Alec Benjamin: These Two Windows

Singer-songwriter Alec Benjamin reportedly made his name in 2019 with a mixtape, which was streamed 540m times worldwide. This is his debut album. Our first observation would be that Benjamin has an androgynous voice. The first few plays we assumed he was a girl named Alec; when we Googled him, we seriously considered that we’d […]

Primo! Sogni

We should like Primo! more than we do. They play indie punk in its truest sense, and will sound familiar to any ageing music fans who remember the rise of the DIY ethos, and songs commenting on life. This being 40+ years since indie first emerged, Primo! are more polished than the original bands but […]

The Loft Club: Dreaming The Impossible

The influences of Devon boys The Loft Club can probably be written on the back of a postage stamp, ripped into quarters: it takes very little space to write “The Beatles”. It’s not that they’re going Wooo Ooo Ooo all the time and singing about Cpl Coriander’s Tindr Combo, it’s more the feel of their […]

The Dears: Lovers Rock

Montréal quintet The Dears, led by husband and wife duo Murray Lightburn and Natalia Yanchak and a floating assemblage of musicians, have been going for some years but never really cracked it (assuming that getting more famous and playing bigger venues is their definition of success). We bought an album when they were on the […]

Badly Drawn Boy: Banana Skin Shoes

Private Eye mocks the term but Badly Drawn Boy is a bit of a national treasure; surely everyone likes him? Or at least likes the idea of him, a bobble-hatted troubadour turning out polished pop gems. You want all his releases to be good but if they’re not, you forgive him. We saw him live […]

Non Canon: Non Canon II

I don’t known much for sure but can say with utter certainty that Non Canon (aka Barry Dolan) has the most rabid fans in the country; either that or a large family. I reviewed his first album under this name, the imaginatively entitled Non Canon (sans I), and said that while I could see that […]

HMLTD: West of Eden

The Guardian reports that HMLTD were active some years ago, winning a good reputation for gigs, getting signed by Sony and then dropped. You can see why; this album is not replete with hit singles, good as it is. So this is their debut and the Press notes call it “labyrinthine”, not an unreasonable description. […]

Joe Gideon: Armagideon

Joe must have thought this was a clever play on words … until we got locked down and it became a bit portentous. Gideon has been around a while and had a hit with his sister, known as The Shark (in musical circles anyway). Gideon’s style is a sing-songy way of speaking over dark, layered […]

Jiggy: Hypernova

Whatever you’re expecting, Jiggy is not it. Who would expect trad Irish tunes to mix so well with world and a Stereo MCs-type dance sound? For a start you can’t work out where they’re from; they sound Irish but they sing in French and some kind of Middle-European language at various points. The line-up is […]

Smoke Fairies: Darkness Brings The Wonders Home

We’ve never really warmed to Smoke Fairies (Katherine Blamire and Jessica Davies), who’ve been going for years, releasing music every now and then, but this is solid, comforting indie, with injections of goth and blues. The vocals may be your decider, as they’re bold, powerful and to the fore. The album opens with On The […]