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Sons of Apollo

Sons of Apollo - MMXX (Album Review)

For fans of music that dwarfs the very notion of epic, there won’t be many better ways to start this decade than by listening to Sons of Apollo’s ‘MMXX’, a subtlety-be-damned feast of high calibre progressive metal that doesn’t skimp on jaw-dropping excess. Having perfected what keyboard player Derek Sherinian referred to as ‘the art of strategic wankery’ on their 2017 debut ‘Psychotic Symphony’, the quintet have produced a very confident and cohesive follow up that’s notable for its ferocious levels of chemistry and exhilarating instrumental chops.

Written by: Simon Ramsay | Date: Friday, 17 January 2020

Poppy

Poppy - I Disagree (Album Review)

​ What the fuck is going on with Poppy? That’s the burning question being asked by those who have stumbled across the campaign for her new album, ‘I Disagree’, which serves as a reboot of her musical persona by switching out tooth-achingly sweet pop for something approaching nü-metal revival.

Written by: Laura Johnson | Date: Thursday, 16 January 2020

Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez - Rare (Album Review)

In our era of braggadocio, unfettered egos and online oversharing, Selena Gomez's third solo album is stripped back, vulnerable and fittingly named ‘Rare’. A little over four years after the release of her previous full length ‘Revival’, a more sophisticated 2.0 version of Gomez steps forward, grown and self-assured. 

Written by: Milly McMahon | Date: Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Field Music

Field Music - Making A New World (Album Review)

Field Music’s seventh studio LP is the Sunderland band’s self-described first ‘legitimate concept album’, which grew out of a project with the Imperial War Museum.

Written by: Jacob Brookman | Date: Monday, 13 January 2020

The Big Moon

The Big Moon - Walking Like We Do (Album Review)

Photo: Pooneh Ghana While it’s not quite in the realm of Dylan going electric, the Big Moon’s decision to pare back the guitars on their second LP is a head-turning one. A few years on from picking up a Mercury Prize nomination for their debut, ‘Love in the 4th Dimension’, the quartet have ditched that record’s hook-heavy, distorted tangle in favour of clean pop lines and glittering synths.

Written by: Huw Baines | Date: Thursday, 09 January 2020

Stormzy

Stormzy - Heavy is the Head (Album Review)

Stormzy’s second studio album is a bigger, more tightly constructed version of his 2017 debut, ‘Gang Signs and Prayer’, and it finds the south London grime artist in confident, expansive and familiarly political mood. 

Written by: Jacob Brookman | Date: Friday, 20 December 2019

Harry Styles

Harry Styles - Fine Line (Album Review)

That Harry Styles chose genteel pop-rock as his mode of solo expression remains an intriguing, surprising turn of events. After the mannered, occasionally beige, opening statement made by his self-titled debut back in 2017, ‘Fine Line’ is tasked with adding depth and nuance beyond his expressive voice and devilish good looks.

Written by: Huw Baines | Date: Thursday, 19 December 2019

Stone Sour

Stone Sour - Hello, You Bastards (Album Review)

Although the average metal fan won’t exactly be in thrall to ‘90s romcom Jerry Maguire, it does contain a quote that’s pertinent here. At the conclusion of his passionately protracted monologue, Renee Zellweger famously tells Tom Cruise “you had me at hello.” Speaking with similar heart about this live offering, Stone Sour guitarist Josh Rand proclaimed, “We're extremely proud of the fact it's 100% live with absolutely no overdubs!”, before needlessly unveiling plenty of details about the release. Josh, you had us at ‘100% live.’

Written by: Simon Ramsay | Date: Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Camila Cabello

Camila Cabello - Romance (Album Review)

Channelling the late ‘90s pop flair that established Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, Camila Cabello has unleashed what appears on the surface to be a high-octane second LP in ‘Romance’. From the first play, the level of financial investment and industry hopes attached to this project feel tangible.

Written by: Milly McMahon | Date: Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Liam Payne

Liam Payne - LP1 (Album Review)

Liam Payne's graduation from One Direction member to solo star was engineered to feel like a sexy and confident hip hop evolution, twisted up with Justin Timberlake-esque cool. Alongside bringing a sense of maturity to the boy band icon’s attitude and music choices, smouldering portraits of the 26-year-old filtered through to the covers of glossy magazines everywhere.

Written by: Milly McMahon | Date: Friday, 13 December 2019

Cattle Decapitation

Cattle Decapitation - Death Atlas (Album Review)

Greta Thunberg. Extinction Rebellion. The Keystone Pipeline. Flint, Michigan. Fire. The Arctic circle is on fire. The Amazon is on fire. American celebrities’ homes are on fire. Perhaps that sounds like a woke, snowflake, beta cuck rendition of a Billy Joel classic, but it sets the scene for Cattle Decapitation’s seventh (or eighth, or ninth, depending on whom you ask) album, ‘Death Atlas’. The earth we live on is a melting carcass, and unfortunately that lends itself rather nicely to death metal.

Written by: Alec Chillingworth | Date: Tuesday, 03 December 2019

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen - Thanks For The Dance (Album Review)

The slow, melancholic waltz of Leonard Cohen's posthumous album 'Thanks For The Dance' enraptures with stunning intensity. Compiled by his son, Adam, from material spanning the last months of the master singer-songwriter's life, the collection captures his voice with a fragile but profound resonance.

Written by: Milly McMahon | Date: Monday, 02 December 2019

Beck

Beck - Hyperspace (Album Review)

Photo: Citizen Kane Wayne Beck’s 14th studio record follows hot on the heels of his 2017 offering, ‘Colors’, and in many ways acts as a musical response. Where that record was a raucous and bouncy romp through beats and synth riffs, ‘Hyperspace’ is more gloomy, with introspection accompanying retro chill-wave and washy dream pop...plus a lot of the same synths.

Written by: Jacob Brookman | Date: Friday, 29 November 2019

Lindemann

Lindemann - F&M (Album Review)

Photo: © Jens Koch The concept of Lindemann should really be artistically bankrupt. Peter Tägtgren, extreme music legend and frontman of industrial metal band PAIN, essentially trots out albums’ worth of said band’s material under a different name. But with one intriguing caveat: he must grant Till Lindemann, singer of Rammstein, license to play perverted poet as payment for his name and idiosyncratic timbre.

Written by: Alec Chillingworth | Date: Thursday, 28 November 2019

Girl Ray

Girl Ray - Girl (Album Review)

Photo: Laura McCluskey Album two from Girl Ray appears on the surface to be a stylistic about face, with the earnest indie-pop jangle of their 2017 debut ‘Earl Grey’ replaced by glimmering synths and pin-sharp g-funk leads. But the truth is a little less complicated, and less sensational, than that.

Written by: Huw Baines | Date: Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Coldplay

Coldplay - Everyday Life (Album Review)

Coldplay’s first record in four years is a double LP, allowing these British world-beaters to experiment more with instrumentals, ditties and their signature attempts at stadium bangers. The result is an occasionally fantastic album that wears its earnestness as brazenly as ever, and which even dabbles directly in politics with mixed results.

Written by: Jacob Brookman | Date: Tuesday, 26 November 2019

DJ Shadow

DJ Shadow - Our Pathetic Age (Album Review)

Photo: Derick Daily DJ Shadow’s sixth LP is a double album, split between alternative trip hop instrumentals on the first disc and collab-laden crowd-pleasers on the second. It is a record of innovation and guile that ranks among his most accomplished work to date.

Written by: Jacob Brookman | Date: Friday, 22 November 2019

Clams Casino

Clams Casino - Moon Trip Radio (Album Review)

A calming presence settles in alongside the listener with the first play of Clams Casino’s second full-length album ‘Moon Trip Radio’. Notoriously low key, the producer (real name Michael Volpe) has always preferred to exist just out of shot as his instrumentals help to foreground some of east coast rap’s brightest lights.

Written by: Milly McMahon | Date: Thursday, 21 November 2019

Cold War Kids

Cold War Kids - New Age Norms 1 (Album Review)

With the economics of the music industry in a prolonged state of flux, bands have found new ways to get by. Cold War Kids, who burst onto the American indie scene with ‘Robbers and Cowards’ in 2006, have decided to release three short albums instead of one full LP. ‘New Age Norms 1’ is the first in that series and to longtime fans the results will be pleasing. 

Written by: Jacob Brookman | Date: Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Kele Okereke

Kele - 2042 (Album Review)

Photo: Asia Werbel In another life, Kele Okereke might be one of Britain’s most interesting singer-songwriters. Alongside his work with the indie band Bloc Party, he has found time to write three very personal solo albums that cover hugely diverse genres through a distinctively candid and humorous voice, alongside a musical on marriage equality and immigration called ‘Leave to Remain’.

Written by: Jacob Brookman | Date: Tuesday, 19 November 2019

 
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