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: 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".