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Album Review

ALBUM RELEASE: Deerhunter – ‘Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?’

WORDS BY KANE MARTIN      PHOTO BY LIA SUED

Polymorphic self-proclaimed “ambient-punks” Deerhunter return with their eighth studio album ‘Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared’, their first release since 2015’s ‘Fading Frontier’. Although not a drastic departure from their previous efforts, sonically there’s a melancholic sincerity which haunts the album. Upon listening, it feels as though you’re hearing a band quietly appalled with its national identity and the baggage that comes along with the task of writing about American topics. Despite its concerns, they don’t weigh the album down too much as the fizzing pop sensibilities Deerhunter are renowned for carrying the weight of their mournful lyrical content.  

 

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That being said this album is more than just Bradford Cox having a big bloody cry and holding a sign in the desert saying “I’m a sad boy – Trump is a muppet and I don’t like him that much” whilst a reverb-drenched drum-machine sound-tracks this terrible scene. It was recorded in the desert – Marfa, Texas to be exact – and co-produced by the ever-brilliant Cate Le Bon. The combination of these two aspects really lends themselves to the album’s attempt at defining a space. As no place lends itself as much to the mythology of America as the desert. Also, having Cate involved as an artist who is very aware of her cultural heritage and transferring that sonically without it being too “on the nose” is a transference Deerhunter attempt with this release and the results are spectacular.

With its album artwork which resembles the front cover of an out of print Frank Waters novel it opens with the harpsichord ridden lament ‘Death in Midsummer’, presumably a nod to the Yukio Mishima short story of the same name in which a decision to go on a family holiday results in the death of two children (cheery stuff). The twanging of harpsichords is achingly reminiscent of something that could be found in John Cale’s 1973 masterpiece ‘1919’. This borrowing from instrumentation similar to other classic ‘baroque rock’ concept albums from the ’60s and ’70s is prevalent on the album. For example, ‘No One’s Sleeping’ which deals with the sensitive subject matter of the murder of MP Jo Cox, yet conversely to its subject sounds like it could be off The Kinks’ ‘The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society’. The track even makes reference to this lyrically “the village green is now nocturnal”.

This borrowing from imagined pasts compliments certain instrumentation on the album which is influenced by borrowing from the other direction; the future. With the synthesizer sounds on ‘Greenpoint Gothic’ sounding like it’s from a Vangelis soundtrack to an abandoned existential late 80’s Sci-Fi movie. Whilst Cox’ and Lockett Pundt’s spaced out guitar-interplay dances a drunken, cosmic tango through all the albums tracks – a great sense of other-worldliness is created. The guitars themselves sound subliminally inspired by the great German Kosmiche bands of the ’70s, in particular, the work of guitarist Manuel Göttsching which creates great depth and a slight cosmological horror: like looking into a great unknown void.

What is achieved by mixing the sounds from fictionalised futures and pasts – blending imagined outer-space with a non-existent nostalgic rural-ism – is Deerhunter create a new way of discussing the present through song. This cutting and pasting of cultures could be described as détournement a phrase coined by the French Situationists of the 1950s. The phrase is also the title of the 6th track on the album making their cultural hijacking of using both fictional futures and pasts, central to the albums’ themes. This hijacking, as it were, allows a discussion of the present in which there’s an implication of what we’re currently experiencing is fiction which somewhat terrifyingly rings true if we linger on the thought of our post-truth digital age a little too long, which the album forces us to do.

‘Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared’, offers more questions then it does answers to where we are at the moment which is where I feel the album’s strength lies. It invites ruminations on some unsettling themes which quietly invite themselves in the form of brilliantly written pop songs. Like much of Deerhunter’s previous output it doesn’t expect you to say it’s a masterpiece on first listen. Rather, to fully “get it” one must live with it for a while until it reveals itself to you. I won’t tell you it’s an immediate masterpiece either, although I would highly recommend you get lost in the album for a while.

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ALBUM RELEASE: Rukhsana Merrise – ‘Child’

WORDS BY ELEANOR FORREST

Rukhsana Merrise has released the first half of her highly anticipated, debut album ‘Child’. But there’s a twist. The London singer-songwriter who’s previously toured with well-known artists such as Rag ’n’ Bone Man and Michael Kiwanuka, allows us to dip our toes into her new sound.

By releasing the first half of the album, entitled Child, it serves as a teaser for more to come. Famous for her honest stage performances, beginning all her shows with a quick ‘alright darlin’ to the audience, Rukhsana demonstrates her softer side with ‘Child’. 

Known for making music regardless of the genre, her musical evolution now features a variety of new sounds. This is most notable regarding the initial track, ‘Could’ve Been’. Incorporating elements of the country music genre and mixing it with an indie pop element, there is a contemporary feel to Rukhsana’s sound. Like any good album, ‘Child’ showcases the artists’ lyrical talent. With tracks like ‘Sober’ that incorporate the lines “I spend too much like my pennies are pounds” and “I gotta call you and finally get the words out” she relates all too familiar feelings and behaviours many of us understand. 

Taking on a different tone from her previous work a more heartfelt side is expressed with her angelic vocals. Rukhsana created a catalogue of work that opens the door on what we can expect in the future from the talented ‘So they say’- artist.

‘Child’ is an impressive teaser to what fans can expect with the release of the complete debut album. Utilising her lyrical and vocal abilities, she expresses herself in such a relatable manner that creates a unique familiarity. Ultimately allowing her to connect with her followers. Keep your eyes open for the rest of this already talented piece of work!

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ALBUM RELEASE: Ex:Re – ‘Ex:Re’

WORDS BY CIERA LITTLEFORD

Elena Tonra, of Daughter fame, has a knack for devastating her listeners. Her solo venture, Ex:Re, is a break-up album guaranteed to make you weepy this winter. At first listen, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is as another Daughter LP, but pay attention and you’ll discover a new, deeply personal perspective from Tonra.

The name of the project is pronounced ‘x-ray’, as it’s a profoundly introspective exploration into the self, following a break-up. Tonra explores the concept of an old relationship being some sort of ghost or specter; the wistful lyrics and somber guitar bring this conception into being.

‘Where the Time Went’ is an apt – and beautiful – opening track, covering a myriad of emotions: the despair-tinged line ‘I will leave this empty-handed’ to the quiet anger of ‘I will ruin you in a second’ sets the tumultuous tone for the rest of the album. ‘Romance’ is an almost seven-minute long hard-hitter, its synths and perkier beats not quite masking the melancholy of Tonra’s husky pleas: “I wanna know who you are, I wanna know who you were”. The lo-fi sounding instrumentation which slowly builds in urgency towards the end, coupled with Tonra’s mournful voice and lyrics, is a combination that secures its listeners; we’ll be staying until the end.

Tonra’s vocals are more prominent on Ex:Re than on her previous studio releases, which is clear on ‘The Dazzler’ and ‘Liar’, which both feature gorgeous vocal melodies; crisp, clear, and contemplative, much like the entire album itself. ‘5AM’, accompanied by piano, and final track ‘My Heart’, characterised by brief silences and the slow repetition of its riff ensure that we’re not coming away from this album on a happy note, which is expected.

Ex:Re offers its listeners a raw and honest depiction of heartache, accompanied by sometimes tender, sometimes intense arrangements. Guitar so delicate it is as if it’s careful not to tread on your already (by the end of the record) fragile state, soft drums, and infrequent but sorrowful strings pepper Ex:Re, creating one forlorn and dreamy affair that you’ll find yourself coming back to.

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ALBUM RELEASE: Parcels – ‘Parcels’

WORDS BY RUSSELL HOPE     PHOTO BY JEAN F R RACLET

Let me introduce you to my new favourite band. You may have heard of them, they’re called Parcels. No ‘the’, plural and they’re electro epic! hey come from Australia, now live in Berlin and boast a collaboration with Daft Punk in 2017 with the beautiful, ‘Outside’. Now if Daft Punk endorsing you isn’t enough, to get you noticed, they’ve only gone and smashed out a minter of an album in Parcels (self-titled), the cover is fresh out of personified pop-art take on mile high club, complete with pristine pastel colours, perfect fringes and a secured case of the good stuff.

No holding back and right from the start ‘Comedown’ brings heavy kick beats and guitar that must’ve been noticed by our French Electro, heroes as it’s right up their rue de gare! ‘Everyroad’ has a narrative bringing the electro-funk on repeat and a curious description of surroundings and tranquil depth of what it is soundtracking and builds to a full on banger, oozing heavy synths and bass which would have any huge PA wanting more everytime. MCR Live popped along to their recent Manchester gig and I’ll be keeping my eyes to the ground and my ears peeled to sniff their next tour out, and they must be dropping some sets over summer festival season next year (Bluedot if you haven’t approached them yet, they’ll be just right where Crazy P was last year!)

When the funk, kick and electro cruises to halfway through the 12 track album ‘Yourfault’ gives a relaxed, waves lapping the shore, beach groove, with a Xylo-snare-janglechord-break portmanteaux of ‘Xychordbeach’. It’s more than just kick, xylophone, and Nile Rodgers-esque guitar, the vocals are enchanting and ‘closetowhy’ brings that in with some dreamy Hammond/synth halfway through too, close to why? Close to LCD Soundsystem more like! Along with LCD and Daft Punk obvious references, there are vocal smatterings of the Wilsons in there and I’m sure Parcels would have the Beach Boys as one of their influencers, after all, ‘Bemyself’ is fresh out of the ‘Pet Sounds’ outtakes.

Read more about the latest music news and reviews over on our blog 👀

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ALBUM RELEASE: Neneh Cherry – ‘Broken Politics’

WORDS BY CRAIG HOPKINSON

Neneh Cherry, the ‘7 Seconds’ superstar, is back once again with ‘Broken Politics’, the new jazz/pop-infused album to come from the world famous, Swedish born singer. Before the album begins, it’s hard not to notice how eye-catching and transfixing the artwork is, it really portrays Neneh Cherry’s artistry. From the off, it’s easy to determine that ‘Broken Politics’ is going to be a very expressive experience and so I don the hat of creative thought once more, strap myself in for an abstract journey, and await the luscious tones of the lovely Neneh, mixed with some very funky Jazz.

The first track ‘Fallen Leaves’ is actually quite tame on the Jazz-meter. A simple, drill styled, up-tempo drum beat sits quietly below a simple piano melody.  The focus is clearly on Neneh’s voice and the lyrical content and in fact, there aren’t very many layers of vocals recorded at all. It’s extremely minimalist, simple and very sweet.  Like the art is speaking for itself and was given room to breathe. Neneh Cherry also has such a lovely voice and so the song holds together perfectly. A great introduction to the album.

Skipping forward a few tracks to the seventh song of the album, ‘Natural Skin Deep’, and Neneh has cranked it way up all the way to Miles Davis on the Jazz dial. This is such a brilliantly hectic song and a great aperitif for any listeners that are a tad unfamiliar with the weird and wonderful ways of modern Jazz, and other Jazz influenced genres. ‘Natural Skin Deep’ sounds like New York. With the sound of NYPD sirens whizzing by, a lull of voices at a breakfast diner, I can almost smell the coffee. A relatively standard hip-hop beat brings in Neneh’s funky style of double time singing, a kind of singing and rapping with added melody. Then, at around halfway through the song, Neneh switches to a full Jazz ensemble and completely mixes up the whole track.  Every digital layer is dropped, the drums fade out abruptly and from there on in the song sounds like it was jammed out in Greenwich Village in 1972, in some smokey ‘blues party’. Getting lost while flowing away to these subtle melodies, horns and string sections became suddenly all too easy. It was such a refreshing change in the song and transported me to this groovy world of Soul and Jazz that Neneh obviously inhabits.

Produced by Neneh Cherry and English musician, Four Tet, ‘Broken Politics’ is said to be a “quieter and more reflective” album than its predecessors. I’m not sure that I completely agree with “quieter”. It’s quite a stanch Jazz album for any uninitiated Jazz newbies out there. It is, however, very reflective. The lyrical content of the whole album brings a plethora of political undertones, social commentaries, and satires and there is definitely a tonne of self-reflection. With song lyrics inspired by the passing of Neneh Cherry’s biological father, musician Ahmadu Jah, the album is honest and emotional. Interestingly, the Woodstock Studio in New York, where ‘Broken Politics’ was recorded, was the same studio which Neneh Cherry’s stepfather, American Jazz musician Don Cherry, had previously used to record his own work in the 1970s. In fact, Neneh Cherry uses samples from the recordings of Ornette Coleman, Pulitzer Prize-winning Jazz saxophonist, which her stepfather had recorded.

‘Broken Politics’ has a real sense of homage to it. Not only to Jazz but to the musical influencers and parental figures in Neneh Cherry’s life that gave her music. The political commentary amidst a great use of rhyme scheme and a very cute, toned singing style is also really entertaining to listen to. The production, on the whole, does seem sparse but perhaps the intention was to focus on the lyrical content and instrumentation, especially with the Jazz sections. It also lacked a touch of mastering that I would have expected a globally recognized singer would pertain to. However, I actually quite like that it sounds raw and unpolished. It almost has a struggling artist vibe to it all, a musical hunger I wouldn’t expect from an artist with over twenty-five years, mainstream musical experience.

Read more about the latest music news and reviews over on our blog 👀

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ALBUM: Anderson .Paak – ‘Oxnard’

WORDS BY CRAIG HOPKINSON

The ‘drop top’ is down, my shades are on, it’s a beautiful, scorching hot day and I’m cruising in my bright green Cadillac down the West Coast, feeling cool. That is precisely what happens to the listener every time an Anderson .Paak album begins. An instant transportation from the grey and very grim world, to the ocean scented west side of LA. ‘Oxnard’, the third album release from the human musical juggernaut that is Anderson .Paak, hosts an onslaught of awesome musicians from Kendrick Lamar to Snoop Dogg and Q-Tip, and was executively produced by Hip Hop giant Dr Dre.

 

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Although he may sing like an angel and rap like a demon, Anderson .Paak is by default, a drummer. This is such an amazing combination with regards to musical skill sets because, as anyone worth their salt in the music industry will tell you, any amazing band, or live act, has an even more amazing drummer. If a band has a drummer that can not only keep perfect time and deliver varying fill sections and rhythms, but can command the whole groove and flow of the band from the back-line; they’ve nailed it. In this case, the lead singer and vocalist is that back-line driving force, and also the frontman.

Anderson .Paak possesses a generalist ability to blend his specialisms into a funky little West Coast flavoured jam and somehow serves it up deliciously every time. He commands each of his albums this way, locking in the groove with live drums, writing and holding down his rap and chorus melodies around it, while later adding layers of bass guitar, funky pad synths and his usual harmonised vocal over-dubs. Just as a side note; Anderson .Paak can be seen on a tonne of videos online, rapping, singing and playing the drums exquisitely, simultaneously.  It’s like watching some sort of musical wizard.

The song ‘Who R U’, number four on the album, is a perfect example of the melting pot of rhythms and rhymes that Anderson .Paak has crafted. When listening to the flow, scheme and rhythm patterns in his lyrics and drum section, it’s hard to imagine such complexity coming from any other sort of musician than a percussionist. Triplets, fills and the suspenseful use of silence, dropping every sound just before the chorus, only to bang every sound back into play as the chorus begins. Very clever stuff.

However, ‘Oxnard’ was produced with Dr Dre as the executive producer, and so not all of the tracks on the album have been arranged in this ‘commanding drummer’ fashion. ‘Saviours Road’, the sixth track of the ‘Oxnard’ album, has a much more obvious ‘boom bap’ drum pattern to it and it’s quite easy to hear how it was arranged when compared to the percussive depth of almost every other song listed. It actually stands out amidst the other less digitally produced songs and lacks the Anderson .Paak formula described.

‘The Chase’ – the albums introduction track – features vocalist Khadja Bonet and is a sonic showcase of .Paak’s musical prowess and comprehension. Both vocally and musically, the song is explosive within moments of the introductory radio tuning sample at the start of the track. The lyrical content revolves around the artists recent successes. It’s surely a testament to how super cool Anderson .Paak is when he sings and raps.

In terms of the overall production, post production and mastering of the album as a whole, ‘Oxnard’ is just another crystal clear and maximised gem to come from the Aftermath / Interscope tribe of funky West Coast hip hop. Some awe inspiring analogue valve warmers and compressors have been used, as is always the case with Dr Dre, to master the tracks of the album.  The mastering work, post production, has also brought every crisp kick and snare to life, popped open every syllable spoken and sung and brightened up and added more brilliance to those sexy 1970’s funk bass guitars and synths. A very lush sound indeed.

All in all, this is another Anderson .Paak masterclass in ‘The Funk’. Heir to a long line of funk-a-teers , from all time grand masters of the funk, Funkadelic, way down the line to the classic G-Funk era of Warren G and Nate Dogg. Even Snoop Dogg carried the torch for a while. Anderson .Paak is the current bestower of all things funky, a funky messiah, and it seems his musical sermons have only just begun.

Read more about the latest music news and reviews over on our blog 👀

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ALBUM: Black Josh – ‘Yung Sweg Lawd’

WORDS BY CRAIG HOPKINSON

Black Josh is a Rap aficionado, a rising star of the Blah Records hip hop family, an established member of Cult Of The Damned, architects of the underground U.K. hip hop scene, and a lyrical legends in Manchester, at least for anyone with a taste for real ‘Boom Bap’ or ‘Golden Era’ hip hop, and he is here with debut album; ‘Yung Sweg Lawd’.

First and foremost, hats off to the ‘Yung-Lawd’, for he does have the ‘Sweg’. The name of the album, along with its amazing artwork, tells its tale long before the first song of this exceptionally cool record even starts to play. From the tracks listed on the album it’s pretty difficult to pick just one to start and focus on as an example. The production, arrangement, level of post production and mastering that has been painstakingly poured into this work is just obvious to a trained ear. So, it really is full of killers without any fillers. But, to chose just one, it would be track thirteen; ‘2 Fone Shawty’. It’s just impeccably timed and an altogether perfect track.

Produced by Reklews, corner stone Cult Of The Damned producer and engineer, ‘2 Fone Shawty’ starts with a banging kick drum and snare, traditional to the ‘boom bap’ sound of hip hop. The hit of the drums is crisp and precise, delicately touched by a contrasting grand piano chord progression. This loop plays out for the first few bars of the song while a smooth, and somehow familiar, bass-line enters the song, adding another layer. This is then classically followed by Josh’s over-dub style vocal introduction. The whole song has a real ‘wall of sound’ kind of thing going on from the off. The quality and craftsmanship of the song, as well as the myriad of songs on the album produced, really do showcase the Cult Of The Damned and their ‘Sweg’. (Think I’m getting the hang of this ‘Sweg’ thing.)

When it boils down to content, which with rap artists it often does, and probably should, Black Josh has you covered. Again, with such heavy beats and his ‘wall of sound’ delivered by the production and mastering, Josh’s voice, rhyme scheme and message needed to bring some contrast, and in this case it really did. For a rapper poised as a bit of a ‘Jack the lad’, the cheeky character of the Cult, with some pretty raunchy videos out there, here he is; baring his soul. From tales of early strife to bars of underground fame and it’s heights, Josh makes his intentions perfectly clear with the lyrical content of ‘2 Fone Shawty’. The Manchester born rapper makes reference to the loss of his Grandfather and a final promise to protect his Grandmother, which drives his passion for success musically and financially. He’s cool, and he loves his Nan. What more could you want?

Other notable artists featuring on the album include; Lee Scott, rap artist and producer for Blah Records and the Cult Of The Damned, Skepta, with production of the last track of the album ‘Ciggaweed’, along with the introduction of Nah Eeto, Afro swing and dance hall inspired rapper and singer. Both Black Josh and Nah Eeto, the freshest signing to the Blah label, teamed up to deliver ‘Judge Judy’, and it’s one of the albums most pioneering songs.

‘Yung Sweg Lawd’ is potent. It’s a U.K. hip hop classic, nay, just a hip hop classic, a hopeful rumour months before it was even finished. The release of ‘Yung Sweg Lawd’ is a very exciting reality for U.K. Hip Hop fans, and Mancunians alike; a budding example of the culture that the city is infamously known to cultivate, and Josh is taking it right to the very top. The album boasts some serious musicianship, production and mastering skills and offers a trove of emerging artists and Hip Hop heavy weights.

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ALBUM: Bruce – ‘Sonder Somatic’

WORDS BY JACK MCKEEVER

In electronic music, the most resonant albums and tracks are those that strike at the heart of the community, conveying memories while aiming to create new ones. Bristol-based techno producer Larry McCarthy, AKA Bruce, is devoted to the most personal aspects of the diagram. His music has always torn away any veils of conventionalism to underpin a playfully outlandish hand, taking core elements and twisting them out of time and place. Making the obscure accessible is hard to perfect, but in the case of Bruce’s back catalogue he’s often managed it with a thrilling smoothness.

In many ways, the release of his debut full-length album ‘Sonder Somatic’ on Hessle Audio feels like a homecoming. His previous releases on the label (2016’s ‘Steals’ and 2014’s ‘Not Stochastic’ – EPs respectively) have occupied the same innovative world-scape, playing sumptuous floor-filling kicks and alien atmospherics off against each other, with a mischievous sonic smile overhanging it all. But it’s the exploratory nature of Hessle Audio’s output that suits Bruce‘s placement here so brilliantly. He’s talked openly about the label’s influence on him over the years, so the synergy that winds up here seems only right and proper.

The LP was written ‘partly as an attempt to capture that rare transformative feeling that can cause you to fully lose yourself in a club space’, and on ‘Sonder Somatic’ Bruce wastes no time in going for the jugular. The whole thing sounds absolutely huge, for starters. Whereas before the late-night rawness of his music could occasionally feel opaque, on the LP a crystal-clear sheen sets its primal nuances and physicality against a gorgeous big room backdrop.

Crucially though, he focuses on inviting and then reducing ambiences, atmospheres and myriad percussive senses. It allows for a constant sense of idiosyncratic motion that rises and falls and creates new imperatives whenever they are most necessary. This is executed most effervescently at the mid-way point and the trajectory between the shuddering tension of ‘Meek’ and ambient of ‘Torn’, which is spotted with ghosts of breakbeat-y decadence, into previously released single ‘What’. The latter re-engages his most banging sensibilities with an intense sense of joy – caterwauling vocals, a deliriously catchy lead loop and the same unpredictable drum sequencing brought to a mighty zenith.

The notion that ‘Sonder Somatic’ reflects both Bruce’s professional and recreational relationship with club culture is purveyed inimitably too. Whether it’s through swaggering heaters built upon historic UK bass mechanisms (as on the opening salvo of ‘Elo’ and ‘Cacao’) or the freezing, small-hours surging lope of ‘Baychimo’ and lullaby-esque grind of ‘Patience St Pim’, a see-saw of hedonism and an absorbing approach is delivered near-perfectly.

 

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Back in manc next month! Chuffed as it’s quickly becoming my home in the north 🐝 Grab ya tickets whilst they’re only £8 (ikr)

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While the LP will do plenty for chin-stroking types and those always seeking to be challenged on dancefloors, at the core of ‘Sonder Somatic’ is the most communal aspect of club culture; personality. Bruce is one of the most singular techno artists operating right now, and the music here continues to define him as one of the most innovative and sensitive.

Read more about the latest music news and reviews over on our blog 👀

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ALBUM: LIINES – ‘Stop Start’

WORDS BY RUSSELL HOPE

There’s a brilliant thing about something new combined with something we’re used too. A bit like snowboarding, surfing has been around for decades and then skiing has too, bring them both together and it’s the best way to surf down a mountain! At the top of the mountain all you want are fresh lines, LIINES from Manchester are fresh, they’re made up of Zoe, Tamsin and Leila and they’re climbing a massive mountain of big sound.

‘Shallow’ sets the tone for the album with lyrics “what were you thinking” anchoring the song, plus you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of Zoe. She backs up her vocals with an aggressive guitar punch enough to keep the receiver of these lyrics from having a second short. The album has a grit to it, the songs are short and punchy, leaving perfect live gig bait. It’s recorded well and each track is written to destroy a room – be sure that the crowd will help out with that. The pounding drums will have no one stood still in front of these three.

‘Stop Start’ is full of bass, smashing guitar, wailing vocals and a solid drums backline. LIINES been likened to Joy Division and I get that, their debut album is produced by the best – Paul Tipler (Elastica, Idlewild, Placebo, Stereolab) has delivered this one. ‘Be Here’ and ‘Find Something’ gives out a solid Breeders/Pixies bass and a Bernard Summer Joy Division divide. Banging tunes!

On to the B-Side and ‘Blackout’ starts with ‘Stop’ and the staple LIINES 3-chord smash which throws energy into the hallowed vocals. The lyrics are dark, something (or rather someone) has created this deep feeling. Zoe can really take it the distance: “I love a band that gives everything and a singer who feels every single word”. She’s a female Eddie Vedder and the backline of Steph Walker (bass, who was a founding member of LIINES but left the band after the album was complete, with Tamsin Middleton stepping in on bass) and Leila (drums) give a solid backing that Elastica were always famous for and Kurt Cobain would have happily been in front of. The bass of ‘Disappear’ is Hooky and Morris all over and the guitar destroys that backline fighting it off to make room for the massive vocal. It’s a goodun.

LIINES are hot off the support of Hot Snakes, Desperate Journalist, and The Slow Readers Club as well as having headlined the Radio X Showcase. Along with getting airplay and 5* reviews from all the music industry elders like Louder Than War, BBC Radio 6 and Q they’re on a tour down the back bone of the country from Manchester and Preston, down to London.

Catch them at:
18th Oct  – Night and Day (Manchester)
17th Nov – The Ferret (Preston)
18th Nov – The Lexington (London – supporting Bis)
14th Dec – O2 Apollo (Manchester supporting Slow Readers Club)

‘Stop Start’ is out now on CD digipak, LP white vinyl and at http://Liines.bandcamp.com. Thanks to Reckless Yes for this record.

Read more about the latest music news and reviews over on our blog 👀

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ALBUM REVIEW: HONNE – ‘Love Me/Love Me Not’

WORDS BY JODIE BRYANT

Andy Clutterbuck and James Hatcher are the electro-pop duo that makes HONNE. The pair have unleashed their skills and sound with the new album ‘Love Me/Love Me Not, released on the 24th August 2018.

The album itself is easy listening at it’s smoothest – soulful and poppy but not life changing. The noteworthy, most popular track is ‘Day 1’ which encloses a catchy hook with funky beats and gentle piano. On that same first side of the album ‘Me & You,’ features Tom Misch, who compliments HONNE‘s style perfectly by way of raw harmonies. The song has a disco / funk element with a bright, reassuring and optimistic undertone. All songs on the first side of the album are accompanied by the image of a circle half coloured in ◑, perhaps showing the ‘yin and yang’ of HONNE.

Side two, with the circle the other way round ◐, is less loved up – it’s called ‘Love Me Not’ after all. The opener, ‘Shrink’ is a lighthearted take on the future and implies that the shrinks are going to be packed and rammed to the rafters:

“YOU BETTER BOOK ME A SHRINK FOR 2020
COS BY THAT TIME I’M GOING TO BE CRAZY”

This ‘yin’ side of tracks is overall less funky than the opposing ‘yang’ and oozes calmness in a more negative and emotional manner. ‘Crying over You’ features BEKA and is an interesting take on a breakup. It addresses the difficulty of knowing that the time has come and it’s right to end a relationship and the heartache that comes along with that. BEKA plays the female counterpart of the relationship, equally anguished by the situation.

Later on the track list is ‘Forget Me Not’ which maintains a strong beat and ends the album with a sense of loss and apology. Both sides of the album are enjoyable to listen to and the second half in particular is lyrically impressive.

As a whole, HONNE had already established their sound back in 2016. ‘Love Me/Love Me Not’ fulfils the expectations now set for HONNE, picking you up in that aforementioned ‘yin’◑ method with glaringly positive tracks, then releasing you with that alternate ‘yang’ ◐ side.

A fan of Honne‘s work? The duo will soon be touring, tickets can be found HERE.

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