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ROCK
Fleetwood Mac
Rumours (remastered)
(Warner)

★★★★

APPROACHING the 35-year-old Rumours fresh is nigh on impossible unless you have grown up in a yurt outside Ulan Bator. Even then, I bet Stevie Nicks' voice has probably wafted across the steppes, singing, ''But listen carefully to the sound of your loneliness/Like a heartbeat, drives you mad,'' and many a discussion has been had over horse milk on the question of whether Lindsey Buckingham was out of line with his crack about ''packing up, shacking up is all you want to do''.

Famously or infamously, this 1977 mega-seller is both the clinching argument for the truism that if you start a relationship with a band member, make sure it's not one who can write a song about you; and the quintessential mid-'70s pop of indulgent Los Angeles. Since we all know Rumours' songs and backstory, we all come prejudiced to the remastered edition, now variously packaged with B-sides, rarities, a live disc, vinyl and a documentary. Still, you could start by looking at the album through something other than the prism of the Nicks-Buckingham songs, and give more attention to the subtle playing of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, but especially to the songs of the quiet, not bitter one, Christine McVie. While Buckingham's Second Hand News kicks off the album with a buoyant rhythm and a little randiness, McVie's You Make Loving Fun has an equally sensual subtext, a compulsive little groove and energy breaking out of pillow-soft harmonies via a cracking Buckingham guitar line. If Buckingham's blue-sky Go Your Own Way feels like an encapsulation of driving a long road in the '70s, then McVie's Don't Stop seems tailor-made for a strut in flares, wide lapels and a lot of hair. And as sadly resigned and yet lushly appealing as Nicks' Dreams is, there's nothing on Rumours near as quietly beautiful and happily melancholic as McVie's Songbird.

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Those already sold on the album might wonder if the extras are worth it. Although it has some decent crunch at times, not much is to be gained from the live disc. Fans can find more rewards in the rarities-demo material. The eerie, foreboding demo of The Chain suggests it could have been a completely different song; likewise, an early version of Silver Springs is lower, less optimistic and intriguing.

For those who doubted at the time, Nicks' compelling and stark Planets of the Universe - a demo not released until 2004 - will convince you there was a lot more than scarves and witchy stuff going on there.

BERNARD ZUEL


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ROOTS
Jess Klein
Behind a Veil
(Motherlode Records/
jessklein.com)
★★★☆

AS GOOD a writer as she is, Jess Klein's most obvious, or at least most immediately recognisable, strength is her voice. There's something of the church in its firm lower reaches; there's a goodly slice of back-porch traditions in its sad but resolute middle; and in the upper tones you can hear the brook-no-argument sharpness of something more modern. It's an instrument that has enabled her to morph from the swinging-with-freedom singer of the first album most Australians heard, 2004's Rachel Sweet-like pop gem Strawberry Lover, to the rootsier, Lucinda Williams-leaning Bound to Love in 2009. That last album, temperamentally as much as musically, marked her permanent shift from the American east coast to Austin, Texas.

This new album (that, with no Australian distributor means we have to buy online) springs from a year of personal upheaval and sadness, but also solidifies the hold of her new home. As she begins to ''reclaim my own head room'', Klein wends her way through territory that seems as much a part of Austin as Tex-Mex cuisine. There's rich country soul in Wilson Street Serenade and ringing '70s pop in Tell Me This Is Love and Unwritten Song; there's big-sky country rock in Lovers and Friends and quiet atmosphere in Beautiful Child; and there's relaxed southern balladry in Simple Love and sharp-featured pop-rock in the title track that nods to the Stones.

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At all times, in any form, Klein's voice is a worn-in (but never worn) instrument of such appealing warmth that when she takes on a slow-burner in A Room of Your Own, it is dangerously easy to let yourself slide down and stay inside. It wouldn't hurt to linger, though.

BERNARD ZUEL


JAZZ
Menagerie
They Shall Inherit
(Tru-Thoughts/Fuse)

★★★★

INSPIRATIONS for this LP may well be the mid-'70s output of labels such as Black Jazz and Impulse!, and the exploratory recordings of John Coltrane and Pharaoh Sanders, yet along with its cover image, title and promotional accoutrements citing spiritual-jazz, some might worry it will fly far into cosmic territories.

Fear not. There's no ''difficult listening'' here, even if the 12-minute introductory title track begins with spectral, ancestral vocal chants. They set up a cycle in which pregnant pauses threaten a freak-out that never arrives. Phillip Noy's heavenly saxophone does get busy, briefly squawking and squealing, needling the listener into a corner with convincing nonlinear arguments, but he politely lets trumpeter Eamon McNelis, a more equable but equally convincing soloist, take up the thread.

Menagerie is largely the work of Melbourne's Lance Ferguson, whose combo the Bamboos has little in common with this new group, save a couple of members and a fondness for funk. Menagerie's funk isn't the crude, sweaty dance-floor type, though. Its funk finds form in the sort of sinewy riff driving The Chosen, in which upright bass and organ are fused at the hip.

It's funk, too, driving the African horns and rhythms of standout The Quietening. Here, vocalist Fallon Williams recalls Anthony Joseph's Spasm Band, sermonising his doomsday visions like a prophet obsessed by the Book of Revelation. Earlier, jazz-funk gets a sunny workout with a vibes solo by Roy Ayers; Ferguson responds with his own Benson-esque guitar solo.

PARIS POMPOR


ALBANIAN
Elina Duna Quartet
Matane Malit
(ECM)

★★★★

LISTENING to someone sing in a foreign language is among the great joys of music. Perhaps it is because I am rubbish at catching the words as they tumble past when sung that I almost find myself more easily swept away by their sound than their meaning. Besides, much meaning may be gleaned from the way a vowel floats or is snipped by a consonant; by the tone and intensity of a voice; by the marriage between vocal sound and melody line.

Europe is alive with such great singers as Spain's Diego El Cigala, Portugal's Mariza and Dulce Pontes and Greece's Savina Yannatou. Now Albania's Elina Duni joins the club with a program centred on traditional songs, plus some she has co-penned. You do not need to read the lyrics' translations to pick up the ineffable sadness in most of the songs. But Duni's voice glides across each line so lightly that the sadness is somehow made greater by not being emphasised.

Like a widow's veil, she mutes the rawness of the grief contained in the songs. Perfectly supporting this approach are three Swiss jazz musicians (Switzerland now being Duni's home): Colin Vallon (piano), Patrice Moret (double bass) and Norbert Pfammatter (drums). While they create improvising opportunities, they ensure they shine a soft light on the poetry.

JOHN SHAND