Review: Whilst it's now impossible to view Leonard Cohen's final album outside the context of his passing, the fact of the matter is that this lugubrious sage had been ruminating on the nature of endings and goodbyes for much of his near half-century of artistry, and it's hard to think of a figure who's been quite so eloquent and wise in this endeavour. 'You Want It Darker' seem may a fitting way to bow out, but moreso it bears testimony to the fact that Cohen's questing spirit remained undimmed right until the last, and his travails in the exploration of faith, romance and the human condition were never to lose their finesse and bite.
Review: Recent reviews of Spirit, Depeche Mode's first studio set for four years, have remarked at how angry and frustrated the band seems to be throughout. Messers Gore, Gahan and Fletcher are not particularly happy with the way the world is right now, and have laid down an album of rare intensity, seemingly fuelled by a growing desperation at political events on both sides of the Atlantic. Producer James Ford undoubtedly played a role in defining the sound of Sprit, but the combination of raucous, punk style guitars, thrusting electronics and big choruses is what we've come to expect from Depeche Mode.
Review: Quiet revolution seems to be the driving force of this sophomore set from lauded trio London Grammar. Lyricist and vocalist Hannah Reid has expanded her subject matter a little, though angst and love lost are still her major concern. Her delivery, too, is a little gentler, something presumably party inspired by the band's warmer and dreamier musical outlook. There are a few heartfelt sing-alongs, of course, but for the most part Truth is a Beautiful Thing is a more considered and voluptuous excursion.
Review: "Father Of The Bride", Vampire Weekend's first album for six long years, has been receiving praise across the board from critics. It's been variously described as a "modern California pop masterpiece", a "scrapbook of brilliant ideas" and "the band's magnum opus". To our ears, it's certainly joyous and celebratory, with the acclaimed New York band wrapping their usual punchy-indie pop in subtle and not so subtle nods towards everything from Flamenco and Country music, to mournful piano ballads, excitable electronic indie-dance and 1960s baroque pop. In other words, it's a giddy collection of inventive, enjoyable songs that boasts the same eclectic, anything-goes swagger as the Beatles "White Album" or other similar wide-ranging sets.