After producing two excellent EP’s Blossoms have finally released their debut album, incorporating some of the best songs from those songs, such as the anthemic Charlemagne, a time tossed track that sounds like a synth pop anthem from an alternate world’s 80’s top 10. At Most A Kiss is a track about love at the edge of an abyss, with apocalyptic overtones of doomed love. The band excels at dystopian psyche rock with an 80’s twist, making it into something joyous and filled with momentum. In Blossoms songs there’s a doomed nostalgia for lost worlds and lost loves, such as Charlemagne referencing the historical king of the Franks and Blown Rose referring to “the stately homes of England, how beautiful they stand,” whilst recognising that the singer’s love for the country and his love are fragile, like a rose made out of glass liable to break. Listen to this.
Originally printed in Kirkby Extra, September 2016.
The album begins with the single Burn the Witch, its lyrics replete with the feeling of small town paranoia, superstition and fear of outsiders, and just as importantly the virulent fear of ourselves and our neighbours. Red crosses on doors symbolising plague imagery, crossed with the hysteria of the mob cheering at the gallows and witch trials as a metaphor for the hysteria and unreason that fear strikes into us all. Decks Dark uses the metaphor of an extraterrestrial encounter as the intrusion of something terrible and earth-shattering altering your life, whilst repeating the question “have you had enough of me?” giving the impression of technology’s invasive incursion into our everyday lives as a traumatic event. The real gem is the inclusion of True Love Waits, a perennial live fan favourite that has never been on an album. Listen to this.
Originially printer in Kirkby Extra, October 2016.
The Avalanches are back after an absence of 16 years since their critically acclaimed debut, Since I Left You. But now they’ve returned, should we take them back? Because I’m Me is a catchy 70’s soul homage by New York rappers Camp Lo and is a promising start to the album. Frank Sinatra is a baggy, jarring Gorrillaz-esque song with a calypso beat, with elements of rap and a sample of My Favourite Things from The Sound of Music thrown in for good measure. If I Was a Folkstar is a hazy acid washed summer ditty with the vocals Jonathan Donahue of Mercury Rev fame and is a highlight of the album. Nothing could meet the hype of a 16 year wait, it’s got some great songs but is a pretty wonky album that doesn’t live up to the charm of their debut.
Originally published in Kirkby Extra, August 2016.
After the dystopian antics of the UK referendum I thought I’d review something that was relentlessly cheerful to take my mind off it, and what could be more cheerful than Teleman’s second studio album? Dusseldorf is a power pop anthem about leaving a friend/lover behind in Dusseldorf in a hedonistic haze, aspiring to a 5 star hotel life. Glory Hallelujah is about the thankless desire of unrequited love, calling out your love’s name in vain being comparable to saying a prayer to a God you don’t know is listening. Possessing the pop pomp and majesty of Supertramp with a pinch of synths, Teleman has grown in confidence with lyrically dark subject matter dressed as pop anthems.
Originally published in Kirkby Extra, July 2016.
Monthly music columnist for the Kirkby Extra, sometimes article writer for Get Into This. Freelance writer/artist/maker.