Music Reviews

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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. 

Paul Weller - On Sunset (Album Review)


When the first track on a 13 song album runs to more than seven minutes, what follows will either tap into an exploratory sense of purpose or meander into nothingness. Fortunately, the longest opening gambit in Paul Weller’s 26 album career (taking the Jam and the Style Council into consideration) sets the table for something a little unusual and the rest of ‘On Sunset’ delivers.

Phoxjaw - Royal Swan (Album Review)


If you go to the “List of rock genres” page on Wikipedia, you’ll find a whopping 249 entries. That’s how subdivided heavy music has become. What started in the ‘50s as loudness designed to piss off your parents is now a mangled family tree, full of categories so esoteric that, sometimes, only one or two bands can fit into them.

Haim - Women in Music Pt. III (Album Review)


It’s become customary with each new music video to take a stroll around Los Angeles with the Haim sisters. On some occasions they dance, strut and vamp, at other times they walk with quiet purpose. Contained within each vignette is a sense of getting outside yourself and clearing your head, capturing the essence of the wide-ranging tangents contained within ‘Women in Music Pt. III’.


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