Music Reviews

Sleaford Mods - Sleaford Mods (Album Review)

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After slogging it out in provincial pubs for years, it’s little wonder that Jason Williamson, with Andrew Fearn, has gone into creative overdrive since achieving national success.

Federal Charm - Passenger (Album Review)

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With the exception of getting a song played on prime-time radio, there are few things more challenging for a rock band than losing their lead singer. For every AC/DC with Brian Johnson there are, sadly, hundreds of groups who’ve completely nosedived once the face and voice of their operation has upped sticks. But anyone worried about the future of British blues-rockers Federal Charm can breathe a mighty sigh of relief, because they haven’t just survived their frontman’s departure, they’ve actually benefited from it on ‘Passenger’.

Attan - End Of (Album Review)

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Attan released their debut EP, ‘From Nothing’, three years ago. There wasn’t a whole lot of fanfare, just positive rumblings and a few ‘ones to watch’ recommendations. Anyone who saw the band during that period got it, though. The Norwegians’ sludge-tinged, blackened hardcore was radicalised in the live arena as vocalist Remi Semshaug Langseth went walkabout during the cathartic seven minute epic Edward. He screamed in faces, slapped his heart onto his sleeve and then carved it open for all to see.

Paul Simon - In The Blue Light (Album Review)

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While Paul Simon may not be as prolific as Bob Dylan (38 solo albums) or Van Morrison (39), he might beat both artists in terms of consistent quality. Records like ‘Rhythm of the Saints’, released in 1990, and 2016’ s ‘Surprise’ often matched the brilliance of his work with Art Garfunkel, but may have been overlooked due to ageism within pop music.

Mothers - Render Another Ugly Method (Album Review)

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Photo: Tonje Thilesen

After relocating to Philadelphia, experimental folk quartet Mothers enlisted War on Drugs and St. Vincent producer John Congleton to work on their second album, ‘Render Another Ugly Method’.

Noname - Room 25 (Album Review)

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You get the impression Noname still doesn't realise how immensely likeable she is – both as an artist and a human. There was much about the Chicago rapper's 2016 mixtape 'Telefone' that was impressive in a conventional sense, whether it was her smooth, jazz-inflected flows, impeccable taste in neo-soul production or ability to create crystal-clear imagery. But what listeners connected with most was her magnetic personality. More specifically, they bought into her compassionate worldview and propensity to derive hope from the bleakest of topics or circumstances.

Anna Calvi - Hunter (Album Review)

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Anna Calvi’s voice, an enormous wailing thing, is the dominant presence on her first album in five years, ‘Hunter’. It takes over and demolishes anything that stands in her path. In many ways, the record’s message does the same thing. Don’t fall into the trap of using gender stereotypes. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Be yourself.

Pig Destroyer - Head Cage (Album Review)

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Photo: Joey Wharton

Opeth went ‘70s prog rock. Metallica cut their hair. Celtic Frost did ‘Cold Lake’. And yet, even after all that, people still shit the bed over this stuff. So when grindcore heroes Pig Destroyer released Army of Cops, a song with discernible vocals and a riff that could give Slipknot a leg-up on their next album, there was a bit of a hoo-hah.

Paul McCartney - Egypt Station (Album Review)

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Photo: MPL Communications

There’s lots of context that goes into reviewing work by established artists, and they don’t come much more established than Paul McCartney. Actually, there may be too much context; too much love and affection for the most influential living songwriter in the western world. In this case, one must rely on that reliable yet oft-overlooked metric: quality. And ‘Egypt Station’ is an album of exceptional quality.

Muncie Girls - Fixed Ideals (Album Review)

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‘Fixed Ideals’ begins in medias res. Lande Hekt is tired, anxious and furiously angry. “I’m gonna get a tattoo that says: fuck Jeremy Clarkson and fuck you too,” she sings. The album’s opener is something of a blueprint for what follows, fusing fabulous melodies with brass tacks insights into her own life and a vivid, despondent view of a world that has lurched right with little concern for the people getting crushed in the gears.

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