Review roundup

10 Jun

Jens Leckman – ‘Life Will See You Now’

As deeply entertaining as it is entertainingly deep, little else released this year matches the pretty poetry of ‘Life Will See You Now.’ After the heartbroken ballads of his last record, Leckman’s latest collection returns to the detailed storytelling of his best work. He ingeniously narrates a young couple’s first fight, allows us to eavesdrop on the thoughts of a man secretly in love with his best friend, and recalls a conversation with a petrified bride at the wedding he was booked to perform at. The musical arrangements are typically luxurious, with generous helpings of horns, strings, accordions and even some samples. Possibly his finest achievement to date.

8/10

Slowdive – ‘Slowdive’

For their first album in nearly two decades, Slowdive have expanded their signature sound to incorporate modern textures and mature themes alongside unashamed shoegazing. It’s as good as anything they made in their heyday. Mesmerising, melodic and self assured from start to finish; it may be a cliche but it really is as though Slowdive have never been away.

8/10

Alexandra Savior – ‘Belladona of Sadness’

This is the debut album by Alexandra Savior, the young protege of James Ford and Alex Turner, and, Columbia record’s latest prospect. Savior is an undeniable talent with a silky voice and charismatic charm but she never quite shrugs off the impression that she is merely a Lana Del Rey wannabe and this merely an album of half baked Alex Turner cast-offs (Turner ‘co-wrote’ the album). The songs are good but after a while become repetitive. Moody melodies, minor chords and horror movie moves are initially intriguing but overused. Eventually even the second rate, but still brilliant, Turner-isms (‘she gets in corners where water cant’, ‘strawberry split personality’, ‘she’s scorching hot enough to hit save’) begin to grate – interesting, strung together couplets that frustratingly don’t add up to anything substantial or even coherent. Perhaps tellingly, the best song, ‘Cupid’, is the one that feels least encumbered by the Alex Turner/Lana Del Rey comparisons. It just flows so easily, with a languid melody and sweet, simple chord progression. It feels so much lighter and more natural than the rest of her material. This is the right direction. Despite my misgivings, If Savior is given the chance to now grow in to her own skin, she could be an artist to keep tabs on.

6.5/10

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