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Diana Ross

Diana Ross - Thank You (Album Review)

Photo: Ross Naess Thank You’ is Diana Ross’ 25th studio album and the first since 2006’s wretched ‘I Love You’—a covers record that would have otherwise served as an unsatisfactory coda to a magnificent recording career. And while there is no evidence that this will indeed be the 77-year-old Michigander’s last offering, it’s hard to avoid a sense of finality as that title runs up against songs full of groove, heart and sentimentality.

Written by: Jacob Brookman | Date: Wednesday, 17 November 2021

IDLES

Idles - Crawler (Album Review)

Idles have long been a reliable source of mayhem, with Joe Talbot’s polemics running up against torrents of guitar noise, but learning to pull things back and explore the impact of the notes left unplayed requires another skill set entirely. It’s one the Bristol band have honed beautifully on ‘Crawler’, their second album in a little more than a year.

Written by: Laura Johnson | Date: Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Snail Mail

Snail Mail - Valentine (Album Review)

Photo: Tina Tyrell There has been a tendency in recent years to lazily draw comparisons between the “confessional” female singer-songwriters who’ve lit up indie sphere for the past decade—glossing over the differences in style and approach between artists such as Phoebe Bridgers and Soccer Mommy, for example—and on ‘Valentine’ Snail Mail’s Lindsey Jordan again underlines the reductive nature of such an approach.

Written by: Alex Myles | Date: Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Courtney Barnett

Courtney Barnett - Things Take Time, Take Time (Album Review)

Photo: Mia Mala McDonald Courtney Barnett’s third solo album ‘Things Take Time, Take Time’ represents another meeting of kindred spirits. The Australian songwriter’s creative ties with Kurt Vile run deep, of course, but following the release of their joint album ‘Lotta Sea Lice’ in 2017, she has now turned to Warpaint drummer Stella Mozgawa as producer and collaborator.

Written by: Graeme Marsh | Date: Monday, 15 November 2021

Black Veil Brides

Black Veil Brides - The Phantom Tomorrow (Album Review)

Embrace this new concept album by Black Veil Brides as a powerhouse arena-rock juggernaut, where massive hooks and stirring sentiments are rigged to explode at regular intervals, and you’ll be treated to a raging inferno of rousing pop-metal. Invest heavily in the record’s rock-operatic pretensions, however, and you may end up stuck on a dystopian wasteland feeling a tad chilly and confused.

Written by: Simon Ramsay | Date: Friday, 12 November 2021

Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey - Blue Banisters (Album Review)

Over the course of seven idiosyncratic and wilfully enigmatic albums, not to mention a bursting landfill of thinkpieces deconstructing her every move, it’s become increasingly clear Lana Del Rey, or rather Lizzy Grant, is a very complex person indeed. Introspective, initially impenetrable and as flawed as it is wonderful, ‘Blue Banisters’ shines new light on one of modern music’s most confounding and magnetic performers.

Written by: Simon Ramsay | Date: Thursday, 11 November 2021

Abba

Abba - Voyage (Album Review)

For the Abba aficionados out there, news of a ninth album a full 40 years after their previous release will likely have brought joy, and a little trepidation. While the Swedish band’s catalogue of singles is jammed with solid gold, era-defining hits, their albums were often poor, with cringey ditties languishing among the treasure, stinking the place out with twee arrangements and dubious storylines. ‘Voyage’ is no different.

Written by: Jacob Brookman | Date: Wednesday, 10 November 2021

Dream Theater

Dream Theater - A View From The Top Of The World (Album Review)

Photo: Rayon Richards During the closing track on Dream Theater’s 15th studio album, singer James LaBrie unwittingly sums up the MO that once drove his band: “To stretch beyond our limits, to blaze a brand new trail, bold enough to conquer, brave enough to fail.”  Alas, anyone wanting to hear that boundary-pushing act would be better off revisiting their groundbreaking early material than consuming a new album that ultimately represents a well executed piece of wheel spinning.

Written by: Simon Ramsay | Date: Tuesday, 09 November 2021

The War On Drugs

The War on Drugs - I Don't Live Here Anymore (Album Review)

Why tweak a successful formula? The War on Drugs’ fifth studio LP ‘I Don’t Live Here Anymore’ asks just that, delivering an album that follows a familiar path to their last two efforts ‘A Deeper Understanding’ and ‘Lost in the Dream’. In fact, there’s so little to distinguish each collection that they could have been part of the same sessions.

Written by: Graeme Marsh | Date: Monday, 08 November 2021

Joe Bonamassa

Joe Bonamassa - Time Clocks (Album Review)

When he first broke out, Joe Bonamassa’s six-string abilities were exploited to position him as a contemporary guitar deity for fans of blues-rock to worship. Over the last decade, however, his increasingly potent original material has taken centre stage. Posters for his gigs may declare them ‘The Guitar Event of the Year,’ but with superb albums like ‘Time Clocks’ at his disposal, that snappy slogan only tells part of the story.

Written by: Simon Ramsay | Date: Thursday, 04 November 2021

Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran - = (Album Review)

Photo: Dan Martensen Ed Sheeran’s affable persona is somewhat misleading once the singer-songwriter gets down to brass tacks about the business of music. Rarely have we seen a musician so attuned to the shifting, streaming-optimised tastes of consumers, and equally it is unusual to see one so comfortable swimming in waters populated by industry sharks.

Written by: Huw Baines | Date: Thursday, 04 November 2021

Tori Amos

Tori Amos - Ocean to Ocean (Album Review)

Photo: Desmond Murray After all the past 18 months have thrown at us, Tori Amos has your back. Her most universally appealing album since the early 1990s, ‘Ocean to Ocean’ is a gracefully melodic, lush and emotionally regenerative work with the capacity to rejuvenate even the most beleaguered of souls.

Written by: Simon Ramsay | Date: Wednesday, 03 November 2021

Elton John

Elton John - The Lockdown Sessions (Album Review)

Elton John has crammed several lives into his 74 years, but despite this he remains a remarkably down-to-earth presence both in interviews and his hugely popular Apple Music radio show. For his latest album, the British superstar has brought together a wide array of musical talent, including similar grandees such as Eddie Vedder and Stevie Nicks alongside contemporary stars such as Dua Lipa, Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus.

Written by: Jacob Brookman | Date: Tuesday, 02 November 2021

Duran Duran

Duran Duran - Future Past (Album Review)

​   Photo: John Swannell Forty years ago, Duran Duran reigned supreme in synth-pop land. With classic singles such as Hungry Like The Wolf, Save a Prayer and Planet Earth arriving in a relentless onslaught, everything they touched turned to gold. They then reached the summit of their popularity when Is There Something I Should Know? went straight in at number one in the UK, a rare event at the time, and solidified their status across the pond.

Written by: Graeme Marsh | Date: Monday, 01 November 2021

Johnny Marr

Johnny Marr - Fever Dreams Pt 1 (Album Review)

Photo: Andy Cotterill For Johnny Marr’s latest musical epistle the former Smiths guitar legend offers up a four-track EP as a precursor to more substantial recordings in the new year. It’s chunky, grooving music with the Mancunian’s vocals sounding confident and laconic, and his hugely influential playing style dancing round the record like an old flame.

Written by: Jacob Brookman | Date: Monday, 01 November 2021

Every Time I Die

Every Time I Die - Radical (Album Review)

Photo: Michael Watson It takes only a few seconds for ‘Radical’ to produce 2021’s best mosh call. As Every Time I Die’s ninth album winds up, Keith Buckley seizes the microphone and, over screeching guitar feedback, yells: “Spare only the ones I love, slay the rest.”

Written by: Emma Wilkes | Date: Thursday, 28 October 2021

Parquet Courts

Parquet Courts - Sympathy For Life (Album Review)

Photo: Pooneh Ghana Parquet Courts’ 2018 album ‘Wide Awake!’ found the New Yorkers so invested in being the centre of the party that it almost felt like a carnival, with a post-punk sound that doubled down on grooves. But on their latest album ‘Sympathy For Life’ they wanted to create something that was inspired by the party itself.

Written by: Matty Pywell | Date: Tuesday, 26 October 2021

Coldplay

Coldplay - Music of the Spheres (Album Review)

Photo: James Marcus Haney On paper, it looks like Coldplay are getting desperate. Their last album, 2019’s ‘Everyday Life’, was a double record that delivered several solid gold pop tunes despite sections of creative drift. But it didn’t really butter the parsnips commercially, and they’ve moved to shore up this oversight by calling in collabs with BTS and Selena Gomez.

Written by: Jacob Brookman | Date: Monday, 25 October 2021

Self Esteem

Self Esteem - Prioritise Pleasure (Album Review)

Navigating life as a woman in your 30s can be a daunting task. Should we be married with kids by now? Should we care that we’re not? Should we be wearing this, having sex with them, caring more about things? These are just a few of the many nuanced questions that Rebecca Lucy Taylor addresses on ‘Prioritise Pleasure’, her second album as Self Esteem.

Written by: Laura Johnson | Date: Friday, 22 October 2021

Finneas

Finneas - Optimist (Album Review)

On his debut album, Billie Eilish’s producer and co-writer brother reins in the gothic electronica of his superstar sibling’s records in favour of easy listening ‘70s yacht-rock cut with 2020s digital arrangement. The result is largely unconvincing.

Written by: Jacob Brookman | Date: Thursday, 21 October 2021

 
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