- Raw Data Feel
73
Everything Everything going more ‘pop’ equates to a lot of Hot Chip rhythms and squelchy synths - positives are this is their most uptempo and immediate set of songs, nothing outstays it’s welcome.

While they’d definitely played out the Radiohead’isms by the end of this album’s predecessor ‘RE-ANIMATOR’, this departure sometimes feels more like a simplistic regression than an exciting evolution. The snarl and cynicism is mostly missing from the ... read more

 - And Those Who Were Seen Dancing
71
One trick pony but I like the trick
 - MJ Lenderman
82
"Could you lend er man a set of spare keys, I've locked myself out?"

Some Molina hero worship here but it's just so good, intimate and tender from the start

 - This Is A Photograph
72
Like one of M Ward's best albums...only with more warmth and personality (...but a less distinctive voice).
 - Miles From Home
73
Underrated synthesis of various forms of jazz and drum n' bass/breakbeats.
 - Dogs and Alcohol
NR
Is it vain to buy a dog just to match it with your own hair colour?
 - Welcome to Violence
85
Really inventive noir jazz additions to high intensity neurofunk/drum n’ bass. The vocals are well used too.
 - Plume
74
Great to listen to while drifting in and out of sleep
 - Song Cycle
74
Preconceptions were in danger of stopping me appreciating this one; I'd expected either sweeping soundtrack style string arrangements (that's not really here but can be found elsewhere in his discog) or a Beach Boys informed set of pop songs with a side order of extra orchestration.

It was only when I recalibrated to accepting 'Song Cycle' as a cross between Joanna Newsom's (Van Dyke Park's co-produced) 'Ys' and the antiquated weirdness of Bob Drake's ever shifting and eclectic 'The Skull ... read more

 - Rattle and Hum
NR
I was all set to bury this strange victory lap of a record; there’s the fact it's a double set with roughly half the tracks recorded live and the rest in the studio, plus so many of these songs are cover versions, and then you also have Bono who’s starting to really cement that reputation for preachiness/rampant egomania with all the political prattle…and on and on.

So it's established that a lot’s working against 'Rattle & Hum', but stay with me, there’s a ... read more

 - Across a Crowded Room
80
Considering the mid '80s are such a graveyard for reputations you've got to give it to Thompson - this one still brings home the bacon.

I guess 'You Don't Say' is the 'most '80s' of the efforts here and isn't miles away from Robert Palmer or Lindsey Buckingham's output at the time, plus that itchy rhythm could have featured on Talking Heads' 'Little Creatures' maybe? - anyway, I like it, it's fun hearing RT deliver some straightforward pop music.

What surrounds this atypical number is a set ... read more

 - After Everything Now This
79
Certainly an album that would have benefitted from a trim as there's outright filler here and even some of the strongest songs are a little too indulgent - what stops these irritations derailing proceedings is that the consistent sound and enveloping mood are king.

When 'After Everything...' is hot we end up somewhere very close to 'career best' form (the double whammy of 'After Everything' and 'The Awful Ache') - these tracks are all elegant guitar vistas, delicately wistful vocals and an ... read more

 - The Argyll Cycle, Volume One
77
A mix of previously unreleased songs and rerecorded highlights from his early albums isn't something I'd imagine slapping a 77% rating on but here we are.

I resisted as long as I could but it's just another evocative set of classy Caledonian goodness.

 - Jackie Leven Said
NR
A bit of a curio, this is a live performance made up of half songs from Leven and half a short story from Ian Rankin that's split up into chunks.

Leven sometimes adds backing music to parts of the readings and he also tries to choose the best song from his catalogue to match each part of the story. Meanwhile Rankin's story references Leven and specific songs at points too.

The real draw here is the banter between the two of them that's so enjoyable (Leven's Michael Caine bit creased me up), ... read more

 - *Happiness Not Included
19
Wowzers

‘Nighthawks’ for most enjoyably awful song of the year? Sounds like the theme tune for a cartoon….that happens to be X-rated.

 - Take That & Party
NR
Take This Job and Shove It 🤩
 - WE
70
WE Willie Winkie

This ain’t that stinky

😮

 - We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong
NR
Sharon Van Boredom rides again, this one's (unbelievably) much less exciting than her last effort - ditching even more of her bright(er) pop influences for a barrel load of big n' bland n' breathy ballads. 'Mistakes' is the most pop influenced and uptempo song here and stands out for that - a blessed relief all told.

Whether these ballads choose to be synth'y or Springsteen'ish the result remains the same...boredom totale.

The sort of album to give a bad name to the song writing descriptors ... read more

 - Psycho
81
This is one dark n’ sleek slab of neurofunk very much in the Ed Rush & Optical mode.

In one word: relentless

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Recent Review Comments
On Everything Everything - Raw Data Feel
"appreciated :)"
On Van Dyke Parks - Song Cycle
"Np Figz, thank you"
On MySoftBulletin's review of The Flaming Lips - 24 Hour Song Skull
"all anyone needs, close the site"
On MySoftBulletin's review of MJ Lenderman - Boat Songs
"It’s a grower this one right? Need to check his earlier albums"
On Fontaines D.C. - Skinty Fia
"I rated the one before over a 90% too"
On MJ Lenderman - Boat Songs
"First to identify! You get a prize 🏆"
On Melody's Echo Chamber - Emotional Eternal
"yeah, I'm not saying Melody Prochet herself is less ambitious....just as you say this music/writing isn't as (ambitiously) experimental I'll keep listening, the rating is by no means set in stone - and 71% is a decent score from me to start with anyway. Thanks"
On Melody's Echo Chamber - Emotional Eternal
"Less ambitious in the sound and style, the track lengths alone hint at that, not less ambitious in wanting to create great music of course. Less ambitious doesn't necessarily equate to 'worse'. I wouldn't have described the previous albums as 'superior chill out' - but the lion's share of this album it fits imo"
On Melody's Echo Chamber - Emotional Eternal
"I think so, previous album was denser and more progressive, less 'just airy' - this is nearly as good though, just different, I like some froth"
On Trudy And The Romance - Sandman
"it's a bit of an oddbod"
On Angelo Badalamenti - The Straight Story
"Yeah, I love the film too. Music really adds to it, possibly THE essential element."
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"Appreciated :)"
On Machine Gun Kelly - mainstream sellout
"haha, that's a bit of an indignity being behind this one yeah, I do feel bad now"
On Fontaines D.C. - Skinty Fia
"I was expecting it to be good but it's surpassed that"
On Missing Andy - Generation Silenced
"what a pickle"
On Father John Misty - Chloë and the Next 20th Century
"The second song is ‘Everybody’s talkin at me’ Harry Nilsson without much of a tune…that’s one of the stronger and more original efforts! So poor, so bland"
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"Wish it wasn’t"
On Father John Misty - Chloë and the Next 20th Century
"😳"
On Destroyer - LABYRINTHITIS
"Jaron you nailed it, ‘Rubies’ Would be his best if Side B lived up to Side A Pretty much in agreement on the best songs here, I’d say my top four are 5, 1, 8, 4 in that order, ‘June’ is great too"
On The Jam - Sound Affects
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On Destroyer - LABYRINTHITIS
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On Destroyer - LABYRINTHITIS
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On Alex Cameron - Oxy Music
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