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Sylvan Esso

Sylvan Esso - Free Love (Album Review)

Photo: Matthew Tyler Priestley The essence of Sylvan Esso’s music is found in a sense of unity. It’s a theme explored with regularity and intensity on the shapeshifting, utterly mesmerising ‘Free Love’, having already underpinned their live album and accompanying concert film ‘WITH’, a project born from the heady emotions shared with their live band on tour in 2019.

Written by: Sophie Williams | Date: Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens - The Ascension (Album Review)

Sufjan Stevens has lost faith in America. This turn of events is all the more profound when you consider the previous work of the singer-songwriter, who painted postcard pictures of his native land with the lo-fi folk of ‘Michigan’ and the opulent concept album ‘Illinois’, the first entries into a supposed ‘50 states project’ that actually turned out to be promotional garble.

Written by: Alex Myles | Date: Monday, 28 September 2020

Deftones

Deftones - Ohms (Album Review)

Photo: Tamar Levine When they released their eighth album, ‘Gore’, in 2016, alt-metal heroes Deftones once again reaped critical acclaim but split their fanbase down the middle. After forging a career by mixing crunchy metal riffs with ethereal shoegaze melodies, the Californian put their name to a more ambient dream-rock disc. They’d swapped exciting bite for a more unilateral emphasis on beauty—a result of guitarist Stephen Carpenter being disengaged during the songwriting process.

Written by: Matt Mills | Date: Friday, 25 September 2020

Fleet Foxes

Fleet Foxes - Shore (Album Review)

Fleet Foxes’ music has rarely been less than beautifully arranged and performed, but has it sounded this warm, this inviting, before? On ‘Shore’, Robin Pecknold appears to have entered a new phase in his writing, one where the opulent, painterly melodies of ‘70s singer-songwriter fare have been quietly introduced to the meandering, texturally exciting existing strengths of his work.

Written by: Huw Baines | Date: Thursday, 24 September 2020

Oh Sees

OSees - Protean Threat (Album Review)

Photo: Titouan Massė ‘Protean Threat’ finds John Dwyer’s gang of garage-skronkers returning with their signature brand of anarchic chutzpah. ‘Protean Threat’, released under the slightly revised name Osees, is a record of varied textures, tones and tempos that grabs you by the lapels and shouts in your face.

Written by: Jacob Brookman | Date: Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Everything Everything

Everything Everything - Re-Animator (Album Review)

The best part of 15 years into their career, Everything Everything remain an anomaly. It’s hard to think of too many other bands in the wider indie-rock sphere who are so at ease with being themselves, whether that means disappearing down a psychedelic wormhole or serving up straight up pop songs without shedding their skin.

Written by: Huw Baines | Date: Monday, 21 September 2020

Marilyn Manson

Marilyn Manson - We Are Chaos (Album Review)

Marilyn Manson has gone country. Well, not really. He’s wearing a Stetson. Posturing aside, Manson has swapped his recent collaborator, Tyler Bates, for Shooter Jennings: son of outlaw country legend Waylon Jennings.

Written by: Alec Chillingworth | Date: Thursday, 17 September 2020

The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips - American Head (Album Review)

‘American Head’ heralds a new era for the Flaming Lips, as flamboyant, free-spirited chaos is replaced by a reflective, brooding nature. On the psych-pop survivors’ 16th album, they evoke solemn beauty from their music, the likes of which we’ve not heard from them before.

Written by: Rebecca Llewellyn | Date: Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Disclosure

Disclosure - ENERGY (Album Review)

Cooking up a delectable platter of sounds, Disclosure are back with their most cogent, quietly boundary-pushing album to date. Delivered in all caps, the beat loaded ‘ENERGY’ is the Lawrence brothers’ third studio album to date, unleashed post-lockdown with limited promo after five years away.

Written by: Milly McMahon | Date: Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Doves

Doves - The Universal Want (Album Review)

As time disappeared following the release of Doves’ last album ‘Kingdom of Rust’, the eventuality dreaded by so many appeared to have been made real—the band were done. Although a split was never announced, Jimi Goodwin’s solo album ‘Odludek’ and the Williams brothers' own detours as Black Rivers left us all fearing the worst. 

Written by: Graeme Marsh | Date: Monday, 14 September 2020

Declan Mckenna

Declan McKenna - Zeros (Album Review)

Expect to emerge from a casual listen of Declan McKenna’s ‘Zeros’ with a not-so-casual case of cultural whiplash. Are we listening to a bright new talent with a supremely online rise behind them, or traipsing through London in the mid ‘70s with the dregs of spacey glam rock lapping at our flares? 

Written by: Huw Baines | Date: Friday, 11 September 2020

Tricky

Tricky - Fall to Pieces (Album Review)

On ‘Fall to Pieces’, Tricky’s 14th album, the Bristloian trip-hop pioneer has partnered with Polish singer Marta Złakowska to deliver a short and low-slung album of dark, brooding pop.

Written by: Jacob Brookman | Date: Thursday, 10 September 2020

Hurts

Hurts - Faith (Album Review)

Pop music in 2020 is a typically controversial affair. Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion have angered the far right with WAP’s celebratory sexuality, Lady Gaga’s jump into house music has ruffled feathers, and Billie Eilish’s Grammy mop-up heralded an outpouring of love and bile. And all this from a style that is genetically engineered to be, well…popular.

Written by: Matt Mills | Date: Wednesday, 09 September 2020

The Killers

The Killers - Imploding The Mirage (Album Review)

‘Imploding the Mirage’ is a Killers record for all those Killers fans out there who long ago accepted, and celebrated, the fact that their favourite band is ridiculous. And the Killers are ridiculous—overblown, melodramatic, gauche, heart-stoppingly earnest. Here, they own that fact so completely that their blend of infectious pomp and heartland rock emoting reaches fresh heights.

Written by: Huw Baines | Date: Tuesday, 08 September 2020

Walter Trout

Walter Trout - Ordinary Madness (Album Review)

Photo: Alessandro Solca Traumatic events don’t need to be life-changing explosions to affect us on a profound, lasting level. Providing the visceral fuel for this fiery, haunting and acutely introspective album, Walter Trout stares down little earthquakes like emotional abuse, heartbreak, interpersonal conflict and fear of mortality to produce an exquisitely rendered, pleasingly diverse and synergistically watertight marriage of lyrics, emotion and music.

Written by: Simon Ramsay | Date: Friday, 04 September 2020

Bright Eyes

Bright Eyes - Down in the Weeds, Where The World Once Was (Album Review)

Photo: Danny Cohen The sweet spot for a Bright Eyes song is somewhere between grandiose, quasi-orchestral Dylan-isms and celebratory miserabilism. It is nothing if not an intense hang.

Written by: Huw Baines | Date: Thursday, 03 September 2020

Gregory Porter

Gregory Porter - All Rise (Album Review)

Photo: Amy Sioux We can but dream of a quick fix for the anxiety and depression plaguing many of us, but in troubled times we at least have this radiant album from Gregory Porter. An instrumentally lush record where jazz and soul meet gospel and blues for a life-affirming dance at a nightspot named ‘Love Shall Overcome’, ‘All Rise’ is a genuine balm.

Written by: Simon Ramsay | Date: Wednesday, 02 September 2020

Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen - Whole New Mess (Album Review)

Last year, Angel Olsen released the stunning ‘All Mirrors’, a record that matched her vocal prowess with grandiose arrangements, splashy synths and sweeping strings. You will find familiar faces on its companion album ‘Whole New Mess’, with nine of its 11 songs representing alternate versions of tracks from its predecessor, but markedly different set dressing.

Written by: Matty Pywell | Date: Tuesday, 01 September 2020

Bully

Bully - SUGAREGG (Album Review)

Photo: Angelina Castillo “I’m not angry anymore, I’m not holding on to that,” Alicia Bognanno sings on Hours and Hours, the penultimate track on Bully’s third album ‘SUGAREGG’. The record is a testament to letting go, and that’s reflected in both the finished product and the nuts and bolts of its creation.

Written by: Laura Johnson | Date: Wednesday, 26 August 2020

I Like Trains

I Like Trains - Kompromat (Album Review)

Photo: Ben Bentley ‘Kompromat’ is compromising material collected on an individual and weaponised for political gain, but in the hands of perpetual pessimists I LIKE TRAINS the word introduces a fifth studio album that surely means their own reputation is about to be blasted into the stratosphere.

Written by: Graeme Marsh | Date: Monday, 24 August 2020

 
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