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 […]

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 […]

Parachute For Gordo: Best Understood by Children and Animals

This is a great album, a clever ramshackle affair of what sounds like jams but is probably carefully arranged. The feel, if not sound, is somewhere between bands such as Ozric Tentacles and bands on the more stoner side (musically, anyway) such as Holy F–K or even Goat. You could also compare them to Explosions […]

Basia Bulat: Are You In Love?

This is a decent pop album that, without being great, manages to wriggle its way into your affections. The chief appeal is her voice, which manages to be throaty and powerful without being too dominant, and while sounding calming. She’s got deep-ish vocals and the sound is slightly wistful, while also being bold. Wistful 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 […]

Littlemen: It’s a Beautiful Thing

If ever an album hid its delights in its opening bars, it’s this. The start of opener The Girl With The Red Blouse sounds something like a country take on Wet Wet Wet’s Something In The Air, a gentle, slow pop tune with soft vocals, no indication of what’s coming. Then it builds in power […]

David Gray: White Ladder (20th Anniversary Reissue)

Long ago there must have been genetic mutation that made it impossible for humans to dislike David Gray’s White Ladder. A final joke from the Neanderthals, maybe. Statistics show that every house in Ireland owns at least one copy, and many have dormer extensions made solely of White Ladder CDs. We vaguely remember the era […]

Lil Pump: Harverd Dropout

Ah the States: first they give us Donald Trump, now it’s Lil Pump. All our scatological dreams are coming true. Sadly no musical ones with this debut from Pump. His schtick is that he’s really smart but dropped out of “Harverd” to rescue rap. He’d probably have been better going to college and doing some […]