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Death From Above 1979

Death From Above 1979 - Is 4 Lovers (Album Review)

Photo: Norman Wong “Death from Above has never sounded more assuredly like itself than it does on ‘Is 4 Lovers’.” That’s the party line from the press materials that accompany the noise-punk rabble’s fourth album. It may sound like clunky salesmanship (because it is), but there’s no denying its accuracy.

Written by: Matt Mills | Date: Friday, 26 March 2021

Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey - Chemtrails Over the Country Club (Album Review)

Whispered and intimate, Lana Del Rey’s fragile croon is full of magical recollection as it threatens to crack with joy over a delicate piano line. When the revelatory White Dress ends, some trademark melancholy creeps in as she wonders if she was better off in her carefree, pre-fame days. At this point something becomes crystal clear: we’re not listening to Lana Del Rey. We're in the presence of Lizzy Grant.

Written by: Simon Ramsay | Date: Thursday, 25 March 2021

Black Honey

Black Honey - Written & Directed (Album Review)

Style over substance has become such an easy catch-all complaint that the actual fight between style and substance—the engine that has powered almost every great pop song ever—often isn’t  scored properly. Was it a first round knock out? A win on points? A split decision? Black Honey’s ‘Written & Directed’ is a bloody draw.

Written by: Huw Baines | Date: Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber - Justice (Album Review)

Justin Bieber has shapeshifted so often throughout his career that each album he releases can feel like a critique of the artist he was before. On ‘Justice’, the rapid follow up to last year’s ‘Changes’, this fracturing effect feels confusing and self-involved.

Written by: Milly McMahon | Date: Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Nick Jonas

Nick Jonas - Spaceman (Album Review)

Photo: Anthony Mandler Great pop records aren’t simply conjured from thin air, they are engineered from the ground up. To preside over one isn’t only to write a brilliant batch of personality-filled songs, but also a recruitment exercise and a rigorous test of an artists’ understanding of prevailing trends and their future longevity. Get any element wrong and you could potentially appear to be behind the curve, lacking in sharp enough hooks or the right production swatches.

Written by: Huw Baines | Date: Friday, 19 March 2021

Zara Larsson

Zara Larsson - Poster Girl (Album Review)

Waiting four years to follow up ‘So Good’, Zara Larsson stepped back from the music to explore who she is now and establish the woman she wants to become. ‘Poster Girl’ is the result—an addictive confection that reaches for the highest rungs on the pop ladder.

Written by: Milly McMahon | Date: Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Arab Strap

Arab Strap - As Days Get Dark (Album Review)

Photo: Kat Gollock “It’s about hopelessness and darkness. But in a fun way,” Aidan Moffat, frontman of the returning Arab Strap, said in press materials accompanying the stunning ‘As Days Get Dark’. He’s almost right.

Written by: Sam Sleight | Date: Tuesday, 16 March 2021

The Horrors

The Horrors - Lout EP (Album Review)

Photo: Charles Jeffrey – LOVERBOY and Bunny Kinney Ask The Horrors, “What genre are you again?”, and expect the answer, “All of them.” After ticking off landfill indie, krautrock, garage-punk and dream-pop like destinations on a bucket list, they have now returned with the promise of the “nastiest” music they’ve made since 2007’s debut ‘Strange House’. They’re not wrong: ‘Lout’ is nasty enough to have been fished out of a sewer, in good ways and bad. 

Written by: Emma Wilkes | Date: Friday, 12 March 2021

Kings of Leon

Kings of Leon - When You See Yourself (Album Review)

After going supernova with the commercial smash of 2008’s ‘Only By The Night’, Kings of Leon’s habits got the better of them. Bust ups, booze and other troubles took hold of the Followill family and threatened the existence of the band. Having hit up on a strain of anthemic arena rock enjoyed by stadium-filling groups such as U2, they pulled in admirers at will before almost undoing it all, and subsequent albums struggled for the fizzing originality and relevance of their early work.

Written by: Graeme Marsh | Date: Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper - Detroit Stories (Album Review)

It’s beyond lazy to dismiss Alice Cooper as a shock-rocker after six decades in the business.  The tag implies that he’s a one trick pony, someone who’s forged their reputation on cheap stylistic tricks rather than lasting musical substance. Theatricality and historic controversy may be a telling part of his story but ‘Detroit Stories’ is a back-to-basics, aggressively guitar driven homage to ‘the birthplace of angry hard rock’ that proves Cooper’s career was, first and foremost, built on a bedrock of stellar songwriting.

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

Julien Baker

Julien Baker - Little Oblivions (Album Review)

Photo: Alysse Gafkjen Julien Baker has always treated the gaps between notes as an integral part of her music, using sparse, brittle backing to foreground gut-shot lyrical observations and searching questions, or splitting moments of calm with a refrain that pours out like a torrent. On ‘Little Oblivions’ the challenge is to maintain this piercing sort of compositional nous when there’s a lot more going on in the background.

Written by: Huw Baines | Date: Monday, 08 March 2021

Maximo Park

Max´mo Park - Nature Always Wins (Album Review)

Very few things put a band on the map in the UK quite like a Mercury Prize nomination, which Maxïmo Park secured with their zeitgeisty post-punk debut ‘A Certain Trigger’ in 2005. Since that hyped up burst of energy bounded into the room, though, the group have walked along similar lines, releasing five albums without quite being able to eclipse that initial pumped-up breath of fresh air. With ‘Nature Always Wins’, though, we have something pretty exciting on our hands.

Written by: Graeme Marsh | Date: Wednesday, 03 March 2021

Blanck Mass

Blanck Mass - In Ferneaux (Album Review)

Photo: Harrison Reid ‘Animated Violence Mild’ was the best electronic album of 2019. When that blood-and-apple-core-adorned opus was unveiled, newcomers and longtime Blanck Mass fans alike were wowed by its hybridity. Equal parts funky synth lines, metal screeches and erratic electro beats, it was a space where aggression and intellect collided head on.

Written by: Matt Mills | Date: Tuesday, 02 March 2021

Architects

Architects - For Those That Wish To Exist (Album Review)

Photo: Ed Mason “I wanna sing you a different song, one that’s easier to swallow,” Sam Carter opines during the chorus of Little Wonder, summing up the MO of Architects’ new record ‘For Those That Wish To Exist’.

Written by: Sam Sleight | Date: Friday, 26 February 2021

The Hold Steady

The Hold Steady - Open Door Policy (Album Review)

Photo: Adam Parshall Something that begins to creep into your life as you grow older is a sort of bargaining over a night on the town—will the amount of fun you have outweigh the pain of the following day’s hangover? The Hold Steady have soundtracked a good many massive nights in the past couple of decades, but on their new LP ‘Open Door Policy’ Craig Finn always has one eye on a spiralling set of consequences.

Written by: Huw Baines | Date: Thursday, 25 February 2021

Django Django

Django Django - Glowing in the Dark (Album Review)

Fusing drum loops, layered synth bass, soaring melodies and a genre-free approach to composition, ‘Glowing in the Dark’ is Django Django’s most ambitious album to date. Created before Covid-19 took hold of the world, the band began working on this fourth studio album to express the angst provoked by charged environmental and political climates, from Brexit to Donald Trump’s presidential reign.

Written by: Milly McMahon | Date: Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Ghetts

Ghetts - Conflict of Interest (Album Review)

If you were to write a thesis on how grime stars have progressed since the genre’s pirate radio days, then Ghetts’ new album ‘Conflict of Interest’ would be used as a case study.

Written by: Alex Myles | Date: Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Mogwai

Mogwai - As The Love Continues (Album Review)

Photo: Antony Crook In the biography that comes with ‘As the Love Continues’ comedian Robin Ince writes, “Mogwai are a band of no significant meaning.” And, while that may seem like a jab, it’s hard to argue with him.

Written by: Matt Mills | Date: Monday, 22 February 2021

The Pretty Reckless

The Pretty Reckless - Death By Rock And Roll (Album Review)

Following the deaths of Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell and her long-time producer Kato Khandwala, Taylor Momsen was consumed by an existential crisis. Depression and substance abuse took hold of the singer, until the music she first fell in love with pulled her out. As such, ‘Death By Rock and Roll’ isn’t just a fearless soundtrack to Momsen’s survival, it’s also a wonderfully written ode to the healing power of artistic consumption and expression.

Written by: Simon Ramsay | Date: Friday, 19 February 2021

Claud

Claud - Super Monster (Album Review)

Photo: Angela Ricciardi ‘Super Monster’ is the debut album from American bedroom-pop musician Claud, but its arrival isn’t as low-key as that description suggests. This is also the first LP to be released by Saddest Factory, a new label operated by indie-rock star Phoebe Bridgers. Fortunately, this is an often spectacular bow that outweighs any helping of hype.

Written by: Rebecca Llewellyn | Date: Thursday, 18 February 2021

 
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