Review: Since debuting in the early 2000s, Dutch trio Kraak & Smaak have established themselves as one of Europe's premier purveyors of eclectic, funk-fuelled dancefloor positivity. It's little surprise then to find that their new album "Pleasure Centre" - their sixth studio set in total - is another joyous romp. This time round, they've drawn more influence from West Coast style blue-eyed soul and yacht rock while continuing to offer nods towards boogie, P-funk, synth-pop, '80s soul, jazz-funk and Rotary Connection (see the superb "Twilght", with vocals by rising star Izo FitzRoy). It's a wonderfully warm and attractive blend, with the result being a superb collection of dancefloor cuts and heady downtempo numbers that all adds up to their best album to date.
Review: Over the course of her three year solo career, London-based Australian Carla Dal Forno has steadily moved from a dark, stylish and bleak all-electronic sound to something a little warmer and more organic in tone. On "Look Up Sharp", her third album, she continues this trend, complimenting her usual lo-fi drum machines and synths with low-slung post-punk bass and the kind of pastoral, traditional instrumentation more often associated with folk music (think flutes, recorders, clarinet etc.). It's a curious blend, but one that works wonderfully well throughout the album, and especially on those songs to which she adds evocative, often melancholic vocals.
Review: How in the name of all that's understandable can you follow up a Mercury Prize-nominated album that looked at the state of the world and answered all our concerns and questions about that in one fell swoop? How about by offering a heavier, louder second chapter, picking up where the last left off and yet emphasising different focal points? That seems to be the idea with "Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost - Part 2". It's Foals at their rockiest and most raucous, with the likes of (aptly-titled) "Black Bull" distorting the vocals and raising the grit on those guitars to 11. Things start off far more sparse, with "Red Desert"'s desolate synth keys invoking some dystopian wasteland. Perhaps the next destination for our civilisation. Whatever you think, from there we call at head-nodding, funk-driven rhythms, tear-inducing piano solos ("Ikaria" is pure beauty) and a finale of epic, soaring, hypnotic art-pop.