Alfie If You Happy With You Need Do Nothing

Manchester's Alfie used to back up Badly Drawn Boy when he gigged around Europe before reaching mega-stardom. Now with their debut album, comprised of their three EPs and two new recordings, Alfie is set for some success of their own. Although the quintet's music is not as commercially marketable as BDB, they sure have the talent and skill to draw in a secure fan base. If You Happy With You Need Do Nothing showcases the band's knack for writing sincere and poppy folk songs. Highlighted by the drooping cello of Matt McGeever, "It's Just About the Weather" is a prime example of their songwriting skills. It's a lazy, drawn out tune that builds up with a chorus only to fall back down to its slow-paced verses. Alfie tend to sway back and forth within their compositions, using drone guitars on "Umlaut," Charlatans-style pop on "You Make No Bones" and mixing beautiful acoustics with electronic gadgetry on "Montevideo." The natural beauty of this album makes it a strong contender for the indoor summer record of the year. (Twisted Nerve)