Albums of Note...After writing one of the official tracks for the London 2012 Olympics, Muse release their latest album, Supremacy. Our reviewer finds something lacking in the band's latest full-length offering, remaking that it sounds more like a soundtrack or a rock opera than a conventional album. Listeners will already be aware of the album's most contentious track, 'Unsustainable,' with its controversial dubstep elements but aside from such avenues of experimentation, Muse are still lacking a big hit from 2nd Law, such as they had with 'Plug In Baby.' There's potential for these songs to sound huge in the live arena but on record, this particularly collection of tracks is unfulfilling."Sprawling, bombastic and overflowing with ideas, yet somehow lacking something that's impossible to place."
Mumford & Sons return with a highly anticipated second album. Their debut release, Sigh No More saw the band's momentum grow at alarming speed and they have become a cornerstone for the nu-folk movement of British artists. Their second release, Babel is pretty much more of what you'd expect from Mumford & Sons. They've gone for the 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' approach to songwriting and stuck to their distinctive sound that has stood them in such good stead up until now."Many of the songs here build to barnstorming choruses, and while Mumford has flashes of anger to vent ('Broken Crown'), his vocal delivery has a warmth and tenderness that seeps into every crevice of the record. With no shortage of memorable songs, catchy melodies, and reasons to buy a banjo, Babel succeeds on pretty much every level." We also have a new video from Mumford & Sons: 'I Will Wait' shows the band performing in front of a huge crowd As the crowd hold lighters in the air whilst the band play on, it's an atmospheric and moving representation of their live shows.
Kingston duo Alpines prove they've earned their place within the dark-pop genre with this second EP. 'Early Hours' is 14 minutes of uplifting joy. There may only be four tracks, but each one is crafted into something beautiful and stands apart from the next. Exactly what you want to hear on any record.
Last year's venture 'Night Drive' was a bit overpowering synth wise, but this is clean, classy and all elements magnetize for a powerful effect. If Alpines set their snappy name to appear big and icy, then it was a good decision. Catherine Pockson's voice is very current; the varied tones combine the feisty nature of Clare Maguire with the animated pitch of Elly Jackson and a relaxed nod to Jessie Ware.
'Hidden Love' has an electric chorus showcasing the ability of Bob Matthews, who makes up the other 50% of Alpines. The woody beats that open the song and crop up from time to time in their abstract pattern add a final layer of brilliance. The whirling synths dip up and down post-chorus, rippling in its excitable tempo. 'This isn't love, it's a hidden love', repeats Pockson. Beware, it's a catchy one.
Continue reading: Alpines - Early Hours EP Review
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As the second month of 2021 gets ever nearer we take a look at the new releases that are set to delight our ears over the coming weeks.