Music Reviews

Charli XCX - Charli (Album Review)

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Photo: Marcus Cooper Charli XCX embarked on her career as a songwriter by creating generic pop music engineered to occupy the upper echelons of charts worldwide. Formulaic, channelling girl-power, her unfussy, straight-ahead songs landed in the hands of Icona Pop, Iggy Azalea and Selena Gomez while she figured out how she functioned as a solo artist.

Pixies - Beneath The Eyrie (Album Review)

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How many reunions have really worked? So few that you had to stop and think about it, that’s how many. Since their resuscitation as a recording band in 2013 Pixies’ victory lap has been particularly divisive, with the exorbitantly cool Kim Deal choosing to sit it out, leaving a void that her former bandmates have struggled to fill.

Gruff Rhys - Pang! (Album Review)

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Following 2018’s expansive and orchestral ‘Babelsberg’, Gruff Rhys has reined in his arrangements on ‘Pang!’, composing an album of tidy chamber indie that has its basis in British folk. Interestingly, this is offset by the handling of South African DJ and record producer Muzi, who has added a host of non-Western musical elements, including a few lines sung in Zulu. The rest of the album is delivered in Welsh.

Jenny Hval - The Practice of Love (Album Review)

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Photo: Lasse Marhaug Jenny Hval is feeling reflective. Her previous offering, ‘Blood Bitch’ was a pointedly vexing record about menstruation and vampirism that won the Phonofile Nordic Music Prize—essentially the Mercury Music Prize for Scandinavia—in 2017.

Sam Fender - Hypersonic Missiles (Album Review)

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Sam Fender is an interesting artist. His debut LP, ‘Hypersonic Missiles’, arrives amid plenty of hype from industry figures who have already anointed him as a future star, but it’s also a lacerating, frank odyssey into its creator’s fears and anxieties.

Bat For Lashes - Lost Girls (Album Review)

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Well, the new Bat for Lashes album is superb. Natasha Khan has mapped out a magical synth voyage into 1980s teen sci-fi horror, which marries her Home Counties purr with the 35mm joy of a Hollywood sound stage.

Whitney - Forever Turned Around (Album Review)

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There are few more grievous insults in music than to describe a record as ‘nice’. It implies a lack of bite, a play-it-safe approach, even a paucity of craft. Whitney’s second LP ‘Forever Turned Around’ is nice, but somehow it manages to be so while just about pushing things forward creatively.

Iggy Pop - Free (Album Review)

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Photo: Harmony Korine Iggy Pop is one of America’s greatest living rock artists—a stage performer whose visceral public persona is immediate and undeniable. However, that doesn’t always translate into recognisable hits...or even high quality music. Like his late contemporary Lou Reed, sometimes his songs seem deliberately shoddy so as to disappoint and frustrate his audience.

Post Malone - Hollywood's Bleeding (Album Review)

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With two successful albums to his name, Post Malone has now released his most thought-provoking work to date with ‘Hollywood’s Bleeding’. Taking time to reflect on his direction and values, it feels like an epiphanous moment in the multi-platinum artist’s 0-100 career. 

Sheryl Crow - Threads (Album Review)

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Sheryl Crow’s always been good at what she does. No more, no less. She’s crafted the occasional moment that might be deemed great, but although a Grammy-winning superstar who’s sold tens of millions of albums, her songs  have rarely threatened to attain classic status or reshape the musical landscape. Unlike the work of the legends she’s drafted in for this enjoyable, albeit indulgent and flawed, duets record.

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