Review Round-up

8 May

Vagabon ‘Infinate Worlds’

Vagabon, AKA Laetitia Tamko, has received wild acclaim for this, her debut album, but the hype is decidedly premature. Whilst there are glimpses of promise, mostly in the sparse, observational lyrics and pretty melodies, there is little about the record that feels necessary or inventive. Her style of indie rock is disappointingly whimsical in spite of the dark themes that often underpin the songs. Which is a shame because when the album punches out, it bruises. As the title ‘Infinite Worlds’ suggests, many of these songs are about spaces and finding your own place somewhere, anywhere. Almost every song clearly locates the narrator, or subject, in a particular place, at a particular time, in a particular mood. This specificity is interesting but rarely capitalised upon. Occasionally, as it’s likely to in 2017, politics creeps in to the edge of the picture. ‘What about them scares you so much? My standing there threatens your standing there?’ It’s in these brief moments of bite that the hype around Vagabon doesn’t feel so unwarranted.

6/10

Wild Pink ‘Wild Pink’

Wild Pink’s sky scraping anthems find the sweet spot between soaring post-rock, spacey folk and indie sophistication. Add to that mix the near emo levels of sincerity and you have a fairly unprecedented sound. John Ross Is an astute lyricist who balances a naturally pessimistic outlook with a healthy dose of humour and skepticism. It means he’s capable of evocative turns of phrase like ‘dark rain clouds like bruises in the sky’ and somber reflections such as ‘Riding out some psychotropic In the shadow of the World Trade/ Trying hard to understand the culture in my face’ while calling songs things like ‘Wanting Things Makes you Shittier ‘ and ‘Playing Through a Dip Related Injury’. Their unique formula does start to feel a little repetitive in the final third, where the hooks shine less brightly and the melodies become somewhat indistinguishable from one another. But ‘Wild Pink’ is a promising debut, rich in drama and raw emotion, amplified to the heavens.

7.5/10

Charly Bliss ‘Guppy’

Charley Bliss have made the type of sickly sweet pop-punk album that’s so addictive it should come with a health warning. But like all sugary confections, having too much at once can leave you feeling a bit unwell. Eva Hendrick’s shrill, piercing vocals are certainly distinctive but won’t be to everyone’s taste. These vocals, and candy floss melodies, are emphasised, which exasperates the marmite quality of the songs. One thing it emphasises is the band’s enthusiasm and enjoyment, which really is infectious – for a bit. Hendrick’s has a similar knack to Alex Turner for pithy couplets and funny, isolated observations that bounce in to one another when lined up in a row. ‘Forced fun, ill at ease/All I eat is bread and cheese’ she observes at one point; one of many amusing lyrics. ‘Guppy’ is a an enjoyable alt-rock debut that doesn’t take itself seriously and asks that you don’t either.

7/10

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