Seen a photo of Andrew Hozier-Byrne? Yeah he might say how this album was ‘heavily influenced by Flying Lotus’. Very, very good debut, which may sometimes sound like it merely exists as a showcase for the voice, but what a voice it is! The constant ham-fisted emotion poured out of every track can grate slightly over 54 minutes, and it can seem a little too convinced of its own importance, but a definite good start. And no matter how many times you’ve heard Take Me To Church (a marvelously good opener that the rest of the album fails to match) or seen its devastating video it never fails to excite.
64 Cats on Trees: Cats on Trees
Already a massive hit in France about 16 years ago *research needed*, and it sounds very French in the sense you can imagine it being directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet- it’s occasionally sickly sweet and even the picture pf the band on the record’s cover captures the type of people who would definitely take photos of a fucking gnome on holiday in a horrifically syrupy way- the chorus of Full Colours is about turning into a rainbow or some shit, I mean come on. Yet even with its slight lack of defining characteristics you can’t help but like an album that sounds this good and often brushes against sheer beauty. A little more unashamed oddness like the brilliant Tikkiboy would be much appreciated.
Album number… erm… No idea what number album it is, there’s really no way of knowing, but it must be, like, number a million or something for AYWKUBTTOD (Christ, even when you spell it out in letters the name’s still far too long) who about a decade ago were absolutely the coolest band to say you liked, but have since dropped off the radar despite still frequently releasing records. ‘IX’ decides that perhaps it was a mistake to try out slightly different styles on their last two albums and instead run back with their tail between their legs to what they do best- a punky kind of pop that’s not quite new-wave that they show on the album they still master rather simply. There are a little too many lurches into U2 arena rock- all echoes, vein-popping emotion and Edge-like guitars. A solid 7.7/10
Following James Blake’s success at creating such critically and somewhat commercially acclaimed angular r’n’b/electronica are we now going to see lots of albums like this? Christopher Taylor’s music is so heavily influenced by James Blake I’d advise James to look in his cupboard right now to check if Taylor isn’t there with hole already drilled into the wall so he can better watch Blake shower. Remember that rabbit I bought you for Christmas James? Yeah, might want to check to see if Sir Foo Foo is still there. ‘Tremors’ is reguarly brilliant, though it lacks direction somewhat and can never truly sound like it isn’t merely a pastiche. Perhaps Sohn’s music is better suited to sound tracking particularly stressful Hollyoaks moments or demonstrating the sounsystem in the new Bose album.
61 Jack White: Lazaretto
Jack White has the ability to be absolutely amazing, as he has proved with each and every one of the wonderful White Stripes albums, but instead he has a strange obsession with proving how much of an authentic bluesman he is- his worrying fascination with delta blues is so strong and all-encompassing I can only assume there’s a disgustingly fetishistic sexual element to it, the dirty perve. The fabulous title track and lead single proves how brilliant he can be if he cuts the chords slightly and cares little about how weird he sounds (second single Would You Fight For My Love is similarly unconcerned with conventions), but far too often he’s so inclined to ape blues rock that with a full band he sounds more like a 21st century Eric Clapton rather than Robert Johnson reincarnated. Was it the shackles put upon The White Stripes music or Meg herself who previously kept these compulsions in check? Either way it seems that White is now far more concerned with looking backwards than moving forwards.