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Imelda May

Imelda May - 11 Past The Hour (Album Review)

On a mission to preach the gospel of love in all its complex iterations, Imelda May’s latest effort is a sultry, romantic, mature album that ranks as the former rockabilly star’s most accessible to date. But although very potent on a song-by-song basis, these eclectic compositions don’t blend together with any kind of overarching cohesiveness, with their impact undercut as a consequence of stylistic whiplash.

Written by: Simon Ramsay | Date: Wednesday, 21 April 2021

London Grammar

London Grammar - Californian Soil (Album Review)

Since the release of their double platinum debut ‘If You Wait’ in 2013, London Grammar have impressively managed to maintain a foothold in the mainstream of British pop while retaining nuances that are so identifiably theirs—Hannah Reid’s evocative contralto being their main USP.

Written by: Alex Myles | Date: Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Glasvegas

Glasvegas - Godspeed (Album Review)

Taking some seven years to complete, Glasvegas’s fourth album is the first where frontman James Allan has taken control of just about everything. From the songwriting to the recording, producing, mixing, he’s done it all, having spent the years since the release of ‘Later…When the TV Turns to Static’ learning the ropes as he went along.

Written by: Graeme Marsh | Date: Monday, 19 April 2021

The Armed

The Armed - ULTRAPOP (Album Review)

Photo: Trevor Naud Bands often utilise anonymity as a gimmick. It’s passé, pretentious and really quite irritating. Well, it is when most bands do it. On their last record ‘Only Love’, The Armed hid themselves—identities, band dynamics—and their love of pop culture behind such dense layers of distortion that their bubblegum sensibilities were overwhelmed by filth.

Written by: Sam Sleight | Date: Friday, 16 April 2021

Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato - Dancing With the Devil…The Art of Starting Over (Album Review)

Demi Lovato opens ‘Dancing With the Devil…The Art of Starting Over’ with the ballad Anyone, the most arresting and affecting song of her career. Performed at the Grammys as part of the singer’s comeback, she was choked up and overcome by emotion after her hiatus from the music industry following a near-deadly drug overdose.

Written by: Milly McMahon | Date: Thursday, 15 April 2021

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift - Fearless (Taylor's Version) (Album Review)

Classic albums are often born when a variety of unique factors such as time, place, collaborative chemistry and the artist’s mental and emotional state all conspire to conjure a creative storm. As such, any time musicians have attempted to re-record hallowed work further down the road, that same spark is usually absent. But if anyone can defy the odds and capture lightning in a bottle twice, it’s undoubtedly someone as driven, determined and, in this case, defiant as Taylor Swift.

Written by: Simon Ramsay | Date: Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Brockhampton

Brockhampton - Roadrunner: New Light, New Machine (Album Review)

Photo: Conor Cunningham Texan hip hop boy band-collective Brockhampton are (apparently) calling it a day. After 10 years and several personnel changes the 13(ish)-strong outfit are releasing two final albums and then going in their separate directions. ‘Roadrunner: New Light, New Machine’ is the first of this closing diptych, and suggests that the creative force of a group that met via online forums may have waned.

Written by: Jacob Brookman | Date: Monday, 12 April 2021

The Snuts

The Snuts - W.L. (Album Review)

The Snuts have been garnering quite the reputation over the past few years thanks to some highly regarded live shows. The release of the West Lothian group’s debut EP ‘Mixtape’ did nothing but cement their potential in a glorious manner, serving up an excellent insight into a band seen in many quarters as the next big indie thing.

Written by: Graeme Marsh | Date: Friday, 09 April 2021

Godspeed You Black Emperor

Godspeed You! Black Emperor - G_d's Pee at State's End! (Album Review)

Photo: Yannick Grandmont There is a particular brand of liberal cynicism that is consistently targeted by the political right. You know it when you see it: a kind of tired defeatism that ‘lifts its skinny fists’ (to borrow a Godspeedism) against Western hegemony and governmental hypocrisy with what seems like a lack of perspective. Easy pickings for the culture warriors.

Written by: Jacob Brookman | Date: Thursday, 08 April 2021

The Antlers

The Antlers - Green to Gold (Album Review)

Photo: Shervin Lainez Best known for their cataclysmically emotive concept music, The Antlers have found room to breathe in a different mode on ‘Green to Gold’. Waiting seven years to release the follow up to ‘Familiars’, their mood today feels like a healing wave of relief experienced after a deep trauma.

Written by: Milly McMahon | Date: Wednesday, 07 April 2021

Ben Howard

Ben Howard - Collections From the Whiteout (Album Review)

‘Collections From the Whiteout’, the fourth album from Ben Howard, represents the first time he’s taken a leap of faith with an outside producer. Aaron Dessner, of the National and recent headline-grabbing work with Taylor Swift, is the man given full access, bringing a fresh perspective that results in an album unlike any of Howard’s other work.

Written by: Graeme Marsh | Date: Tuesday, 06 April 2021

tUnE yArDs

Tune-Yards - Sketchy. (Album Review)

There is always a lot to unpack whenever Tune-Yards are concerned. Lead singer and songwriter Merrill Garbus makes no bones about her agitator status—she never shies away from large, complex socio-political themes, instead diving head-first into them. That’s no different in the indie-pop outfit’s fifth album, ‘Sketchy.’.

Written by: Alex Myles | Date: Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Vic Mensa

Vic Mensa - I Tape (Album Review)

For Vic Mensa’s latest release, the rapper and activist has pulled together an eclectic group of sounds and collaborators on a seven track EP that demonstrates the Chicago wordsmith’s breadth of talent. ‘I Tape’ is an occasionally fantastic turn from a musician who has hovered on the edge of mainstream success since being signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation stable in 2015.

Written by: Jacob Brookman | Date: Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Death From Above 1979

Death From Above 1979 - Is 4 Lovers (Album Review)

Photo: Norman Wong “Death from Above has never sounded more assuredly like itself than it does on ‘Is 4 Lovers’.” That’s the party line from the press materials that accompany the noise-punk rabble’s fourth album. It may sound like clunky salesmanship (because it is), but there’s no denying its accuracy.

Written by: Matt Mills | Date: Friday, 26 March 2021

Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey - Chemtrails Over the Country Club (Album Review)

Whispered and intimate, Lana Del Rey’s fragile croon is full of magical recollection as it threatens to crack with joy over a delicate piano line. When the revelatory White Dress ends, some trademark melancholy creeps in as she wonders if she was better off in her carefree, pre-fame days. At this point something becomes crystal clear: we’re not listening to Lana Del Rey. We're in the presence of Lizzy Grant.

Written by: Simon Ramsay | Date: Thursday, 25 March 2021

Black Honey

Black Honey - Written & Directed (Album Review)

Style over substance has become such an easy catch-all complaint that the actual fight between style and substance—the engine that has powered almost every great pop song ever—often isn’t  scored properly. Was it a first round knock out? A win on points? A split decision? Black Honey’s ‘Written & Directed’ is a bloody draw.

Written by: Huw Baines | Date: Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber - Justice (Album Review)

Justin Bieber has shapeshifted so often throughout his career that each album he releases can feel like a critique of the artist he was before. On ‘Justice’, the rapid follow up to last year’s ‘Changes’, this fracturing effect feels confusing and self-involved.

Written by: Milly McMahon | Date: Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Nick Jonas

Nick Jonas - Spaceman (Album Review)

Photo: Anthony Mandler Great pop records aren’t simply conjured from thin air, they are engineered from the ground up. To preside over one isn’t only to write a brilliant batch of personality-filled songs, but also a recruitment exercise and a rigorous test of an artists’ understanding of prevailing trends and their future longevity. Get any element wrong and you could potentially appear to be behind the curve, lacking in sharp enough hooks or the right production swatches.

Written by: Huw Baines | Date: Friday, 19 March 2021

Zara Larsson

Zara Larsson - Poster Girl (Album Review)

Waiting four years to follow up ‘So Good’, Zara Larsson stepped back from the music to explore who she is now and establish the woman she wants to become. ‘Poster Girl’ is the result—an addictive confection that reaches for the highest rungs on the pop ladder.

Written by: Milly McMahon | Date: Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Arab Strap

Arab Strap - As Days Get Dark (Album Review)

Photo: Kat Gollock “It’s about hopelessness and darkness. But in a fun way,” Aidan Moffat, frontman of the returning Arab Strap, said in press materials accompanying the stunning ‘As Days Get Dark’. He’s almost right.

Written by: Sam Sleight | Date: Tuesday, 16 March 2021

 
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