18 June 2017

2017 Album Round Up Review Part 2

Welcome to a round up review!  It is the first of many I will be releasing over the next few weeks, think of them like the bullet point reviews you get in magazines, short and to the point.  I did one of these last year before Christmas, mainly due to the volume of albums that were still left to review at that time of year and this is happening for similar reasons.  There are many reasons for this, the biggest reason of all is time.  Basically, there is only so much time a one man team has available to do the details blogs that I usually post on here.  So, the list of albums that I want to review, promised to review, need to review has grown.  At the moment, it is hitting north of 100 with ease and I need to get that down as there are some other releases that are coming and they need my attention as well.  Now, I will be breaking these round ups down into batches of ten, they will be minus the normal link to purchase of stream the albums (due to space) but you will be able to find these online very easily (legal links, remember - this is not that type of blog).  I will be using the same introduction to each of these blog, if only to save more time.  Thanks for reading - Eddie.

The New Pornographers – Whiteout Conditions

Alternative Indie/Country supergroup which sort of lives of its own name on this one, unlike earlier album which has a sense of rebellion.  On ‘Whiteout Conditions’, we find the New Pornographers not really doing anything different to what other acts are doing at the moment, more importantly – it does not improve on their sound or add anything new to the sound that is out there and that was always their biggest strength.  It is alright, but there is not spark on this one sadly.

6 out of ten – Now I see where you were going, but it is not quite there

Top track – Whiteout Conditions

Paramore – After Laughter

Paramore have changed their style with each album and on ‘After Laughter’ they have gone New Wave and everything is sunshine.  The album sounds like a party is happening and everyone is having fun, but the subject matter for the songs is always in direct contrast to the music around it.  It is decent, but the uneven production knocks a few points off the final mark.  Also, two things – one) I think they should really drop the Paramore name, just admit that it is a solo project. Two) ‘Hard Times’ is one of the catchiest songs of 2017, seriously I have shaken off colds easier than getting this song out of my mind.

6 out of ten – Now I see where you were going, but it is not quite there

Top track – Hard Times

SikTh – The Future in Whose Eyes?

This is not what I was expecting, it sounds as if it has been produced in the early 2000’s and just released now.  The bass is brilliant and at odds with everything else that is going one, the guitar mix can be too muddy at times and it does not gel as well as previous releases.  They are still interesting, but it is not happening on this one.  Sorry to SikTh, but this is a tad disappointing.

6 out of ten – Now I see where you were going, but it is not quite there

Top track – Century of the Narcissit?

Gnarwolves – Outsiders

When I first read the name, I was expecting a sludge/gore metal band.  So, it was a surprise when some snot nosed, old school punk came out of the speakers from Brighton, UK.  The speciality of the day is anthemic and dangerous punk that does not care what you are thinking, as it is gonna spit on you anyway.  It is a great little record, one that has some great tunes and lots of attitude.

7 out of ten – This is good and worth checking out

Top track – Car Crash Cinema

Fleece – Voyager

Indie Rock meets Jazz?  Sounds like two things that will separate like water and oil to be honest, it sounds like a strange brew by any musical standards.  In some places, it falls apart to be honest.  But in others such as ‘What You’ve Done’ it sounds majestic.  There is something going on here, something that could create a world better.  The best way I can describe this is that the band sound as if they are a work in progress, there is better sounds to come from this experiment and it has (hopefully) laid a foundation for them to progress from.

6 out of ten – Now I see where you were going, but it is not quite there

Top track – What You’ve Done

Eisley – I’m Only Dreaming

I found Eisley when I was looking for song to play on my radio show, basically I was looking for some indie pop and just picked a random record to be honest.  What I was not expecting was the depth of the songs on offer here, the emotional baggage that is laid out here and how delicate some of the songs sound.  It has a few points that stray into middle of the road indie territory, but overall it is a delightful album that sounds like spring time and full of hope.

7 out of ten – This is good and worth checking out

Top track – Always Wrong

Electric Guest – Plural

Indielectronica LA specialists Electric Guest have been named dropped for a while and for good reason, they have a special sound that makes claim to the soundscape left behind when you remove the synth machine from 80’s music and add some atmospheric noise.  This is their second album, one which improves on the sound of ‘Mondo’ with style and confidence, this is one of the albums I will regret not doing a full review for as the year goes on.

8 out of ten – Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart

Top track – Zero

British Sea Power – Let the Dancers Inherit the Party

 Not going to lie here, this album is slightly disappointing to be honest.  It is an average shoegazing/indie album, there is a lack of spark on this record which makes it hard to love and it feels as if they went through the motions a little on some of these numbers.  Not a bad album, but nowhere near their best either.

5 out of ten – Not for everyone, but played well

Top track – Electric Kittens

Bleachers – Gone Now

Bleachers have released the sophomore album with ‘Gone Now’, they have created an album that mixes the current New Wave revival, synth pop, indie electronica and an outsiders point of view.  It is a pop album at its very heart and it is a glorious record, one that matches the ambition behind the song writing with a crisp production that feels retro and modern at the same time, each song could be a single and it is glorious – I am gonna regret not giving this a full review, but that is the way it turns out sometimes.

9 out of ten – Almost perfect, almost

Top track – I Miss Those Days

All Time Low – Last Young Renegade

Some bands cannot do anything right for you, sadly that is the case with All Time Low for me.  Their brand of pop punk is one that undoubtedly satisfies a lot of people's need for conformist punk, but it does leave me cold and that has not changed with ‘Last Young Renegade’.  I cannot say it is awful, that is not the problem here for me.  The sound is just so dull, I just feel myself drifting every time i listen to this album.  It is produced well and there is no passion involved, what is punk without passion and fire?  I will be polite and leave it there.

3 out of ten – It could have been a bit better

Top track – Dark Side of Your Room

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