirable that they've moved on, do we really want to see 40-somethings grinding away to songs like Dirty Dancing and Sexify My Love?
The teeny boppers who bought Hangin' Tough and The Right Stuff aren't going to be racing to the shops, and for the Justin Timberlake generation there's...well, Justin Timberlake.