Category: Pop rock

  • Tom Petty: Hypnotic Eye

    We’re fans of Mr Petty, and think this is his best album in years, if not ever. There are no obvious standouts but it’s top class throughout and we are enjoying it immensely. American Dream Plan B opens the album with a grungy Neil Young-style riff: it’s Petty saying: “I might be 63 but I…

  • Vena Portae: Vena Portae

    Some weeks we get one good album, others none but this week we’ve got three and it’s difficult to know where to start. On balance we think Vena Portae, an Anglo-Swedish alt-folk band, just nick it from that Tom Petty. We didn’t have high hopes: one third of Vena Portae is folkie singer songwriter Emily…

  • Lewis Watson: The Morning

    We like this; it reminds us of Tracy Thorn’s 1982 release A Distant Shore, a student classic: nice to listen to as you discussed life without being too demanding. Watson plays pleasant acoustic songs with simple lyrics, ready-made for radio play or indeed, repeated plays in students’ halls of residence. Opener Stones Around The Sun…

  • Britpop At The BBC

    A slightly misleading title for this triple CD: two CDs are songs picked by BBC listeners, and only on CD3 are there BBC sessions; as a collection of songs it is excellent. Britpop was never a musical movement, just a marketing tool that coincided with a cocky new PM and some really good tunes, which…

  • Basia Bulat: Tall Tall Shadow

    This has been knocking around for a couple of months: it’s really good, but what to say about it? It’s the third full-length album by Canadian singer-songwriter Bulat, who sounds like she should be English and a graduate of the Brit school: she’s got that full, confidence voice that indie girl singers often boast; think…

  • Elvis: That’s The Way It Is

    Yet another reissue for the King: this deluxe edition is billed as the “the monumental definitive edition” — even definitive is a worn out word now — of his 1970 album and concert documentary, all in a box set of eight CDs and two DVDs. It includes an expanded version of original LP, six complete…

  • Gramercy Arms: The Seasons Of Love

      Many albums are suited to a certain time and place; the label on this should say: “Best enjoyed in the garden on a sunny day.” The New York collective of musicians is masterminded by main songwriter, Dave Derby, whose Lloyd Cole connections should give an idea of what to expect (Cole adds vocals to…

  • Linkin Park: The Hunting Party

      LP rose to fame doing rap metal, their debut selling a trillion records and subsequent albums seeing them go more melodic stadium rock. They’ve been producing entertaining but workmanlike rock for some years now. This album, their sixth, sees them going back to their roots with a slick nu metal sound. We quite like…

  • Choir of Young Believers: This Is For The White In Your Eyes

      The Amazon page for this contains many reviews from people who loved Swedish noir crime drama The Bridge and bought this album because opening track Hollow Talk is the theme. Many seem disappointed, with comments such as “I gave it away to someone else,” “the rest is pretty mediocre” and “most likely for the…

  • The Burning: Hell People

      We’d not heard of The Burning Hell before — it’s Mathias Kom and a rotating cast of players, and this is their sixth album since 2007 — but they play witty pop in the style of They Might Be Giants (who they sound like) or Fountains of Wayne: clever lyrics that tell stories set…