Something For The Weekend – New Vinyl Out 2 March
Five brand-new albums on vinyl, out this week – featuring menacing drones, apocalyptic pop, veiled threats and the best Cornish thing since the pasty – reviewed by your pals at Long Live Vinyl magazine…
Here’s a mouthwatering prospect for indie-rock fans – not only have The Breeders returned with their first album in a decade, but they’ve done so with the same line-up that brought us the seminal Last Splash from 1993. There are few signs of ring rustiness and they hit the ground running with a duo of sprightly two-minute calls to arms, the darkly dramatic Nervous Mary and the terrific riff-laden grind of Wait In The Car. Few tracks outstay their welcome on a lean 11-song collection that clocks in at just 34 minutes. The introspective Spacewoman ebbs and flows nicely and Dawn: Making An Effort is a slice of shoegazy wistfulness. A scene-stealing turn from drummer Jim Macpherson provides the album’s highlight – a cover of Amon Düül II’s Archangel’s Thunderbird – on a record that feels nicely paced throughout. No new Cannonballs, but occasional flashes of impressive firepower, nevertheless.
Not content with speaking largely in Welsh on her last album, Gwenno now takes on the even rarer language of Cornish on her follow-up. However, while the language may remain impenetrable to most, the sonic lexicon of the album feels immediately warm and familiar. The record’s dreamy Broadcast-like psych pop has a flowing, immersive and comforting presence from its introspective opening moments. The textures are infinitely rich, as swirls of keys merge with the hum of the bass to create a cloud-like ambience that further adds to the floating nature of Gwenno’s already lush vocals. There are slight nods to the cosmic sounds of 1970s Germany in the driving rhythms and infectious melodies, but it avoids the trappings of feeling nostalgic or repetitive, instead managing to create a dream-like soundscape that moves forward in an all-encompassing manner. This will almost certainly be the greatest Cornish-language pop record that you will hear all year.
Daniel Dylan Wray
Everything Was Beautiful, And Nothing Hurt
To many, Moby’s 15th album will prove a relief. Having vented his spleen, he’s ready to unwind, and, unlike 2016’s These Systems Are Failing and 2017’s More Fast Songs About The Apocalypse – which explored his radical punk roots – his latest nods to the blockbuster styles of 1999’s Play and 2002’s 18. Panoramic opener Mere Anarchy overflows with lush synths, its expansive tone more regal than anarchic, and The Ceremony of Innocence’s rolling piano lines and apocalyptic synths are no less commanding; while The Sorrow Tree’s sparkling pop recalls Goldfrapp’s sleek, disco excursions. His mood, though, is otherwise often sombre: he sounds perplexed on a reworking of gospel staple Like A Motherless Child, while The Last Of Goodbyes, with its quiet, falsetto vocals, acoustic guitar and muffled beat, hints at Radiohead. Welcome To Hard Times, however, could have fallen off a late-90s chillout compilation.
Of the maximalist approach to his third solo album, Jonathan Wilson says: “We’re all fishing downstream from Townes Van Zandt, so the only thing left to do is go big”. Save for the synth excursion on Hard To Get Over, the influence of Trevor Horn that Wilson talks about in the pre-publicity for Rare Birds is hard to detect. Instead, his previous 60s and 70s classic-rock touchstones still bubble to the surface on this expansive and multi-layered meditation about a failed relationship. Wilson flits from perky psych-rocker Trafalgar Square to graceful introspection on Me, soars beautifully on Over The Midnight, then serves up a George Harrison-esque slide-guitar masterclass with There’s A Light. The tougher slide-blues rock of the title track is a clear standout, alongside psychedelic homage Miriam Montague. If the NSFW lyrics to 49 Hairflips come as a jolt, Wilson’s reactions to heartbreak elsewhere on the record mostly sound beatific.
There’s a simultaneous feeling of vastness and minimalism that opens Suuns’ fourth LP. Look No Further combines a groggy, drum-driven hip-hop beat with an odd, slightly creepy, rolling melody as it crawls forward, resembling early Beck clashing with a mid-tempo Death Grips. It sets the tone for an album that feels wide open, an unrestricted exploration that doesn’t seem especially concerned by genre or convention as it snakes between lo-fi, pop, industrial ambient, electronica and unclassifiable, oddball esoterica. Tracks such as Watch You, Watch Me absolutely hurtle forward and it’s in these moments that the album feels as though it’s bursting with ambition and perpetually propulsive. It might make for a stylistically varied, and occasionally incoherent, record, but much like Kid A – which it feels very closely linked to – its seamless ability to crowbar in a melody beneath heavy drones and beats remains mightily impressive. As a result, it feels loaded with pay-offs.
Daniel Dylan Wray
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