Albums Club #41: Elbow, Foals, Kim Gordon, Temples, Pan American, Stay, Vetiver, Petbrick

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Albums Club #42 – November 2019

November sees another bumper crop of albums reviewed and rated and Getintothis’ Banjo wonders what makes an album become a lost classic.

Recently I have started writing features on what I have called ‘lost albums’.

These have been a pleasure to write, because it gives me a chance to revisit some classic albums that I believe have slipped under the radar and been cruelly ignored, such as the superb Morning Dove White by One Dove.

Another upside to writing these features is that there tends to be a good few people who harbour similar feelings to these lost albums and who seem glad that someone has given voice to their feelings and dragged the album into the spotlight again for a moment.

But when I gave thought to what other albums to add to the list, I came up against two questions.

First of all, what constitutes a ‘lost album’? And secondly, if it was so good, why did it become lost in the first place?

Well, with regards to the fist question, to my mind a lost album is an album that is not held in historical high regard, perhaps one that tends not to be mentioned in all the Best Albums Of… pieces that we see so frequently, one whose critical stock does not reflect the way I feel about it.

This means that we can, as indeed we have recently, a lost album by Big Country that entered the album charts at number one. If time has moved to exclude it from the generally agreed ranks of the great and the good, then it is fair game for one of these features.

With regards to why an album may become lost over the years, there are a great many reasons why this cruel fate may befall some wonderful records.

It may be that a record was released after a band or artist had perhaps fallen out of their flush of fame, it may be that they suddenly found themselves at odds with prevailing fashions or that they never got the lucky break necessary to bring them or their album to the attention of the wider public.

There are perhaps as many different reasons for lost albums as there are lost albums themselves.

But this does not diminish their creative worth. The value of last albums is not measured in sales figures, but rather in artistic peaks.

Is it possible to spot a record that may become a lost classic? Possibly.

I have been lucky enough to hear an advance copy of the forthcoming Ponderosa Glee Boys and it is without doubt one of the best albums you will hear all year.

But, due to the fact that it is a low key release from a relatively unknown band, it may well be denied the huge sales figures it deserves.  As we’ve said, sometimes it is merely the lack of a lucky break that will bestow cult acclaim on wonderful records like this.

But this does not lessen its worth or make it any less of a great album.

As such, I will continue to champion these albums and hopefully, in some small way, to restore some shine to their reputations and maybe even help them to be found a bit more. – Banjo, Getintothis Features Editor.

Album of the Month

Kim Gordon: No Home Record
Matador

No Home Record, Kim Gordon’s first proper solo album, is thrilling, exploratory and grounded in the mundane all at the same time.

An iconic creator with a four-decade history of work in avant-garde art and music, Gordon is an artist at the edges of things – whose work creates new focal points, draws new maps and spins out constellations of wonky provocative meaning.

No Home Record certainly has moments reminiscent of earlier work including all those Sonic Youth years, but it totally creates its own territory – fresh and powerful, a fine place to start even if you have no interest in the backstory.

Opening with the sound of strangely yearning strings, Sketch Artist sets the agenda for the album – the way the often-minimal words and soundscapes conjure images, moods and thoughts, like lines of rapid drawing appearing on a page.

Air BnB is an anthem to the everyday phenomenon of “superhosted” urban living and the freedoms it creates. Paprika Pony’s sinister electronica leads into the fuzzy, howling blitz of Murdered Out, Gordon’s howling vocals sounding desperate and driven.

Don’t Play It is angsty underwater industrial, with echo-extended vocal yelps that sound like samples of Alan Vega at his most demented.

The lyric “You can pee in the ocean, it’s free” randomly calls to mind Patti Smith’s Pissing in a River... It would be possible to find sensible reasons to compare the two as outstanding female poet/musicians, but whereas Smith’s poetry is that of a romantic mystic activist, Gordon’s use of language is more experimental and playfully evocative, pointing to elusive personal meanings and undefined spaces.

Cookie Butter has a weird bounce and list-poem spoken-word vocals over urgent percussion driving into deep grinding machine-music.

Things get slightly rocky again with Hungry Baby that hurtles headlong and screeching on a rockabilly bassline.

Earthquake is an elliptical noir lovesong stretched over dusty guitar work – “I’ve got sand in my heart for you” a typically ambiguous and chilling lyric.

The album finishes with Get Yr Life Back whispering to a darkly scintillating close.

An absorbing listen from a major artist. – Roy Bayfield

The Fall’s Dragnet 40 years on: horror, disbelief and a true classic

Delcan Welsh and The Decadent West: Cheaply Bought, Expensively Sold
Modern Sky UK

We’ve been well-treated from North of the Border this year. It’s hard to remember a year in recent times where such young talent has emerged from Scotland, and Declan Welsh and The Decadent West are the epitome of such excitement.

The build up to the release of their debut included the usual: singles, UK gigs, festivals – but also involved the creation of a mock-umentary, playing in Palestine, and other less orthodox methods of preparation, as they told us in a recent interview.

So, by the time Cheaply Bought, Expensively Sold and opening track No Fun landed earlier this month, it was fair to say that there were plenty on board this bandwagon.

Welsh, vocalist, guitarist, spoken word artist, political activist and frontman of his Decadent West outfit brings with him on this record influences of punk, 00s indie rock and roll and tales of domesticity.

Take How Does Your Love?, for example, a groovy indie tune with a bleak backdrop, a track firmly within the identity of its scribe.

The lucid Be Mine, though, seems miles away from The People’s Republic of Glasgow, as they refer to it. A floating ballad that comes halfway through the 12-track LP, produced with Liverpool’s Modern Sky label.

But make no doubt about it, there are parts of this track that are made to be played at full tilt.

Single Different Strokes and Never Go Home particularly invite crowd surges and flailing limbs – you will perhaps see them at Phase One on November 9. – Lewis Ridley

Elbow: Giants Of All Sizes
Polydor

Fed up of making middle England feel all warm and cosy covering Beatles tracks for John Lewis adverts, Elbow are back and they’re frustrated with the world.

But no, don’t panic they haven’t grown a long fringe and found the overdrive pedals. Their new album Giants Of All Sizes is a profound and stark analysis of broken Britain through the melancholic lyricism of Guy Garvey singing about suicide, the death of his father and Grenfell Tower.

Dexter & Sinister bursts in from radio feedback to a big chugging bassline like an exasperated old man in the pub moaning about the world into his John Smiths. As Garvey sings about “not knowing Jesus anymore” slashes of angelic synths seemingly shoot into the track from the heaven he dismisses.

A 6 and a half minute epic the message and tones of reflection and turbulence are met with a falsetto wailing woman in an almost spiritual manner. You’re one track in and already you know that if you’re looking for A Day Like This joyous epiphany, you’re not going to find it here.

Within all the trouble though, there remains room for angelic beauty; from the playground murmurs at the end of Doldrums to delicate and forlorn melodies waltzing cosily in My Trouble, as elegant strings build to a mighty crescendo. Oh Deronda Road mixes country guitars with swish beats as Elbow reach out of their comfort zone.

It is refreshing to see despite 8 albums in Elbow are still pushing themselves to new sounds.

Misery never goes out of style, it seems, Born in Bury, a mill town with no mills, the struggle of life has been something Elbow have always sung about. Such bold romanticism rarely is born from within the rugged and tough backdrops of working-class Northern Britain.

You could say if LS Lowry was still alive today he would find a few poetic similarities between Garvey’s honest songwriting and the humble matchstick men he painted.

The Delayed 3:15 introduces hazey, joyous strings and whistling yet Garvey speaks poetically about sitting upon a delayed train as a stranger committed suicide further down the line.

The beauty from the mundanity of sitting on the train. Yet a beauty from tragedy, as the lyrics lurk and hang over the acoustic track like the confused guilt that followed the journey home.

White Noise White Heat wears the band’s new sense of angst and protest on its sleeve as the battle cry of the “white heat of injustice” is sung with Garvey talking profoundly about his and the world’s frustration with the Grenfell disaster.

Closing track Weightless lives up to its name as the finale echoes thoughts of rare optimism as the listener almost ascends and floats into the heaven once dismissed at the start of the album.

On the surface its a triumphant record of a band deep into their careers exploring new sounds. But look deeper and the troubled journeys as humans we all go through are laid bare by some of Garvey’s best work.

It’s an album I adored sinking into, its an album that demands your attention. An album for rainy days in November watching dark clouds roll in with the blue skies beyond insight.

Hang on in there world. – Will Whitby

Foals: Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 2
Warner

Foals release their second album of 2019, but is it worth a listen?

They have returned after a 4 -year break, with their highly anticipated new albums. Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Parts 1 & 2.

Releasing Part 1 at the beginning of the year gave fans the chance to get reacquainted with the band and reignited a taste for new music that left them wanting more.

Part 2 eases the listener in with a short instrumental, Red Desert, which melts into the latest single, The Runner. The second instrumental, Ikaria, is a calming and welcomed break between the fast-paced tracklist.

10,000, Feet gives a nod to the nineties with a grunge feel. The intro would not be out of place on a Smashing Pumpkins track.

There are punchy tunes and heavy guitar riffs that fit alongside the rest of their catalogue perfectly, but have they played it too safe? Perhaps the foursome should begin to step outside of their comfort zone and deliver something new that we haven’t already heard throughout the last 5 albums.

Foals are widely regarded as one of the UK’s best live bands, and after a disappointing festival season with fans complaining about poor sound at their Glastonbury secret set; and Cornwall’s Boardmasters appearance being cancelled due to bad weather – we can’t wait to see them back doing what they do best with this new album. – Emily Clark

J.R. August: Dangerous Waters
Croatia Records

Dangerous Waters may be J.R. August’s debut album but by no means is that a reflection of their nuanced celestial sound.

The Croatian singer, songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and all-around virtuoso’s aural inclinations transcend the restriction of genres. The nature of their melodicism suggests that their artistic vision stems from a much more intrinsic illimitable place.

In their softer tracks, their elemental style graciously flirts with softly transcendental mellifluous layers of sound bringing elements of nature up against the almost Neo-Classical piano arrangements.

With tracks such as the title track Dangerous Waters, and Let’s Get Together, you’re treated to ethereal Jazzy up-vibe rhythms while getting a taste of J.R. August’s more playful creative energy.

The standout single on the album, Crucify Me, affirms that if any artist has redemptive powers of salvation, it’s J.R. August. You’d think that there would be a raging ego weaved into the mix, but instead, you’ll only find a humble and gentle sense of humility.

Combine that with their personable and expressive vocals offering an infinite amount of resonance through flawlessly tensile vocal stretches and their debut album becomes a divine feat of captivating alchemy. – Amelia Vandergast 

John: Out Here On The Fringes
Pets Care Records

Two-piece London outfit (both with the same first name, can you guess what it is?) John are very much masters of the get in, deliver message, get out again, school of songwriting.

Their second album, following their debut God Speed In The National Limit, is a mere 9 songs, just 28 minutes start to finish. It’s so short, but it’s not through any lack of anything to say.

And what a breathless 28 minutes it is.

It kicks off with recent breakthrough single Future Thinker, from which point the intensity kicks in, stays and never drops, the fury keeps coming. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that it’s only two people making all this noise.

The dark title track is a menacing sonic storm, very apt for these times.

Speaking of menacing, that’s the perfect word the describe the vocals throughout the album, more like a shriek of pain and emotion rather than a generic standard vocal.

The guttural nature of which makes them stand out so much out on the likes of 6 Music, where they’ve been getting played a lot recently, especially the aforementioned Future Thinker and their latest single High Digger.

It’s very much music for people who like the idea of the likes of Saved and Royal Blood, but don’t find them terrifying enough.

The riffs hit especially hard on Dog Walker and the albums centrepiece Laszlo, upon which the drumming is the undisputed star of the show, they spend the last half the track just furiously rocking out, and sounding like they are having an absolute ball.

There is the album’s only change of pace on the brooding, almost instrumental Midnight Supermarket, which rolls straight into the closing track and album highlight, the manic, blistering Solid State.

The longer the album goes on you start to notice the lack of obvious rock sensibilities, but it doesn’t affect things one jot, they are adept at using the music as an unspoken chorus.

It could conceivably feel like one long piece of music as they have found their sound and try to stick to the formula, but there is enough going on to make you want to put it on straight away and do it all over again.

The perfect way to spend half an hour. – Steven Doherty

Why support bands need a break: The Coral and Red Rum Club  tell us their tales

King PrincessCheap Queen
Zelig

King Princess’s debut album is here, and it doesn’t disappoint.

Quickly becoming known as pop’s new queer idol, Mikaela Straus, better known as King Princess, is exactly the eclectic, quirky artist you’d expect to come out of Brooklyn, with catchy pop songs that give us true New York city grit and the hopeful, ballsy disposition we love most about young queer artists.

Straus grew up in her father’s recording studio hanging out with the likes of Arctic Monkeys, and is now signed to Mark Ronson’s Zelig Records, it’s no surprise then that this album seems so well crafted.

Over a year after King Princess’ breakout single 1950, a single that saw major viral success, the likes of which could be compared to Billie Eilish, we finally have a debut album that has absolutely lived up to the single that shot her to overnight fame.

Tough on Myself opens the record, laid atop of soothing guitar and slow beats, her raspy voice really takes centre stage on this one. There’s a vintage feeling to much of King Princess’ music, and this track in particular gives us that ten-fold.

The title track, which is also the lead single for this record, is an unapologetic self-proclamation, she’s both good and bad, and most of the time exists somewhere in the middle.

This track, complete with a vintage voiceover that I can only imagine is from some 50’s sitcom, seems to toe the line between old and new and it works a treat, her mix of influences from the stars she grew up with to pop music she loves so much are clear on this one.

Straus doesn’t create generic pop, at least not on this album, its subdued but still gives you everything you’d want from a pop album. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where she sits on the pop spectrum, but maybe that’s the point, either way she’s offering something fresh with a delightful mix of synth and acoustic guitar throughout.

King Princess recruited some heavy hitters to help out with this record, from Mark Ronson to Father John Misty, and with contacts like that I don’t think she’s going to have any trouble keeping up the momentum. – Kris Roberts

Lightning Bolt: Sonic Citadel
Thrill Jockey

Rumours of Lightning Bolt’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. Indeed, drummer Brian Chippendale took to Twitter earlier this week to express his surprise at some outlets claiming that the Bolt’s new album had a valedictory flavour.

We’re not done shredding your reality yet, not even close,’ said Chippendale.

It’s clear from the first track that being 25 years into a career does not mean you have to slow down. Blow to the Head is aptly named. It’s swirling, violent, and vertiginous, like a head injury.

It thrums and pulses until the snare finally comes in, at which point the bass becomes the anchor. Distorted vocals yelp like helicopter proximity alarms.

It’s a good marker for the rest of the album, which takes on a more improvisational flavour than 2015’s Fantasy Island. Where that album was a focused, clear riff machine, this one is more loose and fluid.

This reflects a change in working practises. Chippendale has become a father, and this combined with the geographical distance between him and bassist Brian Gibson has meant they’ve needed to use the time more carefully.

In the case of Halloween 3, they’ve built on the bones of a tune they’ve been playing live for 15 years. As such, there’s a more jammy vibe to this one.

In a similar vein are Don Henley in the Park and All Insane. Of course, Lightning Bolt have always been a pop band, but it’s unusual for them to be this transparent about it. There’s barely any time to register surprise at the acoustic guitar in Don Henley in the Park before the hazy riff starts phasing in and out of reality.

All Insane even has lyrics, and it’s unusual in the Lightning Bolt canon in how directly the vocals contribute to the melody.

There’s a steady, almost mid-nineties indie punk feel to it. It’s as accessible as they get. It’s also odd that it seems to be one of the most focused tracks, despite being improvised in the Studio.

Hüsker Dön’t is the pick of the bunch. It’s a forceful, diminishing riff of the sort that Muse liked to rip off, one poppy enough to sound good on the piano. It eventually gives way to what sounds like the Buffy the Vampire Slayer theme tune.

In the background is a bleak, dazed, grungy guitar solo, which sounds like Kim Thayil at his most lost and confused wandering around a derelict mall.

Van Halen 2049 closes us out. It’s an excuse to make as much noise as possible. The tempo wavers, like that of a runner reaching for those last reserves of stamina at the finish of a race.

Towards the end come bewildering flashes of noise, like jerky, juddering jump cuts to a runaway train bearing down on someone tied to the track. – Matthew Eland

Pan-American: A Son
Kranky

It’s been over six years since Mark Nelson’s last Pan-American opus in 2013’s Cloud Room Glass Room.

Whilst Pan-American has largely been an ambient instrumental project, A Son sees Nelson – the driving force beyond ’90s post-rock touchstones, Labradford – enter the realm of singer-songwriter terrain.

The nine songs which comprise this album were written and recorded in Nelson’s home in Evanston, Illinois and further refined during a European solo tour last year.

The result is A Son, where Nelson effortlessly guides melodies to the deepest corners of the universe, weaving traditional acoustic-laden songs between beautiful dreamscape interludes.

Nelson has said that this album was inspired by moving backward and tracing roots and you can certainly hear it. If anything there are moments where some of these songs wouldn’t look out of place on Labradford’s masterpiece that is the Prazision LP. Particularly the album’s second track, Memphis Helena.

Tracks like Brewthru and Muriel Spark play close to the lines of pop, or at the very least the two numbers are the most conventional that Nelson has written. And it’s no bad thing. His melodic guitars work well alongside his vexing whisper-like vocals.

A Son‘s tracklisting has been meticulously plotted, for Nelson’s more stripped-back offerings are dotted around spatial interludes and in Dark Birds Empty Fields, Nelson carves out a beautiful instrumental with chimes and a heart-aching lullaby riff.

The closing track, Shenandoah, is the finest moment on A Son and is a fitting end to the album. Inspired by the murder of Heather Heyer, who was killed in 2017 while protesting the neo-Nazi white supremacist rally in her hometown of Charlottesville VA, its emotional weight makes your heart skip a beat.

A Son is an stimulating journey as much as it is a surprise. Whilst expecting another collection of shadowy ambient night-scapes, Nelson has flipped the switch and given his devoted listeners something  that we all know he has been more than capable of writing. – Simon Kirk

Petbrick: I
Rocket Recordings

They’re called Petbrick. They are Sepultura‘s Iggor Cavalera and Wayne Adams of Big Lad.

They have tracks called Radiation Facial and Jesus Dropkick. And they’re on Rocket Recordings.

What were you expecting, ballads?

Petbrick‘s opening outing is exactly what you’d expect – 10 tracks and 39 minutes of unremitting brutality.

But there’s nothing tossed off, or throwaway here, instead delivers with gut-wrenching ferocity yet underpins the noise with ridiculous grooves and, dare we say it, a healthy dose of melodic pop.

Sure, it’s the filthy kind of gunk you’d find at the bottom of kitchen bin but check the frenetic machine-gun beat down of Gringolicker, the blitzkrieg distorted synth riot of Some Semblance of a Story or the face-melting industrial death disco of Guacamole Handshake.

These are tracks tailor-made to put a strut in your step or punish the senses in some sweat-stained dive bar. Crank up, punch the sky, and enjoy. – Peter Guy

Labradford: a buyer’s guide to a band way ahead of their time

DJ Spoony: Garage Classical
Since 93

DJ Spoony, the UK Garage pioneer comes back with a jam-packed 13 song album incorporating some of the most predominate UK female vocalists over the last 20 years.

The Dreem Teem member incorporates the old groove of the 2000’s, with fresh melodies of recent female pop sensations including; Paloma Faith, Sugarbabes, Emeli Sande and many more.

The album consists of the Artful Dodger’s Make your body Move and Shanks & Bigfoot’s Sweet Like Chocolate, amongst other UKG classics.

Intertwining the original garage beats with delicate but rich vocals from Lily Allen in Sweet Like Chocolate, the spine-tingling symphony orchestra is complimented by hints of Allen’s electropop background and eloquent reggae husk.

The collaborations continue with Sugarbabes singing Flowers. Their harmonies are showcased throughout the track over the top of the original beat bringing a handful of nostalgia.

DJ Spoony doesn’t just collaborate with predominate female artists but also male. Fill Me In originally by Craig David now sung by Raleigh Ritchie – most commonly known from Game Of Thrones brings a soulful explosion to the song.

These classics have been awaiting a comeback and DJ Spoony has done just that, the album really sets the scene for what DJ Spoony‘s show at the Royal Albert Hall on the 24th of October really has to offer. – Harriet Hitie

Stay: iwillneveraskyouto

Stay is an extremely new band project based in New Jersey, and iwillneveraskyouto is the first album to emerge from their unique corner of the palace of fun – and it’s a scintillating package.

Stay are enthusiastic purveyors of Alt Rock with a pop punk crunch. There’s a wide-eyed high-energy retro feel to the whole endeavour – think back to that greatest of cinematic moments, the closing credits of 1999’s 10 Things I Hate About You when the helicopter-vision camera pulls away from the school which for some reason has Letters to Cleo playing a cover of Cheap Trick’s I Want You to Want Me on the roof – that.

On iwillneveraskyouto Madison “Mad” Nave’s vocals ring out clear and bright over a diverse set of tracks – upbeat bangers (No Pearl), fuzz-monkey epics (Muscle Car), lopsided pop (So Tender), rusty-steel grinders (Marigold) and reflective interludes (Clean).

The songs swoop, swerve and slide with an emotive undertow. It’s pop’s promise of infinite horizons unspooling into the distance, served up in a winningly amiable style. And then too soon the journey is over – ready for you to hit repeat.

Fromtwoman Mad, lead guitarist Caleb Kerr, drummer Bill Finocchiaro and bassist Ian Kelly have only formally been working as Stay since the start of October and have already delivered this album of infectious positivity .

Definitely a band who deserve to be kept in earshot. – Roy Bayfield

Temples: Hot Motion
ATO Records

Psych. Pure psych. There, that’s all you need to need to know.

But you may be forgiven for thinking an album review needs to be longer than three words, one of which is repeated. So, we’ll try to add some flesh to the admittedly meagre bones.

There’s no pretence about Temples. We were at their album launch in store gig at Phase One earlier in the month. They talk the talk the talk and walk the walk, in their stack heels and leopard print tops.

You know exactly what you’re going to get as soon as they walk on stage, all 70s trippy long hair, flares and silk scarves. There’s a not a lot that’s up to date here and that maybe on of the reasons this album hasn’t had glowing reviews across the board.

It’s definitely rooted in a decade that’s a dim memory to some of us and a thing of wonder to most (Telex machines, dude, the fax hadn’t even been invented then). But we could make the case that this isn’t an absolutely bad thing.

There may be little here to make you sit up and go wow! (Second track You’re Either On Something is perhaps the standout exception), however, this is a solid album by a band who is comfortable looking back with fondness and delivering their own take on the days when acid was a drug rather than a music genre.

We don’t need too many of them, but Temples do a fine job. – Peter Goodbody

Timelost: Don’t Remember Me For This
Golden Antenna Records

One of the best things about the digital age is the availability of new music and the ability of acts to promote themselves in a way that does not totally break the bank.

While this reviewer is yet to succumb to the delights of Spotify, certain Facebook groups have been a goldmine for recommendations and for bands to advertise themselves to likeminded lovers of a specific type of music. This is one such discovery.

Timelost began as a long distance project between multi instrumentalists Shane Handa and Grzesiek Czapla. Since their demo dropped in the middle of last year they have expanded to a four piece and relocated to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Don’t Remember Me For This is their debut full length effort.

Timelost draw from metal, shoegaze and the heavier and more rock influenced side of grunge (think Gruntruck, Skinyard or Tad) to produce a sound that is at times introspective while seamlessly erupting into breakneck riffage. This is epitomised on the album opener where an into of distant sounding drums and ambient noise make way for some serious guitar pounding.

Standout tracks include the albums title track, where their shoegaze influence is perhaps most obvious and the closing number I Know Cemeteries.

This is the shoegaze album you could play for your metalhead mate and the metal album you could play for your shoegaze mate. What’s not to like? – Andy Sunley

Vetiver: Up On High
Loose Music

It was as far back as 2003 that freak folk magus Devendra Banhart described Vetiver as “the best band in the universe”.

Bandleader Andy Cabic had emerged from the same Bay Area scene as Banhart with the two close friends collaborating on each other songs before  Banhart eventually paid tribute to his pal’s band in the song When the Sun Shone on Vetiver.

Listening to Cabic 15 years later he appears to have moved away from the gentle acoustic laments of those early days towards the rustic and reflective country-tinged psychedelia that dominates much of Up On High, his seventh album under the Vetiver banner.

It’s certainly a welcome development judging by the sheer quality of the songs here. There has been talk of Cabic wanting to reflect the influence of the college rock sound of his youth and there’s an undeniable feel of REM at their southern gothic best to some of the tracks.

The likes of Swaying and Wanted, Never Asked would sit comfortably on Murmur for instance while the frequent slide guitar recalls the Athens legends excursions into country rock.

While the gentle arrangements are simple and pleasant enough, Cabic is a craftsman not afraid to show off his chops on more than occasion. The title track has a groovy, almost yacht rock feel to it while opener The Living End could be an outtake from the Grateful Dead’s masterful Workingman’s Dead.

By the whispered strum of the closing Lost (In Your Eyes) it becomes obvious Cabic has sealed the deal on a collection of songs that are warm, intimate and utterly captivating. – Jamie Bowman

Emily Jane White: Immanent Fire
Talitres

Emily Jane White deals in atmosphere.  This, her sixth album, is an affecting folk record with a dark heart.

The ten songs here have a melancholy edge to them, as White writes about life in times of global environmental crisis. Her focus is also on her own reaction to these circumstances.

In album highlight  Washed Away she sings ‘Modern industrial life takes your soul in its fangs. We might as well be all washed away‘ In her hands this comes across as a lament, a person walking across the sands and wondering how we ended up in this position and, more pertinently, how we can readt to it.

The music here is at once lush and sparse, taking in full orchestration and sparse, haunting piano. Opening track Surrender starts things off in an intense, epic folk vein, while Infernal has a hint of Kate Bush in it’s theatrical, widescreen sound.

Samples of animal life and thunder at to the atmosphere and add to the organic feel of the music that is mostly piano, strings and vocals.

Immanent Fire is an album that grows on you. One listen draws you back and several listens reveal its true charms. Personally I have always been impressed by album that grow on the listener in this manner, albums that have a depth that is revealed slowly.

White‘s voice is a wonderful thing and she uses it to great effect. Her tone lends itself to melancholia but the album never sounds claustrophobic, instead there is hope at its heart and she pulls the songs back from despair.

Fans of Mazzy Star, All About Eve and Alela Diane would be well advised to check out Immanent Fire at their first opportunity. – Banjo

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