Comprised of The Black Angels’ Alex Maas, The Horror’s Tom Furse, Elephant Stone’s Rishi Dhir and The Earlies’ John Mark Lapham, MIEN are a super group in every sense of the word. Yet, history has shown this type of act doesn’t always work. Thankfully, this isn’t true for an album that transports you through the history of psychedelia.
It’s a return to form for The Vaccines in a fourth album that sees the five-piece head back to their roots. Combat Sports follows a three-year hiatus and is a reinvigorated simplified rock record that possesses the energy of What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? only with added production value.
Vessel, the latest offering from Greta Kline’s alter ego Frankie Cosmos, clocks in at almost double the length of her debut Zentropy and could be considered her 18-track magnum opus. Her distinctive songwriting voice is enriched with the lo-fi indie-pop instrumentation of her bandmates – bassist/vocalist David Maine, keyboardist/vocalist Lauren Martin and drummer Luke Pyenson – to create a great record.
For a band that tours relentlessly, it’s fairly surprising that Belle & Sebastian hadn’t graced a stage in Brighton for 12 years. A fact that frontman Stuart Murdoch was quick to point out, “I can’t believe it’s been that long since we’ve been in your fine city.”
In between song chat such as this was a feature of the night, with the Glaswegians happy to roll out funny and interesting anecdotes to the crowd. A Belle & Sebastian show is always an inclusive event and Murdoch is the king of making his fans feel involved in the overall structure of the evening. He even made his way up to the top tier of the Dome at one point, replicating a stunt he pulled in the band’s previous appearance at the venue.
Preoccupations have notably matured as musicians with each name change and album. New Material sees the Canadian’s in a (slightly) more positive disposition, as they again create intense soundscapes intersected with stereotypical intricate rhythms. If the deafening post-punk of Viet Cong and the penetrating darkness of Preoccupations set the scene, then New Material is the culmination of this, with a deeper emotional intensity now adding to the fully-formed instrumentation.
At last. The release of You Are Someone Else marks the moment when one of Brighton’s very finest bands of recent years deliver on all that potential. Those years spent honing their craft run through the very core of this highly polished and supremely confident debut album. It perfectly captures the essence of millennial life, taking in everything from personal insecurities, the ups and downs of relationships and, of course, just having fun. The start of British Summer Time may be looming, but Fickle Friends have beaten the clocks by ushering in summer with this fantastic album.
In what seems like an age in the making, The Magic Gang have finally got round to releasing their debut record. The result from the Brighton-based group is a rich catalogue of life-affirming slacker pop anthems that make up one of the best UK guitar debuts in years.
The album will make for an intriguing listen for older fans of the band; with more than two thirds of it either previously released or reworked older favourites. There are shades of The Beach Boys and The Beatles and smatterings of Mac DeMarco and Weezer throughout, with the foursome’s devotion to melody the one sustained facet that keeps the LP on a designated path.
Alloysious Massaquoi, Graham ‘G’ Hastings and Kayus Bankole form arguably one of the most unique and divisive groups in music. Always difficult to define, Young Fathers have continued to make engrossing music and Cocoa Sugar picks up where White Men Are Black Too left off.
Typically unique and exhilarating, the third album is even leaner, more muscular and self-assured than before with the Scottish band’s ever growing dedication to melody seeping through the cracks. Whilst not overtly political, the three men manage to capture the irritation of the current climate under the backdrop of mesmerising krautrock as well as industrial and soulful instrumentation.
Despite headlining festivals and topping charts in the Benelux region, the Editors have only enjoyed moderate success in the UK since the triumph of The Back Room. Nevertheless, the Birmingham band still carry some weight and have continued to evolve and bring out critically-acclaimed records for the past decade.
Violence is their sixth release and the most politically-charged of their career, with frontman Tom Smith more forthright with his lyrical content this time around. “It is a pointed finger aimed at those in power…some corrupt politician or businessman…a character, and a tongue-in-cheek poke at the empty posturing and playing to the masses of the power hungry”, he explained.
Everyone’s favourite indie-dance Glaswegians showed no signs of slowing down on Sunday night in what was a career-spanning live show that exhibited elements of their entire repertoire.
Whether or not they mean it, the title of their new record Always Ascending is exactly the mind-set Franz Ferdinand have embodied throughout their career. Never looking back, they’ve continued to focus on new material and evolve their sound, compared to the majority of their indie peers of the 00s, who have lived off early albums and failed to explore new territories.