Review Roundup

2 Sep

Sheer Mag ‘Need to Feel Your Love’

Sheer Mag make ecstatic rock that pokes and prods in righteous directions. ‘Tina Halliday’s explosive vocals burst from micro, lo-if anthems that conceal their subtlety and ingenuity under layers of grime and fuzz. In spite of the variable sound quality, the hooks pop and the dynamic arrangements punch out. The band explore various strains of classic rock; from guitar duelling anthems that recall Thin Lizzy to heavier, sludgier takes on hard rock and pop-metal. They address police brutality on ‘Meet Me In the Streets’ and vote rigging on ‘Expect the Bayonet’ but perhaps hit hardest with the frivolous and vacuous love song ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’, the catchiest rock song released in 2017.

8.5/10

Brand New ‘Science Fiction’

There were always people willing to argue that Brand New wrote some of the most thoughtful rock music this side of the millennium, and that lyricist Jesse Lacey was every bit the equal of lauded indie scribes like Alex Turner and and Ezra Koenig, but those views weren’t given much of an airing – until now. Various factors have collided at the right time to make Brand New’s first album in eight years a headline grabbing, number one album. A whole host of young bands crediting Brand New have emerged in recent years, and it seems to me that emo and pop punk get more of a fair shake from critics these days. Not that Brand New are strictly emo or pop punk any more – ‘Science Fiction’ fits more snugly in to the lineage of great alternative rock albums of the 90s. Moody, minor key missives on basically being a bit of a sad sack. It isn’t particularly groundbreaking but it is very assured in what it’s trying to do, and largely achieves its aim in appealing to fans of Smashing Pumpkins, Nine inch Nails and Jane’s Addiction. In a year of great comebacks, Brand New are up there with the best of them.

8/10

Ratboy ‘Scum’

Ratboy, aka Jordan Carey, is a veritable, Essex born and bred, Jack of all trades. When he emerged a couple of years ago rapping over a bratty, homemade hip hop beats and fizzy samples, he came off as a pretty straight down the line Jamie T knock off. But ‘Scum’ reveals that to be only one of his many varied get ups. This is a long album, broken up with GTA style radio skits, that spans many genres and features a few famous faces. Damon Albarn turns up on ‘Round Here m8’, the forgettable ska tinted opener, and his influences is overwhelmingly obvious on the record’s Britpop ballad ‘I’ll be waiting’. Damon’s mate Graham Cohen lends guitar to the appropriately named ‘Laidback, while ‘Knock Knock Knock’ will be familiar to fans of ‘Damn’ – Kendrick Lamar sampled the track earlier in the year on his acclaimed album. You don’t become this close to this many legends without having a bit of something about you, and Ratboy certainly has a riotous personality that oozes and exudes across these 25(!) songs. Asking for something more coherent and considered would perhaps make for a better album but it would also somewhat miss the point. By his nature, Ratboy is totally ADHD, and for as long as he can channel this youthful enthusiasm and energy in to music, he will find an audience willing to listen.

6.5/10

 

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