Cerys Matthews Never Said Goodbye (Rough Trade) Thankfully, this second solo album since Brit pop-rock band Catatonia split up is far from the American pastiche that Cerys Matthews, its lead singer, gave us with her dull debut Cockahoop. Although the latter reflected her move to Nashville with wishy-washy country ballads, Never Said Goodbye nods back to the old Matthews rock ethic, with interwoven psychedelic and even ethereal qualities. Songs such as Blue Light Alarm showcase Matthews' great vocal range, from husky siren to gritty don't-give-me-no-nonsense rock chick. This slightly spaced-out track will have Catatonia fans begging that the guitars and drums come crashing in but, as on most tracks, they hardly ever do. Rare exceptions include opener Streets of New York, which, while lacking the oomph of Road Rage-era Catatonia, is more sensitively crafted musically and has lyrics that actually mean something - someone being simultaneously overwhelmed both by the city and relationship woes. Oxygen is the biggest belter, in which Matthews lets rip in this slow-building angsty bar room-type lament. Catchy but all-too-short Morning Sunshine was co-written with Super Furry Animals' Gruff Rhys, as was lullaby-like closer Elen, on which he appears, with its Welsh lyrics a bit alienating to the average listener. Inexplicably, Open Roads - a fair album track but lacking the impacts of several others, is now out as the Never's first single. This seems to herald a credible and listenable Matthews solo era, after the previous false start.