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Melanie C

Melanie C - Melanie C (Album Review)

Melanie C isn’t afraid anymore. A maximalist flirtation between muscular EDM synths and buoyant, gleaming posi-pop, the Spice Girl’s eighth solo album is frank and affecting in its exploration of self-acceptance. Above all else, it finds true catharsis on the dancefloor.

Written by: Sophie Williams | Date: Friday, 16 October 2020

Laura Jane Grace

Laura Jane Grace - Stay Alive (Album Review)

Photo: Alexa Viscius It’s tempting to see an album like Laura Jane Grace’s ‘Stay Alive’ as back-to-basics—it’s a collection of largely acoustic first or second takes recorded on analogue equipment. But there’s no ‘basic’ right now. Everything is difficult, inconvenient or frightening. In that light an apparently simple record becomes forthright and frequently remarkable.

Written by: Huw Baines | Date: Thursday, 15 October 2020

Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi - 2020 (Album Review)

On some level, Jon Bon Jovi has always wanted to be Bruce Springsteen. With Bon Jovi’s ‘2020’ he has attempted to craft a prescient socio-political effort that hits with the same emotional force as something from the pen of the Boss. Alas, it mostly strikes with the precision of a banana shaped water pistol. Noble in its intentions but flawed in execution, the album’s main achievement is to showcase the singer’s growing fallibility and his group’s increasingly faceless identity.

Written by: Simon Ramsay | Date: Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Future Islands

Future Islands - As Long As You Are (Album Review)

Future Islands have generally tapped into the less cool, cheesier side of synthesizer music, with their excellent songwriting abilities and Samuel T. Herring’s poetic lyrics breathing new life into a facet of an old format largely best left back in the 1980s.

Written by: Graeme Marsh | Date: Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Touche Amore

Touché Amoré - Lament (Album Review)

Photo: George Clarke With each new record Touché Amoré have reinvented themselves to a certain extent, whether that’s expanding their palette as they did between the release of the straight ahead ‘...To The Beat of a Dead Horse’ and ‘Parting The Sea Between Brightness and Me’, or adding 4AD jangle to the mix on their pivotal third LP ‘Is Survived By’. 

Written by: Huw Baines | Date: Monday, 12 October 2020

Bob Mould

Bob Mould - Blue Hearts (Album Review)

Photo: Blake Little Photography Whenever something terrible happens, there are always people out there who enjoy saying things like, “Well, at least we’ll get some good punk records out of this.” That such an asinine thought would contain a kernel of truth is of little comfort to anyone, anywhere in the real world. The music itself, though, can make a mark. Bob Mould’s ‘Blue Hearts’ makes a mark.

Written by: Huw Baines | Date: Thursday, 08 October 2020

Roisin Murphy

Róisín Murphy - Róisín Machine (Album Review)

Photo: Adrian Samson There is a fascinating push-pull at the heart of ‘Róisín Machine’—we are at once observing a studious, meticulously-researched attempt to assemble a perfect dancefloor confection, and at the same time being invited to lose ourselves in its sinuous grooves and gossamer melodies.

Written by: Huw Baines | Date: Wednesday, 07 October 2020

Greg Puciato

Greg Puciato - Child Solider: Creator of God (Album Review)

Photo: Jesse Draxler Over the best part of two decades, Greg Puciato has solidified his place as one of alternative music’s finest performers. From his tenure as the bestial frontman of mathcore stalwarts the Dillinger Escape Plan to his role as the synthpop lothario leading the Black Queen, he has proven himself an inimitable and unstoppable force.

Written by: Sam Sleight | Date: Monday, 05 October 2020

Devildriver

DevilDriver - Dealing With Demons I (Album Review)

Photo: Stephanie Cabral DevilDriver’s eighth album has an appropriate title. Although the Californian melo-death crew were a cornerstone of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal (thanks to triumphs like ‘The Fury of Our Maker’s Hand’ and ‘Pray for Villains’), the 2010s were not kind.

Written by: Matt Mills | Date: Friday, 02 October 2020

Machine Gun Kelly

Machine Gun Kelly - Tickets to My Downfall (Album Review)

‘Tickets to My Downfall’ requires some unpacking, and enjoying it requires a little good faith. The key question is this: behind the posturing and conference room cringe, how should we approach Machine Gun Kelly’s pivot from rapper to pop-punk frontman? With a dose of cynicism, or as we would any other debut in the genre? The answer is, perhaps unsurprisingly, not entirely clear cut.

Written by: Huw Baines | Date: Thursday, 01 October 2020

IDLES

IDLES - Ultra Mono (Album Review)

Photo: Tom Ham Love and hate are two sides of the same coin. Equally, being confident and insecure are not mutually exclusive, neither are being offensive and offended. These dichotomies run through IDLES’ third album, ‘Ultra Mono’, where they consistently say both fuck you and thank you.

Written by: Laura Johnson | Date: Wednesday, 30 September 2020

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

 
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