Saturday, 18 February 2017

New Music Review #32

Ten tracks or albums to keep you entertained today!

Calum Foad - You & I

Poppy, catchy, radio-friendly, 'You and I' is a great slice of bouncy pop that will get your feet tapping with its vocal hookery. (7/10)

The Divine Comedy - Foreverland (LP)

Though this might sound like I'm speaking ill of the dead, 'Foreverland' is an album that sounds like the one David Bowie should have released. With the lead vocalist definitely channeling the singer in vocal tone and in musical style, this is a far more upbeat and listenable album than the similar sounding final swansong from DB. Opener 'Napoleon Complex' is a fun, swinging opener to the record, with the titular follow-up building up to a gentle mid-tempo ballad complete with whistling and an evocative tropical island feel. Lead single 'Catherine the Great' is a great Tudor-sounding hit that's distinctly the band's song whilst the throwback sound works well. 'Funny Peculiar' freshens things up with a call and response style over a sweet little piano riff. 'The Pact' is a nice distraction and second single 'To The Rescue' grows after a few listens thanks to its neat strings and gentle pacing.

The subtle Sparks feeling at points is emphasised on 'How Can You Leave Me on My Own' which is great thanks to its poppy vibe and tongue-in-cheek style. I mean, how many songs end with animal noise? 'I Joined the Foreign Legion (To Forget)' and 'My Happy Place' continue the perky feel to the record whilst 'A Desperate Man' switches back to Sparks with an Egyptian vibe. 'Other People' is a joke track that feels a bit like padding - perhaps intentionally - before 'The One Who Loves You' wraps up a surprisingly enjoyable album with a mixture of styles and a wry smile permeating the tracks. (7/10)

Elbow - Little Fictions (LP)

Opening with lead single 'Magnificent (She Says)', 'Little Fictions' the new ten track album from Elbow, is pretty much what you'd expect: a downbeat, low-key collection of dark tracks. It doesn't feel like one of Elbow's best, many of the songs pretty flat, familiar and bland, and Guy Garvey's vocals not exactly thrilling my bones. Throughout the album you want something to perk up and by the time 'K2' rolls around with its off-putting echo effects the album verges on monotony. Not my sort of thing I'm afraid. (4.5/10)

Jazz Mino - Footprints

Jazz Mino has released a succession of great pop singles and though 'Footprints' is quite a bit different from her 2016 work the production is spot in and the more club focus will bring more people into her fold, and it's certainly a grower. (7/10)

Jen Gloeckner - VINE (LP)

'VINE' is an LP of eleven tracks, each a haunting, instrumental focussed number, like a cross between Enigma and Royksopp. I wouldn't say any track particularly stands out as a single, but that's not the point, as this feels more like an album album, where it's meant to be listened to as a whole, and it's a good, ethereal, listenable piece with some mesmerising electronica and production work, and a strong dream-like quality. (6.5/10)

Lupe Fiasco - Drogas Light (LP)

Weighing in at a slightly unwieldy 61 minutes, 'Drogas Light' is an album of two halves. The first half - really two thirds - is a hefty collection of rnb and urban crossovers choc-full of the usual cliches and swears, though the production is top dollar. Out of these songs its the Rick Ross & BIG K.R.I.T featuring 'Tranqillo' that impresses the most thanks to its catchy hook-filled chorus. Then from 'Kill' it takes a bit of a turn, with a funkier more danceable vibe, with 'Pick Up The Phone', 'I'm Not Designed' and 'Wild Child' a really solid threesome, so different in sound I had to check I'd not accidentally mixed up two albums. With a faster pace, more hooks and a poppier sound these are vastly superior to everything that came before it, particularly the beat-heavy 'I'm Not Designed' and the catchy 'Wild Child'. If the back end of the album was the whole one this would be a solid eight, with the first less-impressive half a bit less. (6.5/10)

Paul Menel & The Essentials - Hey, Did You Hear About Paul?

The question-based title is a mish-mash of styles and sounds, coming together neatly into a gruffly sung indie tune that moves along quite nicely. (6.5/10)

Rodina - What If

Taken from her new album this gentle yet swinging indie-pop number boasts a fun jaunty-vibe that is smooth and relaxing in equal measure. (7/10)

Steve Ravensfield - No More Love

With hints of country, this harmonised soft-rock song keeps things ticking over neatly with some strong production and a bouncy, catchy beat. (7/10)

Wild Child - Fools

With a funky electronic riff this is catchy pop-rock number which builds up neatly into a fun chorus. (7/10)

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