Declan Welsh and The Decadent West: Cheaply Bought, Expensively Sold

Declan Welsh and The Decadent West should have a simpler name, preferably beginning with The. They’re a The band: their name suggests a kind of whimsy, but this they lack. They’re a straightforward indie band with a penchant for songs that sound like hit singles; not the same as actual hit singles, but they sound […]

Liam Gallagher: Why Me? Why Not

Noel’s younger brother has teamed up with his “army of songwriters”, as the older Gallagher mocked, to deliver a likable pop album that mixes two things Noel was best known for, sounding like The Beatles and writing Oasis crowd-pleasers. Most of the tracks could be late-era Beatles outtakes, down to George Harrison’s guitar gently weeping, […]

Amy Studt: Happiest Girl In The Universe

This dreamy pop album opens gently, Studt caressing the microphone and pleasing people who experience autonomous sensory meridian response (those of you who like to hear wrapping paper fondled and gently-spoken sibilants). After this she sings more forcefully, at the top of her register, the music remaining gentle. She is somewhere between Dido, Bjork and […]

No Hot Ashes: Hardship Starship

No Hot Ashes have the potential to be massive. The sound is somewhere between the Libertines and indie bands of that ilk, and slicker pop bands; Kubb maybe. The lyrics are more Busted than Arctic Monkeys. They’ve got something of the classic pop instrumentation of eighties pop bands (even Wham! in places), all presided over […]

Metronomy: Metronomy Forever

Gone is the wonky synth and in its place highly catchy and slick pop tunes and (to our ears) an album-long tribute to the band’s Ferdinand Mount’s influences over the years. He recorded his early albums on his own and this sounds like it’s just him, too. The result is some of his best songs […]

Emily Breeze: Rituals

This is a studied act, presenting the kind of music an intellectual type might believe reflects the cool chic followers of Jack Kerouac would adopt on a pilgrimage to La Rive Gauche in Paris. It’s apparently effortless and cynical, but served up with English wit, so you can always claim satire if anyone laughs. As […]

Reverend And The Makers: Best Of

We assume The Rev and his Makers are still going because the band’s Jon McClure is popular with journalists (so gets good coverage), and writes honest, heart-on-his-sleeve tunes, to which fans can relate. We recall he refused a record deal when his Sheffield homeboys Arctic Monkeys hit it big, preferring to work on his own […]

King Calaway: Rivers

Manufactured bands are nothing new, but this is the first country band we’ve seen. It’s probably giving websites whose names include “rebel” and “outlaw” collective heart attacks. King Calaway are your stereotypical boyband, five singers who don’t write any of the tunes. They seem to have had money thrown at them and have — it […]

Le Cygne Noir: Shadow of A Wrecking Ball no

This zombie apocalypse concept album came out on Friday 13th and is destined to go down as a classic; cult classic maybe, but classic nonetheless. To say it’s ambitious would be an understatement; it’s huge in scope and styles but the album that keeps coming back to you as it plays is … Pink Floyd’s […]

Larkin Poe: Venom and Faith

This is an album that falls between pop and blues. It’s like one of those visual illusions, where upside down plates suddenly flip to the right way round. In this case you’ve got to see it as a pop album rather than blues; it sits a little uneasily until you do. There’s a mix of […]