Tom Bailey: Science Fiction

This comes 27 years after the release of the Thompson Twins’ eighth and final album Queer, and is the band’s founder and front man’s debut solo album. Whatever else he’s been doing, he’s stashed away some good songs. This manages to sound both like a throwback to the 80s, and something modern. The song-writing is […]

Jorja Smith: Lost and Found

While Anne-Marie goes for the formulaic and makes a fun album, Smith shows how the grown-ups do it. The 20-year-old singer has a smooth, soulful voice and blends soul and trip-hop on her debut album in a way that’s both retro and modern. She reminds us of one of our guilty pleasures, Deniece Williams, the […]

Sarah Blasko: Depth of Field

This fine pop album has its roots firmly in the 80s, while sounding modern: no dated, overly brassy 80s production here. The feel of the music reminds us of classic acts such as from Donna Summer to INXS, and even Pictures at 11-era Robert Plant, as well as Kim Carnes’ Bette Davis Eyes, the latter […]

Anne-Marie: Speak Your Mind

This is everything that’s right and wrong about modern pop music. Wrong, because it’s as formulaic as they come – EDM beat, X Factor-style vocals, lavish production but little melody (it’s all about the beat, man….) — but right because it’s impossible not to enjoy it, and it’s cheerful. Anne-Marie can sing: Wikipedia reports she […]

Matt Maltese: Bad Contestant

He’s got an unusual name, and this is an unusual album, somewhere between Frank Sinatra and Stephin Merritt, of The Magnetic Fields fame; his approach is also like Squeeze, slightly lugubrious pop with lyrics that tell stories. You could cite Morrissey, too, or The Divine Comedy. Maltese talks about life with a perennial hangdog expression, […]

Sean McGowan: Son Of The Smith

This came as a download and we thought it was Shane McGowan, drunken Pogue; we were not expecting the “cor blimey guv’nor” sound of the latest everyman poet McGowan clearly hopes to be. McGowan is a cross between sturdy man of the people Frank Turner and young voice of the streets Jamie T. His band […]

Weezer: Pacific Daydream

Even for us this review is tardy: the Press release is dated 1st December (2017, we’re not that useless), though it may have arrived after that date. Not that they’d mind; their work-rate is sporadic (though 12 albums in 24 years is not too bad), with main-man Rivers Cuomo enrolling at Harvard University after their […]

Steele: Paroxysm

Steel is following in a line of atmospheric singers from, well, forever: Charlotte Gainsbourg is a veteran, people like Lana Del Rey are newer. Steele is half-Swedish and half-British, and lives in Stockholm. She’s got something of that Scandi dreaminess going on in her music. She calls her music “melancholic, bittersweet and progressive” and “cinematic […]

Rebelution: Free Rein

This is reggae, but the sunny, chilled music reminds us most of Jack Johnson; music for lighting a fire on the beach after a hard day’s surfing. Then sinking some beers and saying dude a lot. Rebelution are new to us but the internet informs us they’re big in the States. Their first full-length album, […]

Cruising With…. Jane McDonald

Ahoy,  shipmates! Trying to rate this on musical terms is as pointless as a bookie’s pencil. There is no pattern to the songs — the set-list goes from Ultravox’s Vienna to Frozen’s Let It Go, and takes in Mambo Italiano and Bjork’s It’s Oh So Quiet. Eclectic, to say the least. To call the covers […]