Review: Combining indie rock, psychedelic rock and Eastern influences, Flamingods certainly know how to mix things up. Levitation, their 5th album and the first since 2016's Majesty opens with a disco feel via "Paradise Place", before the laid-back grooves of "Koray" provide a leeway for more eclectic and dance-centric tracks to take hold later on in the album. The second half of the record takes us into more spacey territory best heard on "Moonshine On Water", before the band's trippy, psychedelic influences come strongly to the fore on "Mantra East" and Eastern melodies shine through on "Nizwa". An eclectic, psyched-out adventure of a record, Levitation is an album that will tempt you into Flamingods' esoteric world.
Review: Few people adhere so gloriously to the old-fashioned idea of a pop star than Brandon Flowers, who more often than not comes across - in classic Ziggy Stardust fashion - much like an alien emissary who's landed on the planet designed solely for this purpose. By no means a master of understatement, he nonetheless maintains a positively effortless expertise in making the kind of stadium-ready barnstormers that many others struggle to create. Moreover, he's excelled himself on 'The Desired Effect', producing an uplifting, refreshingly unselfconscious selection fashioned entirely from bombastic pure pop glory; the influences of Pet Shop Boys and Springsteen may be manifest, but this confection is Flowers' and his alone.
Review: Despite Dave Grohl's position in the rock firmament, the man rarely seems content to rest on his laurels, and this is proven once again by the mission he and the band embarked on to come up with Sonic Highways, their eighth album proper. Travelling around America to simultaneously record this album and create the HBO documentary series based on the musical history and local scenes of eight cities, he took inspiration from those he interviewed - from Dolly Parton to Bad Brains - to craft an album rich with the passion that first compelled him to play music. The result is the most life-affirming Foo Fighters record in well over a decade - explosive, melodious and fierily idealistic, it's a modern rock masterclass.
Review: Admirable reissue imprint Comb & Razor Sound continues to unearth, license and re-print lesser-known gems from around the world. Their latest find is Fire Woman, the incredibly rare third album from little-known nine-piece Foundars 15. Interestingly, the album's tracks are not straight-up Afro-funk or Afro-beat workouts. Instead, they various take in Cymande style reggae/soul fusion, psychedelic '60s style pop, wild funk rock/Afrobeat fusion, Hammond-laden torch songs, and skewed Afro-jazz. It's a curious but hugely entertaining hotch-potch of styles that makes for hugely enjoyable listening from start to finish. Highlights include fuzzy, solo-laden closer "Ekele", the anthem-like "Simin Boogie" and Fela Kuti-ish "True Light".