The album has been promoted as “dystopian pop”, and sound-wise it’s right on the mark, often featuring the likes of spine-chilling reversed keys and eerie synths that form the creeping, fiercely captivating melodies, boosted by the polished pianos and humming bass notes.
But then in other cases, the songs have a lighter nature with a more definitive pep and catchy choruses (e.g. Architecture In LA, which is bright and buoyant, the latter due to the infectious brass and harmony hook combos.)
Roddy’s vocals are an essential quality of this record, dressed in a solemn tone that is magnetic and stirring, and on that similar note, the writing is vividly enrapturing and poetic, and particularly with the more absorbing numbers, you find yourself totally gripped.
After over 15 years flying solo, Roddy Woomble continues to be a valuable staple of the Scottish underground with an unbelievably immersive LP that few others in the field can match up with.
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The well-travelled Washington state born artist brings a solid effort to the table with music mixing pop and Americana, although with more emphasis on the latter.
The songs are made up of enchanting, harmonious melodies, where nice work on the guitar is regularly displayed, and heralded by lovely singing and congenial writing which is so pure at heart.
The defining factor of the New York duo’s wonderful album is the likeable writing focused on making the most of doing what you love to make you feel good, no matter the amount of crap the naysayers care to throw at you for it.
The guys certainly have no problem going into great, lengthy detail, almost to a level of in-your-face trolling, because to hell with it, they want to, and if you find yourself offended, then hard cheese old chap.
The groovy, almost trippy-like guitar streams and lax beats help create an incredibly chilled out environment that’s fun to sit back and lose yourself to, and the warm harmonies play a big part in that too.
DOROTHEA PAAS – Anything Can’t Happen
Dorothea’s highly anticipated and long overdue debut album has got to be one of the most ravishing pop records in recent memory.
Her voice is as lovely and elegant as they come, and the heart-warming lyrics click with ease. The very passive and serene melodies featuring luscious guitar and bass chords mixed in with pleasingly steady drum crashes, sparking a radiantly soft vibe to the overall sound.
The latest release from the endowed Japanese producer comprises of three tracks surrounded in this eerie quiet, courting you with a beautiful section of strings partnered with the occasional low bass key for that neat shuddering effect.
It’s a record that ethereal, mysterious and overall very relaxing, certain to clear the head of a busy mind.
THE ABYSS INSIDE US – What Words Can’t Say
With patience, the Greek act steadily create an engaging ambient setting, minimalistic to begin with, but gradually a range of instruments such as smooth chords, radiant pianos and gentle drum beats enter the fray and form the comfortable melody before ramping it up into these large, hard-hitting sections pulsing with energy.
That proves to be an efficient working formula which they choose to stick by through the remainder of the EP, with the final result being a nice and engrossing post-rock record with a great drawing power.
The album has a very welcoming, friendly impression, as if meeting with a long-time friend or a pleasant acquittance.
In that vein, the lyrics have a real homegrown, relatable sense to them that allow you to connect quite easily, and the great personable singing only helps to further certify that fact.
If you care to seek out music of the folk/country variety with a lot of heart and wholly honest humility riding behind it, then Quarterman is an absolute must in my book.
AYYA – From The Fire: Chapter 2
The introductory spoken piece is utterly gripping, with Matt’s narration effectively sending chills down your spines and, as planned, make you uncomfortable about the topic, whilst the surrounding cosmic air has you encapsulated.
After that, he dives into the meat of the EP, a listing of potent techno tracks naturally defined by thick, thumping beats that clock your ears, working in tow with the juicy melodic electronics and pieced in vocal hooks which only serve to amplify the energy to an even more hair-raising degree.
Subsequently, he sticks to that blueprint of providing more of the captivating tale before returning to the music; the last of which is hypnotic beyond words; all coming together to create what is ultimately a distinctively fascinating record.
FAMILIAR ACTION – Familiar Action
The album is personalised by a colourful sound with an infectiously kooky vibe to it, as if it came together in a manic circus at times, and on that note, the tracks are quite lively and bouncy.
There’s a lot of character behind the vocal work, then from an instrumental standpoint, the guitars are cool and the rhythm sections dead catchy, and naturally these apply to the insanely memorable and likeable choruses.
A ruddy good debut from a blooming great London band definitely worthy of a bigger spotlight on them and their charming music.
STELLA AND THE VERY MESSED – Marigold
The Austin, TX quintet bring us a quick but entertaining EP, starting with the light and bubbly The Feeling which gets it rolling on such a positive note, complete with a catchy melody and memorable chorus.
The title number is more low-key and restrained, flowing at a steady tempo while we’re treated to some lovely heartfelt harmonies.
The final song Ain’t No Baby has a similarly casual pace to it to begin with before picking it up as it goes, accompanied by a great beat and fabulous waves of brass, and also featuring good lyrics.