Albums of the week

This week

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    The Twilight Sad - Nobody Wants To Be Here & Nobody Wants To Leave
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    Release Name
    Nobody Wants To Be Here & Nobody Wants To Leave
    Release Date
    (2014)
    Artist Name
    by The Twilight Sad
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    £4.99
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    Review

    Having spent a decade rendering misery exquisite, The Twilight Sad aren’t about to deviate from that sense of impending doom just yet. Offering up songs with titles like ‘Drown So I Can Watch’ and ‘Pills I Swallow’, the Kilsyth trio’s fourth album might appear foreboding in its gloom, but sonically it’s actually their most welcoming effort yet. The cold, industrial sounds that pervaded the last LP are now pared-back, and there’s a new-found sensitivity to their shoegaze guitar textures. Combine this with arguably their strongest songwriting to date, and the result is a record to cocoon yourself in during the dark winter months.

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    Taylor Swift - 1989
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    Release Name
    1989
    Release Date
    (2014)
    Artist Name
    by Taylor Swift
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    £6.99
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    Review

    Notable events in 1989: the Berlin Wall came down, Václav Havel became the first democratically elected president of Czechoslovakia, Denmark legalised civil partnerships for same-sex couples, and in a hospital in Reading, Pennsylvania, Andrea Swift gave birth to a baby girl named Taylor. Naturally, it’s the latter cultural landmark that’s celebrated here. Described by Swift as her “very first official, documented pop album”, this fifth opus was inspired by the “bold, risky” work that Madonna and Annie Lennox made in the late 80s. She’s taken no chances in regards to her commercial appeal, however, working with Max Martin, Ryan Tedder and fun.-guitarist Jack Antonoff, and creating world-beating pop hits like ‘Shake It Off’.

Previous weeks

  • Cover Art
    Ben Howard - I Forget Where We Were
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    Release Name
    I Forget Where We Were
    Release Date
    (2014)
    Artist Name
    by Ben Howard
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    £8.99
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    Review

    Being an acoustic balladeer and avid surfer, Devon lad Ben Howard has always been beleaguered by lazy comparisons to Jack Johnson. This second studio album should help Howard put some blue sky between himself and the Hawaiian troubadour. More ambitious in its scope than 2011 debut Every Kingdom, I Forget Where We Were finds the BRIT Award-winner plugging-in, letting go creatively, and showcasing a more complex side to his songwriting in the process. Thematically, his subject matter is as heart-on-sleeve as ever, but then you wouldn’t want it any other way, would you?

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    Scott Walker + Sunn O))) - Soused
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    Release Name
    Soused
    Release Date
    (2014)
    Artist Name
    by Scott Walker + Sunn O)))
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    £4.95
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    Review

    Scott Walker working with drone metal legends Sunn O)))? Yes, it’s the kind of collaboration that makes you double-take, but look deeper and you’ll see they’re both driven by a desire to displace the listener in their malevolent – often brutal – soundscapes. The Walker-penned, Sunn O)))-aided Soused is no exception. Whips crack, dissonant saxophones wail and doomy riffs reverberate, while Walker makes primal subjects seem poetic with vivid imagery and that gloriously-grandiose baritone. Oppressive as it unquestionably gets at times, overall Soused feels less foreboding than Bish Bosch or Monoliths + Dimensions, and yet is arguably more mesmeric than either.

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    Jessie Ware - Tough Love
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    Release Name
    Tough Love
    Release Date
    (2014)
    Artist Name
    by Jessie Ware
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    £8.99
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    Review

    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)
    Artist Name
    by Kindness
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    £9.90
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    Review

    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...

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    Hozier - Hozier
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    Release Name
    Hozier
    Release Date
    (2014)
    Artist Name
    by Hozier
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    £8.99
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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)
    Artist Name
    by Caribou
    Price
    £7.49
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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)
    Artist Name
    by SBTRKT
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    £7.99
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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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    Release Name
    Carry On The Grudge
    Release Date
    (2014)
    Artist Name
    by Jamie T
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    £8.99
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    Review

    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.