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 […]

Mike Batt: The Penultimate Collection

Mike Batt’s long and varied career is celebrated on his new Penultimate Collection double album, with 35 tracks highlighting his work as performer, composer, arranger and key British musical figure — but especially as performer. Not only does it feature Batt’s original solo material — including his international solo hits — but also his own […]

Skylark and The Scorpion: Weather The Storm & Melanie Martinez: K-12

You wait ages for a multimedia concept involving film and music to come along, and then two arrive at the same time. Weather The Storm is accompanied by a 10-part short film set against the Jurassic coastline of the Shetland Isles. Musically, it’s heartfelt and gentle folk; it’s on Guy Garvey’s record label so think […]

Green Day: Father of All…

At last: after unicorning around with rock operas and pulp-rock three-cd novelty releases, Green Day return with a strong album. It’s punk rock ‘n’ roll, albeit sanitised by producer Butch Walker, whose CV includes Taylor Swift. Opener Father Of All … kicks off with drums and riffs that echo Hendrix’s Fire but then becomes more […]

Squirrel Flower: I Was Born Swimming

One might expect some kind of fey folk frippery from a person (Ella O’Connor Williams) who calls herself Squirrel Flower, but this is pretty decent. Squirrel’s got a deeper voice than might be predicted and a fair few of the songs are decently beefy, the guitar playing sturdy in the vein of Dinosaur Jr, albeit […]

Bombay Bicycle Club: Everything Else Has Gone Wrong

Bombay Bicycle Club are cursed by the same, er, curse as Foals: everything they do is good, but you expect that, so it’s hard to assess.Their quality control is just really high. We’ve long thought Foals and Bombay Bicycle are the best bands in the UK so we were doubly pleased when both released new […]

Vetiver: Up on High

Vetiver’s Andy Cabic has a gentle voice — it’s a bit like Iain Archer (ex Snow Patrol, doesn’t sound like Snow Patrol). It’s melodic and tuneful yet Cabic’s singing style does not involve much variation. Like Archer’s solo albums (all recommended), it’s a soothing and warm sound. He sings about life; opener The Living End […]

Courteeners: More. Again. Forever.

So: Courteeners make a good album shocker. It’s not that the songs are better, it’s just got a groove. Opener Heart Attack has a fat baseline and will be a song fans probably love. The lyric “Here we go / new tempo / pick another song for the radio” suggests business as usual (and fondness […]

The Regrettes: How Do You Love?

We like getting excited about new music, but there does come a point where you’ve heard it all before. The Regrettes do what they do well, a catchy bubblegum rock/pop-punk but it’s nothing new and bands like this come, briefly dazzle and disappear (The Pipettes? Black Kids? That other band whose name we forget?) California […]