Music: Up to Snuff by Ivan St John * * *
Formerly known as Pinkie, this Dublin-based singer-songwriter has delivered a sweet little album likely to raise a smile or two. He may not boast the lyrical finesse of Neil Hannon, but he's got a Divine Comedy-like eye for humour, whether it's a cheeky chap hoping to cop a feel of a would-be conquest (Jack the Lad) or the caustic appraisal of an "over the hill lady" whose "husband's money always went to good use" (Senectitude Becomes Her).
There's a jazz-light sensibility to some of the songs and a vaudevillian feel to several others. It's this very sense of theatricality that's likely to attract or repel.
In places, the songs would have been better served had more musicians been involved -- the live feel sometimes wears a little thin. Still, if you're looking for a domestic album with oodles of charm, you won't go far wrong with this.
Burn it: This is How We Play; Jack the Lad