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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

James Dean Bradfield

James Dean Bradfield - Even in Exile (Album Review)

You’d be forgiven for thinking an album about a Chilean songwriter and activist murdered by the Pinochet regime would be serious, rage-filled and, well, depressing. In less skilled hands that might well have been the case, but when such a record comes from Manic Street Preachers frontman James Dean Bradfield, someone who knows a thing or two about turning polarising, anti-commercial concepts into arena gold, you’d best think again.

Written by: Simon Ramsay | Date: Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Biffy Clyro

Biffy Clyro - A Celebration of Endings (Album Review)

Back in 2002, Biffy Clyro’s debut record landed like a drop in the ocean as their contemporaries in bands such as Hundred Reasons and Reuben set high benchmarks for mathy post-hardcore. But by the time album four, 2007’s ‘Puzzle’, was ready for action, Biffy had cut ties with that scene and struck out along a road choked with accessible, stadium-conquering anthems. Quickly, they began to embody rock’s zeitgeist rather than following it.

Written by: Sam Sleight | Date: Monday, 17 August 2020

Glass Animals

Glass Animals - Dreamland (Album Review)

“Wavey Davey’s on fire,” Dave Bayley proclaims on Tokyo Drifting, the Denzel Curry-assisted lead single from Glass Animals’ third album, and he has a point. The eccentric frontman tackled a formidable range of styles on 2014’s ‘Zaba’ and 2016’s Mercury-nominated ‘How to be a Human Being’, but on ‘Dreamland’ the diversity found in his vocal personas is turned up to 11.

Written by: Spencer Lawes | Date: Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Creeper

Creeper - Sex, Death & The Infinite Void (Album Review)

Having successfully blended sweeping theatricality and schlocky narrative beats with breakneck punk on their debut, ‘Eternity, In Your Arms’, the smart money was on Creeper leaning more heavily on Jim Steinman than Kid Dynamite the second time around. ‘Sex, Death & the Infinite Void’ bears that theory out.

Written by: Huw Baines | Date: Thursday, 06 August 2020

Alanis Morissette

Alanis Morissette - Such Pretty Forks in the Road (Album Review)

Alanis Morissette’s diaristic outpourings have always walked a fine line between gripping and grating, entertaining and self-indulgent. But when she gets the balance of introspection, angst, ire, heart and hooks just right she’s a compelling artistic force. ‘Such Pretty Forks in the Road’ is her purest singer-songwriter record to date, and a true return to form.

Written by: Simon Ramsay | Date: Wednesday, 05 August 2020

The Psychedelic Furs

The Psychedelic Furs - Made of Rain (Album Review)

Photo: Matthew Reeves Almost 30 years since the release of  ‘World Outside’, the Psychedelic Furs are finally back with a new album. Having reformed in 2000, after going missing for most of the ‘90s, it’s taken a while for the band to produce any new music after systematically touring their catalogue for the past 20 years. But, reassuringly, there came a point where they grew tired of the old tunes. That’s where ‘Made of Rain’ enters the equation.

Written by: Graeme Marsh | Date: Tuesday, 04 August 2020

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift - Folklore (Album Review)

It’s not a slight to label Taylor Swift as calculating. Very few solo artists have reached the pinnacle of superstardom without being shrewd, savvy, and sometimes ruthless, operators. But where some of her moves, such as defecting from country to pop, proved inspired, others felt like contrived choices to service her brand. That’s certainly not the case with the quietly triumphant ‘Folklore’. Made with little care for perception or reception, it’s an artistically motivated gem and the finest album of her career. 

Written by: Simon Ramsay | Date: Wednesday, 29 July 2020

The Chicks

The Chicks - Gaslighter (Album Review)

Photo: Robin Harper The Chicks’ decision to ditch the ‘Dixie’ from their name due to the word’s historic association with the Confederate south is a change that, by distancing the band from the past and moving forward with a more enlightened, modern outlook, unwittingly reflects both the musical and lyrical content of their first new record in 14 years.

Written by: Simon Ramsay | Date: Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Ellie Goulding

Ellie Goulding - Brightest Blue (Album Review)

Is it a positive or a negative that introspective pop records must still be packaged as gleaming, chart-facing pop records? Ellie Goulding’s ‘Brightest Blue’ is a genuine soul-searcher on paper, but in practice it’s an unwieldy, streaming-ready epic that misses a lot of its targets thanks to all the bits that bleed outside the lines.

Written by: Huw Baines | Date: Monday, 27 July 2020

Rufus Wainwright

Rufus Wainwright - Unfollow the Rules (Album Review)

By welding classical grandeur, flamboyant camp and a cavalcade of genre flourishes to his dramatic baroque-pop compositions, Rufus Wainwright has never adhered to convention. So, the sweepingly introspective ‘Unfollow The Rules’ doesn’t so much herald an iconoclastic reinvention as boil trademark ingredients into an idiosyncratic stew that, although recognisable, also showcases a new found maturity and focus.

Written by: Simon Ramsay | Date: Monday, 20 July 2020

The Streets

The Streets - None of Us Are Getting Out Of This Life Alive (Album Review)

There’s one thing you cannot knock Mike Skinner for, and that’s the consistent inventiveness of the Streets. Although it’s been nine years since a release under the moniker, the mixtape ‘None of Us Are Getting Out Of This Life Alive’ is a steadfastly Streets project, despite dipping into multiple genres. 

Written by: Alex Myles | Date: Thursday, 16 July 2020

 
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