This isn't the spot to lay down odds on the third race. OTB is where Others Talk Back and give you the lowdown on what they've been feeling lately. This one's for the customers.

Echo & the Bunnymen –“The Stars, The Oceans & the Moon”  This is in reality a greatest hits album with a string session.   That being said, the funny thing is that it is quite good.   Mr. McCullough is still in fine voice, after almost forty years of fronting the band.  The string section is very subtle and tasteful.  It never really overshadows the song, unlike some bands performing with strings.  The strings are only used when the song absolutely demands them.    The autumnal feel that permeated all their best material is more than present on this album.  There has been a glut of greatest hits with strings released during the past year.  Echo & the Bunnymen is the first band to get the combination of rock and classical music right. - Ted

Joe Strummer – “001”  It seems strange that in the sixteen years since his death, that this is the first collection that takes a look at the music he made outside of the Clash.  The first disc contains tracks from his seventies pub rock band, movie soundtracks and his last band, the Mescaleros.  The track listing for the first disc is thoughtful and illuminating.  And all the prior released tracks are remastered.   The second disc contains twelve never before released tracks that his widow found in a large collection of audio cassettes that Mr. Strummer had squirreled away.  Tracks include demos from the post Mick Jones Clash, songs that never made movie soundtracks and one track recorded with Mick Jones mere years after he was forced to leave the Clash.  Remember, there is no Clash material on this album at all.  Instead the main focus is on the music he made in the sixteen years after the Clash broke up.  And much of that music was just as good as the Clash, but in very different way. - Ted

Cursive – “Vitriola”  This is first Cursive album in six years and the first Cursive with a cello present since 2003.  You would think that with a cello as one of the main instruments that the proceedings would be quiet and sedate.  That thinking is not backed up by the music on the album. This has to be the most intense album that Cursive has released in fifteen years.  Lyrically, the songs detail the shape of the world at present.  Consequently, there is a lot of turmoil on the album.  I have never heard Cursive this excited before.   But the band channels that excitement in a very professional and artistic matter.   And “Vitriola” has to be one of the first Cursive albums in a long time that you can actually tap your foot too. - Ted