Been busy moving home so didn’t get a July review in. So a bumper double month issue is here.
Album of the Month – July Tame Impala – Currents
The third album from one of the more progressive acts on the planet peaks even their last release Lonerism. Kevin Parker’s love of psychedelia has always been clear but this time around he’s given the genre a very 1980’s feeling, emphasis on the use of keyboards rather than guitar. Some truly stunning music with leanings to early Daft Punk. Stunningly crafted, produced and soundscaped, demonstrated perfectly on opener Let It Happen. The album plays at a relaxed state, Currents really is the sound of summer. Needless to say the live sets will be something quite special indeed.
Album of the Month – August Frank Turner – Positive Songs for Negative People
It is safe to say that on Tape Deck Heart that Hampshire’s finest son wasn’t quite himself, his break up album, whilst full of great music, carried a melancholy that previously hadn’t really been part of his musical cannon. This is acknowledged on opening track Angel Islington where he reflects on how he can ‘Wash my feet and cleanse my sins’. From there though it takes off. Get Better is Frank at his very best, a stomping raucous sing along as he and the sleeping souls really create the positive vibe that the album title indicates is long due. It doesn’t really slow from there, Next Storm, Glorious You, Mittens and Love Forty Down (which those of us who saw his perfect set at Pie and Vinyl were lucky to hear over a year before release) are all signs of a classic Frank. The album ends on a moment of reflection that isn’t in keeping with the rest but it doesn’t matter this is arguably Frank’s finest record to date.
Its been a while since we have heard anything new from The Maccabees, the follow up to the quite brilliant Given To The Wild has taken quite some time to arrive, but finally Marks To Prove It is here. The opening title track does hint that we are safe and that the excellent work will continue. A stomping sing along that has signs that the wait was worth it, with more than a little hint to the Libertines but from there is settles on a more reflective stance and never really hits the peaks of their last album. Its still great fun but it feels like this is a band who have not moved onwards and upwards when so many others have.
Whilst it is only 4 tracks long and therefore an E.P. rather than an album it is always wonderful to hear new music from elbow, and in The Lost Worker Bee E.P. it is pleasing to report they are as brilliant as they always were. The opener and title track is so utterly charming it could make its own honey. Lyrically rich with wonderful use of brass – rather than the more orchestral sounds in which they have cornered the market, it sets up nicely a lovely collection of songs that will have to tide us over until the band get back in the studio to create their next masterpiece. Until then we can eagerly await the solo work from Guy Garvey.
Whilst the ever running ‘will they, won’t they spilt’ saga for the Strokes continues, guitarist Albert Hammond Jr has brought out another collection of solo work Momentary Masters. Opening with the excellent Born Slippy (sadly not a cover version of the classic underworld transporting track) the albums gets off to a positive light, within this there are moments of self doubt, and no doubt for Strokes fans an opportunity to look into the soul of the band and where they may go from here. He also includes a perfectly reasonable Bob Dylan cover with Don’t Think Twice. And whilst Side Boob is clearly a childish song title, the content is joyous and rich and well worth a listen to.
Wilco surprised everyone by releasing their latest album Star Wars for free on their website. Free records can often cause controversy (how many people are over the whole U2 affair yet?) but to just quietly drop a record without the fuss may well be a masterstroke. It certainly grows with every listen, and while their country roots are never far away there is a variety in delivery from grand show pieces such as Magnetized through more gentle stuff such as Taste the Ceiling. For someone who has only taken a passing interest, thanks mainly to their work with Billy Bragg it certainly has left me wanting more.
Right at the end of August, Foals brought us their fourth album What Went Down. Following on from the mixture that was Holy Fire this album also demonstrates a band who have not decided which direction they are heading in. From the raucous opening title track the direction feels heavy but very soon the band are heading into early (when they were bearable) coldplay territory with Albatross. Full of melancholy it will probably need a few listens before it can be properly assessed. But on first hearing it certainly seems that their epic live set is about to be enhanced.