The Magic Gang: The Magic Gang

There’s a long line of bands producing catchy guitar-based pop, to varying degrees of success, on what one could call the Weezer-Echosmith spectrum, Weezer clearly being the daddies, Echosmith truly excellent but less successful. Or there’s Black Kids, who shone brightly but briefly, or Fountains of Wayne. The list goes on. We suspect The Magic […]

Tom Misch: Geography

Years ago, we briefly flirted with trip hop/funk (Hull’s Fila Brazillia were a favourite) and this new album from Misch (born five years after Fila Brazillia formed) takes us back to those days: sleek, jazz-tinged funky pop that’ll be playing in any wine bar you care to enter for the next few years. There’s a […]

Pet Shop Boys: Introspective

In other reviews of Pet Shop Boys reissues (Please, Actually) we’ve enjoyed the 12” extended mixes on the bonus CD. With Introspective, the tracks are the extended mixes, the PSB later whittling them down for singles. It comes with the usual excellent sleeve notes — worth the price of admission on their own — which […]

Lisa Stansfield: Deeper

We weren’t sure what this was going to be like, except that if the Press budget extends down the food chain to us, great things must be expected. Deservedly so. Banish thoughts of cheesy pop or pop diva-ish warbling: this is a great pop/RnB album and Stansfield gives a masterclass in how to produce music: […]

Vance Joy: Nation Of Two

Joy is a singer/songwriter, the basic format of his songs between him and acoustic guitar. He’s ok; to call him average is harsh — to write and play one decent song is too much for most of us — but he brings nothing new to the game. Noah And The Whale did something similar, and […]

Speak, Brother: Young and Brave

Just to get the negativity over first: Speak, Brother are aimed at the Mumfords market, without the world-class songs that made the latter famous. Despite the mockery that followed Mumfords for a while because of their omnipresence, they did write some very good songs. That they were nice guys and being good live also helped, […]

Nick JD Hodgson: Tell Your Friends

Hodgson was the Kaiser Chiefs’ drummer and main songwriter but don’t expect any laddish sing-alongs. While drunken students chanting: “Ruby, Ruby, Ruby” might help his pension pot, he’s better than that and has written tunes for the likes of Mark Ronson, Hurts and Shirley Bassey. He plays all the instruments on this album; he and […]

Pet Shop Boys: Please

We’ve had the later re-releases, now here are the remasters of the early albums, with Please being the debut. Two things leap out: first, it’s truly majestic pop; second, they’d have to release a lot of terrible albums (which they haven’t) to even partially squander the goodwill albums like this built up. No wonder people […]

Kim Wilde: Here Come The Aliens

Yeah, so you’re Kim Wilde, pop singer, best known for being poptastic and slightly cheesy, and though you’re gigging aplenty, your new collection of songs is so good you want to reach a wider audience. What you going to do? How about package the new collection as a 50s pulp fiction sci fi film and […]

Josh Taerk: Stages

Taerk (pronounced Turk) looks and sounds like a refugee from Top Of The Pops in the 80s, up there with people like Nik Kershaw and Howard Jones — singer/songwriters far better at writing tunes then looking hip. We’d not heard of him, but you can tell he’s one those “big in their own country” acts, […]