All Compasses Go Wild gets things going in excellent fashion, the track being defined by these glowing, almost warm vocals, as well as great guitar lines and popping drum beats, and there’s a lot of life in the chorus.
Those qualities remain consistent in the hooking Absent Guest, and Johnnie is catchier yet; how it could possibly not get stuck in your head, I have no idea. However, things do start to noticeably samey with Bird Free, with nothing much new added on aside from a couple of neat chord strikes here and there.
But they recover just in the nick of time with Godless, where the lyrics really begin to resonate and scoop your attention. It’s as if they had the listener settle in at first with the music, and once achieved, then they were ready to hit out with the compelling material.
Let The Days Drift Away is where all the elements merge together to create an utterly fantastic, engaging tune headed by a smashing vocal performance, and they maintain a bustling energy throughout Now Time, right up to the huge, bursting finish.
New York City In Space is another solid, melodic choice, then we get perhaps the best display of writing in London Skies, which evokes some strong vibes of nostalgia and you find yourself getting emotionally attached quite easily, plus the riffs are splendid, and they close out with a bang courtesy of the sweeping and divergent nine minute piece Wander.
An evident lack of variety in the early stages notwithstanding, Post Neo Anti is yet another impressive notch in the esteemed career of Close Lobsters, who even this far down the road have proven that they have still got the wherewithal to produce a record of a legitimately high standard.
*AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 28th FEBRUARY*
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Craig chooses to ease us in with the low-key Sleepwalking, a sweet trap-influenced cut that wades along to a chilled beat, but one that has just enough of a kick that you can bob your head along to it, but the mood is flipped around for This Ain’t Love, which has much more of a vivid melodic pulse, further ignited by a catchy chorus and thick drum thumps.
Caught In The Rain is so bright and buoyant, especially with the sweet electronic harmony-like effects, and he brings the full shebang with the classic, addictive as hell closing number Control, which is beaming with a pure high-octane sense of spirit and riled up energy, and colour me impressed if you’re able to sit totally still.
While technically not as deep or imaginative content-wise compared to his previous two efforts, that doesn’t matter, because Restoration is so well produced and riveting regardless, and a true return to his early roots under this venture.
I for one appreciate that he hasn’t kept himself pigeonholed under the same banner with each respective release, and because of that, I think it would be fair to name him as a candidate for Scotland’s most diverse electronic artist in the game right now.
People Come slithers in slowly with Anik’s softly spoken words, a more notable beat coming alive as it progresses and ventures into an entrancing, looping chorus that is lyrically interesting, but even more so, it forges a chilling, magnetic atmosphere.
That same sound is expanded upon in Who’s, with more layers added to a further sublime production – the synths in particular are quite nice – and this is where Una begins to make her contributions with stellar, sleek harmonies.
Part Of Me is an incredibly catchy, dance-based number with a lot of spirit, engaging lyrics and a perfect blend of dual vocals from both of the artists, and Polly has a sharper, darker tone surrounding it, and again, the rapping and singing is tremendous and keeps your attention fused.
Kali resonates with that same vibe but with an extra dose of ambience, especially with them utilising the famously rare halldorophone to stunning effect, and we finally we come to Cast It Away, which continues to ring with a chilling pulse and stick in the head with an insanely good and perpetual hook, from where they gently simmer down and fade to silence.
I’m thoroughly impressed with Lovelife, it’s an utterly captivating experience that takes an intriguing look at romance in a creatively binding manner.
I can say for sure that this is one of the freshest, most original records I’ve been given to look at as of late, and it would be ideal to see the Icelanders be given more mainstream exposure for their cool, noteworthy abilities.
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Right from the opener All These Days, you find yourself fixated and getting lost in the ravishing atmosphere that is smoothly formed, and he allows you a whole 5 minutes to get settled and breathe it in. Sanctuary Mornings is full of this enthralling life and primarily defined by sensationally sweet piano work, while Flowers Bloom progresses with these notably tender acoustic strums.
The vocals are stepped up to a remarkable degree in the vamping It’s Burning Down, where these neat riff effects are plastered around as well, and by the end of it, you just sit there in awe at what you had listened to. We then get treated to the brief sublime instrumental interlude Kevin’s House, after which we get the most chilling of intros leading into For A Little While, considerably peeled back at first, with more instruments joining the fray, and the entire time the singing is purely stunning, and the lyrics are great and seeping with emotions.
Say Goodbye is another absolute beauty, so fluorescent, hook-littered and featuring the most gripping writing yet. Tomorrow Has Made You is just as sweeping, the guitars and crisp, rattling bells adding a lot here. Too Dark To See reels it back a little, Flaming Pumpkin Head creates a curious, forcefully eerie sound through the duelling, multi-directional chords and haunting, humming harmonies, and he concludes with the dazzling and addictive Is This The Life.
I feel I have encountered something truly special here. The man describes his music as “sad folk gems”, and “gems” is quite right, because this is an astonishingly gratifying LP that is so lucid and so heartfelt, and I think that his talents should not go unnoticed whatsoever; he is as legitimate as they come.
Slow is a pretty decent starter for ten, but Steven really gets going with Holy Ghosts, which is awfully lively and has a catchy kick to it. He tones down the pace a touch for the lyrically poignant Run Away, where he’s also able to effectively highlight his emotions.
Home is another steady goer that is fairly minimal but engaging nonetheless, particularly as the passion comes through in waves toward the end. Those loving, sensitive feelings are ripely displayed throughout Eyes Closed, and Wolf has the most charming of choruses you could possibly imagine.
A switch of a dial, and we get the brief, joyous 101, which has quite the folk/country feel to it. Walk On moves to a fine beat and flowing melody, the intoxicating Rise & Fall steps up the energy, and he seemingly throws everything he’s got into the fervent final number, Quick.
As my personal gateway to the talents of Steven Kemp, I believe he has done a bang up job in piecing together an compilation of excellent songs, a few being straight forward but others hitting the mark with the right amount of sincere sensibility.
Weekend In Berlin initiates with a solid beat, and in the meantime, this tenderly radiant atmosphere falls into place, and as it progresses, layer upon layer is added, the instrumentations becoming greater and gradually building this buzz. At the halfway point, they briefly settle and hold the pace before continuing with the norm, finishing up as a very sweet, chilled out yet also catchy tune.
It’s Always Been There is definitely more of an involved track, laden with quotes and an addictive as hell melody fused from the juicy resonant electronics, while still carrying through the warmer, ambient house quality of the previous piece lurking in the background for that bonus touch of depth.
A cracking pair of numbers to provide the perfect introduction to the Scottish DJ/producer combo duo who might be turning heads sooner than later.
HANNAH SLAVIN – I Don’t Give A F*** About You
Well, I’m sure glad this was plastered all over my social feeds on Saturday morning, because this meant I got to discover a great new act who made a serious impression with this one.
The Glaswegian’s latest single is an awesome, wholly empowering pop dazzler with superbly magnetic lyrics, a vivid pulse and a sweet production quality. The vocals are so on-point, and how could you resist singing loud and proud along to the awesome chorus?
A superstar in the making? Very much so.
THE GALLERYS – You’re A Dreamer
The Kent trio came into my consciousness when they bestowed upon me their single On The Other Side, and they secured my fandom with that firm first impression.
The lads have kicked off 2020 by totally outdoing themselves with this latest cut, which has a constant, dashing energy buzzing throughout without the slightest slither of slowing down.
The vocal work as always is top notch, the drum beats are punchy, the guitars sleek, and the chorus is a pretty strong, damn addictive one.
2019 was a pretty tight year for the Glasgow indie-pop troupe – highlighted by the Lipstick EP – and their 2020 is set to get rolling this month with this delightful forthcoming single.
From the get-go, the guitar chords are super juicy, and stay that way up until the end, helping to hoist the oh-so-exuberant melody.
Combine those factors with fine harmonies, firm bass tones, peaking drums and a memorable dance-inducing chorus, and you have yourself a winner right here.
*AVAILABLE ON WEDNESDAY 26TH FEBRUARY*
ANSWERING MACHINE – Bad Luck
The Brooklyn punky-poppy-rock group have a new album dropping in a couple of months time, and there’s no way to get more buzzing with anticipation for it than with the entertaining title track.
The well-written song drives with an engaging, springy rhythm produced from the nice basslines and fluent drumming, the guitars are really great, the harmonies are sublime, and that lead hook is so contagious that you simply have to chime along.
ZEROES & ONES – 15 To 1
Introduced to me indirectly via Lisanne of Tiny Murder – who incidentally features here and is fabulous – the Galway group have got me hooked with their debut single.
The vocals are super warm and smooth – albeit a bit drowned out in the mix – and hit a peak when it comes to the sweet chorus, the riffs are nice and fizzy, and the rhythm section are strong and help develop this into something pretty catchy and of the toe-tapping variety.
Oh aye, and the music video brings me so much joy. I quite like these guys.