Review: It's been a whopping six years since the last Spiritualized album and Jason Pierce, the founding, spearhead member, behind the group's success honourably lives up to expanding the notion of 'space rock' into 2018, and beyond. On the airwaves it's been "I'm Your Man" that's charted most attention, a sombre-ish, horn-blowing, western number with a touch of the blues. Meanwhile there's also "Here It Comes (The Road) Let's Go", a song that is said to be a list of instructions that leads the listener to Pierce's house. "The route is real," he says, while singing about rusty gates, paraphernalia and radios. Space may be the place, but if not, try over at Spiritualized.
Review: Troubadour for the dejected, rejected, never-did-fits, Ezra Furman deserves to be ranked among the greatest songwriters of our time. On "Twelve Nudes" he takes the hard-learnt lessons of previous records and channels that anger, desperation, euphoria, fear and hope into an impassioned call to arms - his finest since "Perpetual Motion People". In many ways, this is a far more positive outing, too, or at least one that largely keeps the focus on big noise. "My Teeth Hurt" and "Thermometer" are ferocious, head-banging whirlwinds. "Evening Prayer aka Justice" throws fists to the air with protest-esque pride. "Calm Down aka I Should Not Be Alone" offers Northern Soul-leaning drums and rhythms. Of course, there's still room for freaky, introspective rockabilly melancholia - namely "I Wanna be Your Girlfriend". Like Furman himself on-stage, it's unashamed and unwilling to compromise, making for one of this year's finest bloody-lipped, sweat-soaked rock 'n' roll records.
Review: John Grant delivers a modern contemporary dose of synth pop in his Love Is Magic LP for Bella Union that was co-produced with Midlake's Paul Alexander. It provides the American with his fourth solo album, following 2015's Grey Tickles, Black Pressure, 2013's Pale Green Ghosts, and his 2010 debut Queen of Denmark. This LP, though, arguably provides a fresh thicket of neon-lit sounds that keep the irony palatable enough, "Diet Gum" perhaps the best example. For fans of the soundtrack to Drive, or Parisian duos Justice and Daft Punk, to the avant ballads of Laurie Anderson, Grant's pop kosmische here is a dazzling disco ball to be danced upon in your loudest colours and cackles of laughter.
Things It Would Have Been Helpful To Know Before The Revolution
Ballad Of The Dying Man
A Bigger Paper Bag
When The God Of Love Returns There'll Be Hell To Pay
Two Wildly Different Perspectives
So I'm Growing Old On Magic Mountain
In Twenty Years Or So
Review: Perhaps LA's most well-loved postmodern troubadour, Joshua Tillman brings his third album as Father John Misty, a sprawling and theatrical epic polemic on just about all of our modern society. The quality of his writing here is far more complex and impressive, as heart-wrenching chord progressions and grandiose song structures keep the listener firmly in the palm of his hand. The album's title 'Pure Comedy' is the first stab of bitter irony here, as Tillman seems in a more serious and pensive mood than we became used to with tongue-in-cheek and self-assured previous albums 'Fear Fun' and 'I Love You, Honeybear'. That isn't to say that the album is totally humourless, but that Tillman uses it in smaller doses to antidote the cathartic and anxious emotion to far greater effect.
Review: It may be debatable whether B-sides still exist in the here and now, yet beneath the very slightly prosaic title of this compendium lurks the work of an outfit who - despite having essentially surfed along a very definitive wave of sun-dappled languour since their inception - are capable of delivering offcuts that are every bit the equal of most folks' hits. True, the Spinal Tap insult of 'the musical growth rate of this band cannot even be charted' could be applied to Beach House, but when their catalogue over the ten years of their existence esentially consists of a variety of themes on opiated bliss, we're only too happy to embark on the ride.