• ann magnuson (ex-bongwater) Pretty Songs and Ugly Stories (CD, £11.95)

    label: Asphodel

    'Pretty Songs and Ugly Stories' is a swirling confection of agitated pop and psychosexual angst sprinkled with sly humour and hard-won wisdom. The songs tumble out in a luxuriant cornucopia of pop styles. There's the Queen meets Left Banke swoon of "Falling for an Actor", the ethereal twangy guitar waltz of "I Met An Astronaut" and the disturbingly sinister psychedelia of "The Picture on My Dentist's Wall". "Full of F*ck" is snarling and funky, with girl-group-on-belladonna harmonies. The breezy BURT BACHARACH homage "Just A Guy" is complemented by the melancholy music-box lament "Whatever Happened to New York" with guest harmony vocals by RUFUS WAINWRIGHT.

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