Review Roundup

29 Jun

Katy Perry – ‘Witness’

‘Witness’ is the most exhausting, try hard, badly misjudged, over reaching pop album I’ve heard in many years. A truely inexplicable misfire on every level, from the superficial to the fundamental. Perry’s new found and all too convenient ‘woke persona’ is unconvincing, and a duplicity reveals itself from the opening title track onwards. The hooks are diluted beneath a cliched and personality xeroxed production and the melodies are her weakest by a distance. Her last album contained two number one singles that shone amongst a sea of dross. The one before that contained six number ones. The four singles released so far from ‘Witness’ have failed to crack to top ten. Diminishing returns that, on this occasion, tell the whole story.


Forest Swords – ‘Compassion’

The persistent rattling percussion of ‘Compassion’, Forest Sword’s first release in several years, undercuts moments of extended, eerie silence. It’s an album that twists, turns and surprises from start to finish, never occupying a single sound or mood. This is a contemplative, but often confrontational, album that you’d be hard pressed to find a suitable context for. It wouldn’t translate at a typical club – the melodies are too dark and twisted, the rhythms too unpredictable. Yet this is hardly comfortable home listening either – it’s not what you’d call emotive, and the politics are too buried to warrant a serious engagement. So where does it belong? It’s a mysterious space you imagine Forest Swords would be happy occupying. This is uncanny electronica meant to unnerve and enchant. To that end it’s undeniably successful.


The Amazons – ‘The Amazons’

The Amazons performance on Jools Holland a matter of weeks ago was one of the most excruciating live performances I’ve had the misfortune of seeing on the show. Out of tune, out of time and out of breath, the lead singer had all the charisma of a package holiday sales rep. Dressed from head to toe in skinny black denim and chugging out the same mid paced riff rock that hasn’t been updated since 1993, nothing about the group made me think their debut album would be at all engaging. It isn’t. The Amazons lack of originality would be forgivable if the songs were up to par but they’re painfully bland and repetitive with a poor mix emphasising the feeble vocals. Opener ‘Stay With Me’ is the most encouraging moment, perhaps because it arrives straight out the gate with some energy and a perky melody, but it’s downhill from here. The band only have one sludgy, grungy idea, which they stretch well past breaking point. ‘The Amazons’ is utterly tasteless and by the final third, borderline unlistenable as well.



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