Rather obviously, album of the week this time around is Ladytron’s fourth LP, Velocifero. Following up on 2005’s album of the year Witching Hour was always going to be a thankless task, but the quartet have given it a great stab, and there are sections of the record that rival the very best of their work. Quite how well it stands up against the best of the year so far (Portishead, The Black Angels, Elbow) is another matter, but quite simply it blows everything else away this week. Runner-up is German artist Konstantin Gropper with his Get Well Soon project. This is maudlin pop, akin to Radiohead’s more balladic moments, shot through with Germanic sheen. The track featured here is what drew my attention to the album, a twisted and sombre re-rub of Underworld’s classic Born Slippy NUXX. The whole album is streaming on his Myspace, check it out. Also featuring on the top rung this week are Rock Action’s Glaswegian noisemakers Errors, with their debut It’s Not Something But It Is Like Whatever. Adding electronic swipes to label-boss’ Mogwai’s template this is accomplished electro post-rock, worthy of Mogwai themselves.
Onto a poppier bent, and we have records from Liverpool’s The Zutons and Birmingham’s Johnny Foreigner. The Zutons certainly have a high workrate, this is their third LP in four years, their name kept in the limelight by a well placed Ronson/Winehouse cover of the otherwise dreadful Valerie. On first listens there isn’t much to even rival that on You Can Do Anything, nowhere near repeating the stomping thrills of Pressure Point or You Will, You Won’t from their debut. Brum’s JoFo have just released their debut, and despite getting decent reviews in most musical press, it just doesn’t do it for me. I saw them live too, and wasn’t impressed. Artsy-indie by rote. Different again are genre-hopping Germans The Notwist, formed way back in 1989. The Devil, You And Me is their sixth LP, one that took almost six years to bring to fruition. Continuing their trend towards electronic-inflected stuff, this effort is pretty tasty.
Sneaking into my attentions through a wonderfully titled album, Brainlove Record’s Keyboard Choir float their debut this week, initially digital only. A hybrid of found sound and electronics, they create intense soundscapes, interspersed with snatches of speech. There’s a couple of tracks available for download from their Myspace, however support the band and label if you like it: we need more like Brainlove! Okkervil River offshoot Shearwater release their fifth record this week, Rook containing some strong tracks, but overall the feel is a little been there, done that. The same feeling invades a lot of Look See Proof’s debut, Between Here And There. However, the difference here is that the songs just vibrate with energy. Enough, in fact to carry this album into distinctly enjoyable territory.
Propping up the release schedule this week are big hitters from artists at very different stages of their careers. Paul Weller releases his latest effort with 22 Dreams, a surprisingly varied effort for an artist renowned for his traditional approach. If you fancy something with a bit shorter career span then latch onto Alphabeat’s album. This is pretty shocking ‘adult-pop’ ie, something shite that middle aged hags can dance around to at the local disco in some shockingly awful place like Stoke. Avoid. Finally there are NYC band Ravens & Chimes, whose Reichenback Falls is nice enough, just not spectacular.
Last week’s top 3 as voted by you were:
1. Spiritualized – Songs in A&E
=2. The Wedding Present – El Rey
=2. The Futureheads – This Is Not The World
Vote for this week’s best release over in the left sidebar.
Filed under: Releases | Tagged: Alphabeat, Errors, Get Well Soon, Johnny Foreigner, Keyboard Choir, Ladytron, Look See Proof, Paul Weller, Ravens & Chimes, Shearwater, The Notwist, The Zutons |