February 2015 – album review round up

Album of the Month – Public Service Broadcasting The Race For Space

One of the cleverest artists out there, PSB meld vintage footage in with delightful beats. Their debut Inform Educate Entertain was a superb record, full of clever songs encoding Spitfires, Everest and even the Night Train. For their new record they set the bar high, very high. Trying to capture the spirit of the Race to the Moon. The songs cleverly switch from the USA and USSR perspective. So one minute you’re listening to JFK delivering his famous speech, the next it’s a tribute to Yuri Gagarin- which almost out-camps go west as a song. Over the 9 brilliant crafted tracks things just don’t let up. It’s not an immediate fix line it’s predecessor but give it a few listens and you’ll be richly rewarded.

Tricky second albums are always something to expect. In 2013 Peace brought out the really quite brilliant in Love so hope were high they could emulate this quality with their follow up Happy People? There certainly are moments where they do seem to hit some of the highs but, sadly, it doesn’t meet the original. However played live things may improve as their live sets are quite brilliant.

Another band really define brilliance live are Doves, sadly they are currently taking a break as a group. Last year Jimi Goodwin gave us his rather bonkers odludek. Well the Williams brothers take their turn with their project Black Rivers. A much lower key record than Goodwin’s there are clear signs of doves and just like Goodwin a real desire for fans to see the three unite. Until then this is an interesting side project. Certainly worth listening to for the quite brilliant The Ship alone.

It’s been a very busy month for releases. One record I wasn’t looking forwards to was the follow up from Imagine Dragons to their huge debut Night Visions. I wasn’t really a fan and, whilst I saw them at Reading give a performance enjoyed by many, I took the trouble to leave halfway to see something else. But in fairness I enjoyed Smoke + Mirrors a lot. A really good collection of indie pop that will please fans no doubt and may even convert those less in love with them. Songs such as I Bet My Life will prove very popular at festivals throughout the summer.

Speaking of festival, Fleet Foxes are one of the more popular bands on the circuit. It’s been a while since they produced anything so it’s good that former drummer Father John Misty has brought a rather brilliant record in I Love You Honeybear a great collection of country, blues and psychedelia with some rather brilliant lyrics. Especially the barbed Bored In The Usa. Well worth repeated listening.

Xtra Mile Records are usually excellent value for money. When you have the mighty Frank Turner on the label you,tend to know they are going to produce some great records. Their latest release fromTo Kill a King demonstrates this. If you are a fan of bands like the National then they are well worth a listen to. Certainly an uptempo version of the National would be fairer but this is a delightful set of Indie Rock tracks worth plenty of listens.

The Reading festival announced the treturn of the Libertines this month, whilst they will be working on new stuff together we do have the new Carl Barat album to enjoy. On Let it Reign Barat gives us a real mixed bag of material. Plenty of energy when up tempo it seems clear how the the gentler stuff may be improved once he reunites with Pete Docherty. Till then worth a listen or two.

So a hectic month, March will see more of the same, especially with Noel Gallagher bringing out his second solo album.

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