Arcade Messiah: The Host

We first came across Arcade Messiah years ago, when we had a double (?) CD to review; we thought it was the career-end of a US cult prog band but they must have been very early releases from Arcade Messiah, and now we feel bad. Particularly as he gave this album away.Arcade Messiah is one-man […]

Bearcraft: Fabrefactions

This is a peculiar album, in that we can’t make our minds up. At first we thought it started off strongly and tailed off to be rather forgettable, yet track nine turns out to be a proper earworm. It’s electronic pop with pretentions to grandeur that means it’s more than just electronic beeps with a […]

Nick Faber … presents The Lost Highway Tapes

It’s always a problem reviewing albums from bands like Biffy Clyro or Foals: you know the sound, you expect the quality, and unless they cover Agadoo badly, you’re not going to be surprised. It might be the pinnacle of musical perfection, but it’s hard to get worked up about. The flipside is that albums from […]

Ward Richmond: Highly Meditated

This charmer of an album is both interesting – Richmond has been in bands for years but now reflects on getting sober, becoming a father, yoga and meditation – and melodic. The first song is either nihilistic, or about some kind of meditative revelation. Before the music even starts he’s telling us: “I’m thinking about […]

Asylums: Genetic Cabaret

Asylums first album Killer Brain Waves was great: heads down no-nonsense rock played fast and tight but with lots of melody and a nice DIY ethos about it; a good band having fun. They obviously did ok out of it (and the second, which we missed) and this new one sounds more expensively made … […]

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 […]