Jon Epworth & the Improvements Wet on Wet

Bounding out of the East, Jon Epworth cuts a mean path with this assured disc that has many outstanding moments of rock. The term "rock” is one that is used reticently, as due to its overuse it can now indicate something that is good, yet is clearly not. To wit: "This gun rocks.” Here, the term is a compliment on the part of Epworth and his self-depreciatingly named back-up band. To "rock” is to be moved by the music to jump around, burst into an embarrassing pose and even flail around wildly in pathetic air guitar. To "rock” is to be emboldened by the music, both to do the above and to turn a walk into a strut. If this all sounds unbearably cheesy and clinical, it may be an attempt to make something more out of this music. It is fun, expertly done and inspires hapless joy in its handclaps and choruses, like on "The Body” and even blows the speakers as on the spectacular closer, "Gone.” All of the above seems somewhat needless when this album could be encapsulated in two, albeit cliché, words: it rocks. (Independent)