Not sure what’s on the shelves? Here’s Long Live Vinyl’s comprehensive guide to this week’s new releases…

01 Liam Gallagher – Why Me? Why Not.

Liam GallagherIn uncharacteristically humble fashion, Liam Gallagher recently described his music as being like a Sunday roast. Hearty, traditional, you know where you are with it. That’s rather selling his new album short, though. While Why Me? Why Not. ticks every box that fans will require of it, it’s often an ambitious advance from his solo debut.

Like As You Were, it kicks off with a stomping call to arms – Shockwave has all of the snarling swagger that you’d expect from Gallagher Jnr as it clatters into view. The mid-paced likes of Meadow, with its George Harrison-aping guitar solo, and the vintage 70s vibes of Alright Now recall the lighter moments of Oasis, but on the expansively dramatic title track with its descending strings motif, the ‘Jerry Lee Lewis Goes To Burnage’ piano pounder Halo and quirkily arranged The River, the stakes are impressively raised. While most of Why Me? Why Not. makes good on Liam’s promise to dial up the aggression of his first solo LP, Now That I’ve Found You, complete with cooing backing vocals, could be his poppiest performance to date. For those playing the ‘Which one’s about Noel?’ game, among the many contenders are the emotive One Of Us (“You’d said we’d live forever… you were only one of us”) and the skewed Smiths-on-steroids closer and album standout Gone – the latter even includes a charismatic spoken word section amid some stabbing strings. Nobody plays the scissors, mind you, but there is a recorder solo…  8/10

02 M83 – DSVII

M83Though Digital Shades Vol.1 was inspired by Brian Eno’s ambient recordings, there are fewer signs of his influence here. Colonies coddles with swathes of synth, and Mirage shimmers warmly and welcomingly. Lunar Sun begins as its name insists, yet can’t resist a palatable flute solo, and Temple Of Sorrow’s gentle pulse is eventually overwhelmed by its colossal climax. Furthermore, with wild keyboard solos and choral vocals, Hell Riders succeeds in merging Mike Oldfield, Vangelis, Francis Lai and Jean-Michel Jarre.  7/10

 

03 Hiss Golden Messenger – Terms Of Surrender

Hiss Golden MessengerMC Taylor’s impecible musical heritage elevates this latest entry in a catalogue now in double figures. While Phil and Brad Cook are again present, Taylor has broadened his horizons, inviting outside influences. Among the expanded roll call is The National guitarist Aaron Dessner, and My Wing’s central riff bears a resemblance to the Ohio band’s This Is The Last Time. Jenny Lewis, meanwhile, adds breathy undertones to the rootsy Old Enough To Wonder Why. Whip’s howling harmonica and cooking blues guitar provide grit, while there’s often familial remorse among the gospel and soul, not least on the sweet title track and Happy Birthday Baby, on which Taylor apologises to his daughter for “all these miles that I roam”. Southern class again shines brightly.  8/10

04 Keane – Cause And Effect

KeaneIt’s 15 years since Hopes And Fears, a teenage breakup album, turned Keane from schoolboy friends to global stars. Now, after a seven-year hiatus, they’re back with another breakup record, though its more mature nature is clear from the way Stupid Things’ confessional outpourings slip from “I’m working late / You know I hate/ To miss the kids’ bedtime again” to “I drank too much/ A working lunch” without missing a beat. Otherwise, though older and wiser – and despite You’re Not Home’s sensitive opening notes initially tripping over themselves like mischievous children, and Tom Chaplin’s weary voice sounding appealingly like Neil Hannon – Keane have changed little, meaning they speak familiar truths in extremely familiar fashions. Consequently, that opener can’t resist a redemptive climax, and Love Too Much boasts a ‘poptimistic’, Coldplay sheen, underlined by its frivolous keyboard riff, while Strange Room harks back to when Radiohead’s The Bends was ubiquitous. Phases is also almost interchangeable with Coldplay’s Yellow, while I Need Your Love sounds like Gary Barlow rewrote Rod Stewart’s Sailing as a love song for Travis. All of this is fine if you like a heart on a sleeve, but the era they inhabit is underlined by a tune called Put The Radio On.  6/10

05 Jenny Hval – The Practise Of Love

The Practise Of LoveOn her most accessible work since her earliest days, Jenny Hval shifts from discussion of menstruation on 2016’s Blood Bitch album to romance and intimacy. Her intellect hasn’t dimmed, though: few voices coil around cerebral lyrics with such ease, as she does on Lions, where guest Vivian Wang’s spoken words question the existence of God; and few are bold enough to namecheck Georgia O’Keeffe and Joni Mitchell before describing Six Red Cannas as “tearing up the heavens/ opening the zipper”. Félicia Atkinson contributes to Thumbsucker’s mystery and synths shimmer on High Alice, sparkle on Accident and soar on Ashes To Ashes, a song about a dream about a song that’s not yet been written, which gives Pet Shop Boys a feminine makeover. 7/10

 

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