Albums of the week

This week

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    Jessie Ware - Tough Love
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    Release Name
    Tough Love
    Release Date
    (2014)
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    by Jessie Ware
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    Aside from those exquisitely-honeyed tones, what has always set Jessie Ware apart from her peers is her excellent taste in collaborators. On Devotion, they included Julio Bashmore, Dave Okumu and Kid Harpoon, and for Tough Love they’re joined by new pals Dev Hynes, Miguel, James Ford and Ed Sheeran. Ironically, with its gospel choir and cloying strings, the over-sentimental, Sheeran co-write is by far the weakest thing here. Gloss over that and you’ve a supremely classy, 21st century soul record on your hands, filled with bittersweet melodies and all manner of quirky production touches.

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    Kindness - Otherness
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    Release Name
    Otherness
    Release Date
    (2014)
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    by Kindness
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    Offering a warm, woozy take on vintage funk, house and R&B, World You Need A Change Of Mind was one of the most underrated albums of 2012, and remains one of our favourite debuts of the decade so far. Happily, it transpires that the follow-up is every bit as engaging, despite being a pretty different proposition sonically. Finding Adam Bainbridge dropping the tempo, digging even deeper into his record collection, and enlisting the talent of guest vocalists Robyn, Kelela and Tawiah, Otherness is a smokier, more soulful record than its predecessor. It’s almost as if it was custom-designed to be played post-club...

Previous weeks

  • Cover Art
    Hozier - Hozier
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    Release Name
    Hozier
    Release Date
    (2014)
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    by Hozier
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    If you were tasked with seeking out potential pop stars, you’d be forgiven for passing over Andrew Hozier-Byrne entirely. As unconventional an A-lister as the Wicklow singer-songwriter might be, that didn’t stop him shooting to fame in 2013, cutting through swathes of faceless dance-pop with four minutes of politicised, gothic-blues. A year on, he’s out to prove there’s more to Hozier than ‘Take Me To Church’. It’s an unenviable task, but one that he pulls off with aplomb, drawing on soul, jazz and rhythm and blues, and adding rich, smoky vocals.

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    Caribou - Our Love
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    Release Name
    Our Love
    Release Date
    (2014)
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    by Caribou
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    Last seen indulging his techno urges as Daphni, Dan Snaith now returns to the day job for the follow-up to 2010’s universally-adored Swim. Spoiler alert: Our Love is arguably even better. Demonstrating a technical prowess and imaginative scope that eludes most producers, Snaith glides effortlessly between styles and moods, leaving a trail of soulful slow jams and rainbow-hued dance cuts in his wake. Ranging from the sultry R&B of ‘Second Chance’ to the floor-friendly dopamine rush of ‘Can’t Do Without You’, Our Love is likely the most deeply-human electronic album you’ll hear this year.

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    SBTRKT - Wonder Where We Land (Explicit)
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    Release Name
    Wonder Where We Land
    Release Date
    (2014)
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    by SBTRKT
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    In an age where acts are lauded, forgotten and usurped at a staggering pace, spending too long out of the spotlight can seem a risky tactic. The question is, would you rather rush-release something half-baked to remain in the public consciousness, or take your time with the finer details and hope your audience waits for you? Commendably, Aaron Jerome opted for the more courageous approach, and it’s a gamble that’s paid off. Mixing up techno, house and soul with jazz, hip-hop and worldbeat, Wonder Where We Land is even more wide-reaching than its predecessor. It’s also jam-packed with fascinating collaborations, featuring old pals Sampha and Jessie Ware, and new friends Ezra Koenig, Rauri and A$AP Ferg.

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    Jamie T - Carry On The Grudge (Explicit)
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    Carry On The Grudge
    Release Date
    (2014)
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    by Jamie T
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    Whatever happened to Jamie T? Who is Burial? Are we human or are we dancer? Three of the great, unsolved musical mysteries of our time, ladies and gentlemen. Or, at least, they were ‘til Mr Treays cleared up the former by re-emerging from his lengthy hibernation back in July. Turns out the past five years haven’t been much fun for Wimbledon’s finest, and the upshot is an album filled with feelings of anger, anxiety, doubt and utter dejection. Funny thing is, despite the downbeat subject matter, Carry On The Grudge actually proves an utter joy to listen to, filled with the sort of stealthy grooves and unshakeable hooks that burrow their way deep into the darkest regions of your brain. If only all comebacks were this satisfying.

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    alt-J - This Is All Yours (Explicit)
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    This Is All Yours
    Release Date
    (2014)
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    by alt-J
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    Really, the recent departure of lead-songwriter and “silent leader” Gwil Sainsbury should have spelled the end for Alt-J. Then again, when have they ever played by the rules? On the follow-up to their Mercury Prize-winning debut, the trio continue to laugh in the face of conventional song-structures and subject matter, offering up atypical arrangements and intricate rhythms, plus a song about self-love, an ode to ‘Aliens’, crisp packet-based sexual innuendo and a Miley Cyrus sample. The maddest thing about all of this is that, taken together, it works. Simply jam-packed with ideas, This Is All Yours is a fascinating a comeback.

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    Aphex Twin - Syro
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    Release Name
    Syro
    Release Date
    (2014)
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    by Aphex Twin
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    Writ in the skies, buried in the deep web, the announcement of Richard D James’ return was more than clever marketing: it served as a metaphor for the career of an artist who has consistently reached further – and whose influence on contemporary music runs deeper – than any other electronic musician. Arriving over a decade on from Drukqs, Syro suggests James is still happiest operating without boundaries, offering up skewed, arrhythmic takes on techno, jungle and funk in the same breath as an ‘Avril 14th’-esque piano piece. Predictably, it makes for a thrillingly unpredictable listen.

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    Lia Ices - Ices
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    Release Name
    Ices
    Release Date
    (2014)
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    by Lia Ices
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    How many albums have you heard that were inspired by “Persian percussion, hip hop beats, lo-fi, hi-fi, Pakistani pop, Link Wray, Jason Pierce, gospel, dub.” Few, if any. On her third LP, Lia Ices takes that exact rag-tag rabble of reference points and – with a little help from producer Clams Casino – splices them together across a set of delightfully off-kilter electronic pop. Brimming with brilliantly-executed ideas, and showcasing a sonic range that extends from the beatific bounce of ‘Higher’ to the rolling groove of ‘Waves’, Ices should offer ample solace to any music lovers currently mourning the absence of Bat For Lashes and El Perro Del Mar.

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    The Script - No Sound Without Silence
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    Release Name
    No Sound Without Silence
    Release Date
    (2014)
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    by The Script
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    “We’ve had time to contemplate about what we want to say to the industry... You can't have anything good to say if you don't think about it first.” So said Script frontman Danny O’Donoghue, when asked by the Belfast Telegraph to explain their fourth album’s philosophical title. Basically, every single note here has been carefully considered to bring the listener a true reflection of The Script in 2014. Funnily enough, it turns out The Script of 2014 aren’t too dissimilar to The Script of 2012 – or 2010 for that matter – which can only be good news for fans of anthemic pop-rock.