ADRIAN THRILLS: Two old rockers and a dreamy summer sound

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TIM FINN AND PHIL MANZANERA: The Ghost of Santiago (Expression)

Evaluation:

Verdict: haunting Latin melodies

MAGGIE ROGERS: Surrender (Polydor)

Evaluation:

Verdict: The indie-pop poster girl is getting tough

The prospect of two art-rock veterans making a new album together conjures up images of seasoned pros reliving past glories with “reimagined” versions of old hits and celebrity cameos from famous bandmates.

Nothing wrong with that, of course, although many would probably describe the show as manly, pale and stale.

The Ghost Of Santiago, the latest offering from former Crowded House member Tim Finn and Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera, is something different.

Conceived in confinement and recorded remotely in two home studios 12,000 miles apart, it’s a bold pooling of resources that spans a range of styles and lives entirely in the moment.

The Ghost Of Santiago, the latest offering from former Crowded House member Tim Finn and Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera, is something different.

The Ghost Of Santiago, the latest offering from former Crowded House member Tim Finn and Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera, is something different.

New Zealander Finn, 70, was in his younger brother Neil’s band in the early 1990s, staying there long enough to co-write hits Weather With You and It’s Only Natural. Manzanera, 71, has been with Roxy Music since 1972 and is set to join Bryan Ferry, Andy Mackay and Paul Thompson for the band’s 50th anniversary tour in September.

Finn and Manzanera also have their own long-standing creative connection. They first met in Sydney in 1975, when Roxy was on her first Australian tour, and have stayed in touch ever since.

Manzanera produced a record for Finn’s first band, Split Enz. Tim has been on a few Phil albums. They teamed up again last summer for another collaborative album, Caught By The Heart.

The ten tracks here follow from this. A combination of chamber music and lush Latin pop – and perfect for languorous summer evenings – it’s quirky, eclectic and not a million miles from the kind of stuff Damon Albarn would cook up in Gorillaz.

The opening tracks are the least surprising. Space Cannibal mixes Manzanera’s shifting guitar with electronic sounds. Those expecting a return to the piercing riffs he once churned out on Roxy Music songs such as 1973’s Amazona should plug their ears. His playing is elegant and understated, but no less compelling for that.

Tim Finn (pictured) and Manzanera also have their own long-standing creative connection.  They first met in Sydney in 1975, when Roxy was on her first Australian tour, and have stayed in touch ever since.

Tim Finn (pictured) and Manzanera also have their own long-standing creative connection. They first met in Sydney in 1975, when Roxy was on her first Australian tour, and have stayed in touch ever since.

Our Love is a deft blend of Roxy’s dying veneer (think 1982’s Avalon) and Finn’s sumptuous melodies, but the surprising Latin twists start to come from there.

The title track is Finn’s way of exploring Chile, a country he’s never visited in person, through smoky vocals, strummed guitars and accordion.

“Dreams will thrive as long as human love survives,” he whispers. Manzanera’s Latin references are more authentic. Born in London to a British father and a Colombian mother, he spent his childhood in the Americas and acquired his first guitar in Havana.

Helped by former Stereophonics drummer Javier Weyler (born in Buenos Aires), he sounds at home on the brassy and hard-hitting pop of Llanto. But the most striking contributions come from London-based fado singer Sonia Bernardo, who adds jazzy touches as she duets with Finn on three songs, before the album swings back to pop for a three-song finale that includes the bucolic Falling Asleep.

Kaleidoscopic without being a scattergun, The Ghost Of Santiago ties together some contrasting strands extremely well: they should consider taking it on tour.

Maryland singer Maggie Rogers made a huge impact when she released her first major album, Heard It In A Past Life, in 2019.

Maryland singer Maggie Rogers made a huge impact when she released her first major album, Heard It In A Past Life, in 2019

Maryland singer Maggie Rogers made a huge impact when she released her first major album, Heard It In A Past Life, in 2019

She was praised by Lorde – who called her work a “feather-light punch to the heart” – and championed by R&B kingpin Pharrell Williams, who discovered her while a student in New York and compared his individual style to that of rappers the Wu-Tang Clan.

Heard It In A Past Life reached No. 2 on the US charts, reached the UK Top 30, and established Rogers as America’s answer to Norwegian dance-pop sensation Sigrid.

Her breakthrough single Alaska, a folksong that left Pharrell speechless, captured her as an Earth child, singing of icy streams as she hopped through the woods.

Her flowing locks now trimmed in a pixie cut, she hardened her act on the second album Surrender. Working with British musician Kid Harpoon, producer of choice for Harry Styles, she retained her introspective streak, but the bare bones and vulnerability now arrive with the rough guitars blasted out.

Like many artists who wrote in lockdown, Rogers, 28, had amassed a lot of material by the time the world started to open up again. After moving to a beach house by the Atlantic, she composed 100 songs before whittling them down to 12.

She’s also managed to get a master’s degree in pop culture ethics from Harvard University — but avoids anything too scholarly about Surrender. The album opens in an emphatic style.

Overdrive is a big-screen indie-rock number about a tempting but tangled relationship. “I don’t want to do it again if you’re gonna break my heart,” she sings.

A partner’s past life comes back to haunt her on That’s Where I Am (“Thinking of her, the woman you dated / Couldn’t understand her glitter and furs”), before she turns her attention towards sensual desire on the super catchy Want Want.

Beyond that, there are dreams of post-lockdown escape on Anywhere With You, a road anthem thrown between Springsteen and Arcade Fire; and guest appearances by Florence Welch and Mumford & Sons keyboardist Ben Lovett on the boisterous Shatter.

After such a boisterous move away from the folk-tinged songs of yore, it’s no surprise that Surrender is finally running out of steam. Symphony, all buzzing electronics, fails to achieve its goal.

The I’ve Got A Friend acoustic showcases Rogers’ storytelling talent, but lacks the directness and power of the album’s earlier tracks.

Aware that she is sometimes guilty of overthinking, she checks herself on the Be Cool whipsmart.

“Maybe for just one night we could listen to Britney,” she suggests. She’s at her best when she lets loose.

Both albums are out today. Maggie Rogers begins a tour on October 31 at the O2 Academy in Leeds (gigsandtours.com).

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