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John Mellencamp

John Mellencamp - Strictly a One-Eyed Jack (Album Review)

Photo: Marc Hauser John Mellencamp’s latest isn’t an album for people who tell themselves life is all sunshine and rainbows. It’s not for those who bury their heads in the sand, desperately trying to ignore how cruel this world can be. And it's definitely not for anyone who refuses to acknowledge their inner demons. ‘Strictly a One-Eyed Jack’ is a dark-hearted masterpiece for fallible, broken individuals mourning their youth, cursing societal dishonesty, and turning over self-inflicted regrets.

Written by: Simon Ramsay | Date: Thursday, 03 February 2022

Brent Cobb

Brent Cobb - And Now, Let's Turn To Page… (Album Review)

Photo: Alysse Gafkjen Most people have been forced to contemplate their own mortality in light of recent events. That’s certainly true of Brent Cobb, but perhaps not for the reason you might think. After surviving a near fatal car crash in 2020 alongside his young son, the country singer channelled his experience into creating ‘And Now Let’s Turn To Page…’, the life-affirming, philosophical southern gospel album he’d always wanted to make.

Written by: Simon Ramsay | Date: Tuesday, 01 February 2022

Eels

Eels - Extreme Witchcraft (Album Review)

Photo: Gus Black ‘Extreme Witchcraft’ is the 14th album from Mark Oliver ‘E’ Everett’s Eels, and the second he has created over lockdown, here in collaboration with producer John Parish. It finds the 58-year old in typically sardonic temper, offering 12 tracks of fuzz guitar, ‘90s processed drums and slacker vocals. It is unmistakably Eels in ways both good and bad.

Written by: Jacob Brookman | Date: Friday, 28 January 2022

Twin Atlantic

Twin Atlantic - Transparency (Album Review)

Photo: Cameron Brisbane Forgetting for a second that Twin Atlantic’s sixth record feels like a Sam McTrusty solo album, one that continues the stylistic drift away from the band’s early guitar-driven sound, ‘Transparency’ is often a very listenable and playfully eccentric affair featuring plenty of curveballs. But although such evolution is praiseworthy, both the group’s long-standing lack of identity, and propensity for inconsistency, remain a problem.

Written by: Simon Ramsay | Date: Thursday, 27 January 2022

Aurora

Aurora - The Gods We Can Touch (Album Review)

Aurora’s third studio album is a hugely diverse 15-track Scandi epic that travels through a wintry multiverse, flanked by synthesisers, drum patches and alphorns. And while the songwriting and production do not always hit their marks, ‘The Gods We Can Touch’ demonstrates a degree of imagination and generic dexterity that is often lacking in mainstream pop.

Written by: Jacob Brookman | Date: Wednesday, 26 January 2022

Yard Act

Yard Act - The Overload (Album Review)

Roll up! Roll up! Welcome to Yard Act’s tour of Brexit Britain on their debut album ‘The Overload’. This band arrives with a couple of labels attached—they have been darlings of 6 Music dads for a while now, and have been grouped under the ever-ambiguous post-punk tag—but here they prove that they will endure past any efforts to pigeonhole.

Written by: Matty Pywell | Date: Monday, 24 January 2022

Bonobo

Bonobo - Fragments (Album Review)

It’s hard to distinguish the exact purpose of Bonobo's music. Often inspired by a sense of place, the producer’s typically meditative tracks could, on one hand, soundtrack a wistful gaze into the sunset. On the other, they might be a good fit for a psychedelic rave. Simon Green’s seventh album under the moniker does little to solve this problem.

Written by: Alex Myles | Date: Friday, 21 January 2022

Elvis Costello

Elvis Costello - The Boy Named If (Album Review)

Elvis Costello’s 32nd studio album is great: a spiky, literate five course meal of a record created over the tail end (we hope) of lockdown with longtime bandmates Pete Thomas (drums), Steve Nieve (keys) and a relative newcomer in Davey Faragher (bass). It demonstrates the ongoing imagination, hunger and skill of the English songwriter, who at 67 continues adding to a rich catalogue of intelligent, storied, genre-defying pop music.

Written by: Jacob Brookman | Date: Thursday, 20 January 2022

Earl Sweatshirt

Earl Sweatshirt - Sick! (Album Review)

Photo: Ryosuke Tanzawa The push-pull at the heart of Earl Sweatshirt’s writing is between its introspection—his shelter-in-place life analysis—and its shapeshifting musical priorities. It’s a dynamic that he’s consistently able to make work for him, with any friction turned into creative fuel.

Written by: Huw Baines | Date: Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Blood Red Shoes

Blood Red Shoes - Ghosts On Tape (Album Review)

On their sixth album, Blood Red Shoes are out to seduce. Shedding their skin, they’ve concocted a dark, twisted electro-rock drama of a record, inspired by the worlds of true crime and murder podcasts.

Written by: Emma Wilkes | Date: Tuesday, 18 January 2022

Cat Power

Cat Power - Covers (Album Review)

Cat Power possesses a rare talent: the ability to turn the everyday and ordinary into something extraordinary. It’s something that has been captured by her own original works, through her keen songwriting hand, but it’s particularly apparent in her growing collection of cover records.

Written by: Rebecca Llewellyn | Date: Monday, 17 January 2022

The Weeknd

The Weeknd - Dawn FM (Album Review)

The Weeknd’s ‘Dawn FM’ has arrived with little fanfare. An announcement almost out of nowhere, following up scattered hints, set in motion a short run of excitement but, in truth, The Weeknd doesn’t need to pull out all the promotional stops when he’s made one of his best records to date. The songs speak for themselves.

Written by: Matty Pywell | Date: Wednesday, 12 January 2022

Tom Morello

Tom Morello - The Atlas Underground Flood (Album Review)

Photo: Travis Shinn Tom Morello has barely left his listeners any time to catch their breath since he last released new music. Inspired by the Clash’s double album ‘London Calling’, the Rage Against The Machine guitarist has pulled another 12 collaborations out of his hat a mere six weeks after the release of the sprawling ‘The Atlas Underground Fire’.

Written by: Emma Wilkes | Date: Wednesday, 15 December 2021

Arca

Arca - KICK ii, KicK iii, kick iiii, kiCK iiiii (Album Review)

Following her 2020 musical grenade, ‘KiCk i’, alternative electro producer Arca has released a cycle of four albums in quick succession, deploying a panoply of genres, vibes and sound design with devastating effect. The result is one part thrash-electro gig, one part gothic art installation that takes us on a journey through the transformational hinterland of this unique artist’s mind. It’s sometimes vexing, sometimes bewildering, and in certain ways picks up where Aphex Twin appears to have left off.

Written by: Jacob Brookman | Date: Thursday, 09 December 2021

Sting

Sting - The Bridge (Album Review)

Photo: Tomoko Itoki As cliche as it may sound, and it’s almost painful to continue this sentence, Sting’s latest record could easily be a ‘Best Of’ composed entirely of new songs. During the pandemic the singer’s boxed-in subconscious transported him to times and places where memory, experience and fantasy became one claustrophobic blur. With the resultant art reflecting life in lockdown, it’s unsurprising these era-spanning vignettes depict a series of trapped characters striving to find their own bridge over tempestuous waters.

Written by: Simon Ramsay | Date: Friday, 03 December 2021

The Darkness

The Darkness - Motorheart (Album Review)

Listening to The Darkness often feels like watching a blindfolded person attempting to perform a high wire act on roller skates without a safety net. If that particular tightrope, and by extension ‘Motorheart’, also represents the fine line that exists between genius and madness, this rock ‘n’ roll foursome once again prance, dance and teeter all over it as they fly through nine gloriously unhinged songs by the seat of their sequined pants.

Written by: Simon Ramsay | Date: Thursday, 02 December 2021

Adele

Adele - 30 (Album Review)

Photo: Simon Emmett Stylish and brave, Adele's melancholic ‘30’, reveals an artist at her most vulnerable. Creating a therapeutic body of work, Adele has invested the regret, pain and anguish she experienced during the breakdown of her marriage into the album’s creation. 

Written by: Milly McMahon | Date: Monday, 29 November 2021

Elbow

Elbow - Flying Dream 1 (Album Review)

Over the course of Elbow’s career, the Mancunian group have tended to pepper their albums with cacophonous rabble rousers amongst more genteel, subtle pleasantries. While these stadium-ready anthems have taken all the plaudits, it’s often been the more sedate songs, which tick along beneath their neighbours’ grandiosity, that carry the albums home.

Written by: Graeme Marsh | Date: Friday, 26 November 2021

Brian Fallon

Brian Fallon - Night Divine (Album Review)

‘Night Divine’ is a new collection of hymns played by former Gaslight Anthem frontman Brian Fallon, and released in time for Christmas—10 tracks played acoustically featuring favourites such as O Holy Night, The First Noel and Silent Night. It presents an opportunity for Fallon to delve into his Christian faith and display his folk arrangement chops alongside a glorious, some-might-say otherworldly, lack of imagination.

Written by: Jacob Brookman | Date: Thursday, 25 November 2021

Converge

Converge - Bloodmoon: I (Album Review)

Two decades ago, who could have expected something like this to come from Converge? Nobody who witnessed the landscape-reshaping release of 2001’s ‘Jane Doe’ would have predicted that the Massachusetts band would one day make sounds like those on ‘Bloodmoon: I’.

Written by: Emma Wilkes | Date: Wednesday, 24 November 2021

 
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