Sunday, 22 March 2020

Short Attention Span Record Reviews March 2020: Home Quarantine Edition


ALKALINE TRIO – EP
Nine solid new minutes of pop-punk to compensate for a cancelled tour with Bad Religion. (7)

ARBOURETUM – Let It All In

I’ve OD’ed on psychedelic folk rock albums lately but this is one of the better ones, largely thanks to the modern-sounding synths that differentiate it from the throwbacks. (8)

CODE ORANGE – Underneath

Code Orange add industrial/electronics to their competent metalcore this time around sounding more mature and, dare I say, catchy. But no, it’s not the metal album of the year. (7)

HUMAN IMPACT – Human Impact

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a bunch of old farts that used to be in Unsane, Cop Shoot Cop and Swans release an early 90’s-style noise rock album bringing back memories of the Lower East Side and making every young buck like Code Orange out there sound like pussies. And, by the way, Cop Shoot Cop was the best fucking band you’ve never heard. (8)

LUCIFER – Lucifer III

Starting off with a song titled “Ghosts” tells you everything you need to know about this album and Johanna Sadonis’ ambitions within the “occult doom rock” spectrum but, whereas Tobias Forge employs subversive shock tactics to reach a wider audience, she prefers to play it safe and just go for the lowest common denominator. (7)

MARIA McKEE – La Vita Nuova

If you were expecting the powerhouse who used to front the cowpunk band Lone Justice 35 years ago (fuck! 35 years ago!) or the hitmaker who sang power ballads on Tom Cruise movie soundtracks in the early 90’s you’ll be shocked to discover that La Vita Nuova, McKee’s first album in ages, is more art rock than anything else, with florid songwriting, literary lyrics and startlingly original, complicated melody lines occasionally verging on the operatic. The only constant from the past is that her voice –now deeper, mature– will still give you goosebumps. (9)

MYRKUR – Folkesange

No black metal on this one, she went ahead and made a pure neofolk record, and once again it’ll prove divisive. (7)

NADIA REID – Out Of My Province

RYIL Laura Marling, Sharon Van Etten, and other totally awesome female singer-songwriters. (8)

NECKS – Three

It’s amazing how this trio operates within the framework of ambient instrumental jazz but ends up stirring the same emotions as the most intense stuff the Swans have released in the last decade – it’s no coincidence that they moonlighted as Swans collaborators recently. (8)

OZZY OSBOURNE – Ordinary Man

Of course it’s overblown and overproduced, of course there are ballads, of course there are guests, but still – if this proves to be his last album, it’s good enough to be a fine epilogue to a true legend’s 50-year career. (7)

SIENA ROOT – The Secret Of Our Time

If you’re looking for a 70’s-flavored hard rock album with female vocals this month, Siena Root have done better than Lucifer. (8)

VARIOUS ARTISTS – Come On Let’s Go! Power Pop Gems From The 70’s & 80’s

Actually released several months ago in 2019 but I just managed to get around to it – a fantastic compilation of classics (Raspberries, Romantics, Flamin’ Groovies, Big Star, Utopia…) and total unknowns, plus great liner notes that go deep into the story of each featured band, make this an almost perfect introduction to the power pop genre. (9)

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