PARENTHOOD by French lounge lizard Serge Gainsbourg and English actress Jane Birkin; wry lyrics by Jarvis Cocker and The Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon; elegant musical dreamscapes by Air; production by Radiohead regular Nigel Godrich; strings by Beck's dad; even percussion by Brian Eno's pick as "the greatest musician on the planet", Nigerian Tony Allen.

Carlsberg don't do pop music, but if they didit would probably be Charlotte Gainsbourg's 5.55. Actress Charlotte has made 30 films and no albums since her scandalous Lemon Incest debut 20 years ago, and now she takes on another guise, that of a melancholic, sensual muse, as she reflects on beauty, sex, frights and flights of fancy, aboard a luscious bed of French cool and finishing-school English diction.

Not the best album in the world, maybe, but nor is it merely a trendier variation of Paris Hilton's flirtation with vanity-project pop, even if they share a limited, breathy vocal softness.

Thea Gilmore shares nothing with Gainsbourg but a surname beginning with G, and she has no need of a celebrity contact book for bespoke songs, even if Waterboy Mike Scott co-writes a couple and Kathryn Williams sings harmony on Contessa. Harpo's Ghost is her seventh album in eight years, and this prodigious, provocative Anglo-Irish singer-songwriter is still only 26. Where Gainsbourg floats, Thea stings, heavier of heart, her voice cracked, her lyrics spiked, her tunes spooked. Add the New York guitar brio of Eric Roscoe' Ambel and, at last, Thea has rock thrills to counter the old chill.