Comfort To Me (Rough Trade)
Having spent all of lockdown confined to a flat, Amyl And The Sniffers have come charging out, armed with bag fulls of attitude and a fistful of blinding new songs to unleash their blazing new album Comfort To Me. More Aussie than 100 episodes of Neighbours, Amyl And The Sniffers sound like a jam session between AC/DC, Idles and Motörhead. In singer Amy Taylor the band have a vicious vocalist who looks like Debbie Harry but delivers like GG Allin, with every lyric spat out like her life depended on it.
Listening to Amyl And The Sniffers is about as close as it gets to going back to punk’s formative years and whereas 1976 had its anthems, tracks like Freaks To The Front could be the calling card that may well usher in a new age of punk, because we are always searching for the future of punk right? Well, we truly may have found it this time.
words CHRIS ANDREWS
II – Those We Don’t Speak Of (Nuclear Blast)
Nightwish veterans, keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen and guitarist Troy Donockley, show their gentler sides in the second album from their side project, Arui. Johanna Kurkela’s delicate vocals add an ethereal quality to songs that have all the power of Nightwish but without the theatrics. Pearl Diving, the album’s single and standout track, is quietly anthemic; Light And Flood, an instrumental piece, has biblical undertones.
This is a dreamscape, a fairy tale, a journey into the unknown, but like every fairy story it has darker moments: the marching footsteps on The Long Walk are disconcerting. The Finnish three-piece are accomplished musicians and there’s not a note out of place or a jarring lyric here. Those We Don’t Speak Of does not give up all its secrets at once and deserves further listenings. At just under an hour long, it still feels too short – mainly because I didn’t want the album to end.
words LYNDA NASH
Mirrors (Ninja Tune)
You know an album is going to be good if it’s released on Ninja Tune. Founded in early 90s London by Matt Black and Jonathan More, aka Coldcut, it’s one of the world’s leading independent record labels – initially a home for Coldcut’s own productions, subsequently ones from likeminded leftfield artists. After making waves in 2017 with debut LP Time Spent Away From U, Swedish producer DJ Seinfeld – Armand Jakobsson – is releasing his second album Mirrors on the label.
Opening with the feelgood She Loves Me, the tracks lean heavily towards positive sounds, moving through genres from UK garage to breaks to deep house. Dreamy vocals help to tell the story and it’s sometimes euphoric – Someday, notably, has a lovely old school vibe to it. I had friends and family over at the weekend and this album was on repeat; it’s also made for the dancefloor, preferably somewhere fun and hot.
words EMMA J SMITH
Live 1966 (Nice)
If you think the Small Faces were all ichycoo-pop and lazy Sunday afternoons in the English countryside, Live 1966 will remind you of their rhythm & blues roots. The 14 unreleased tracks include covers of James Brown’s Please, Please, Please and Larry Williams’ Strange, with lyrics ahead of its time. But it’s Steve Marriott’s gruff, bluesy and underrated vocal that’s the star of the show here, followed by the jazzy keyboard (played by Jimmy Winston) that was a staple of much 1960s music.
Recorded at the Twenty Club, Belgium, just before the summer of love, songs capture the energy of the decade and the sound quality is pretty good considering this is a restored bootleg copy. Live 1966 isn’t an album you’d play on a loop, more a time capsule to be brought out every so often as a reminder of a time when music was raw and real.
words LYNDA NASH
The Witness (Joyful Noise)
To these ears, unfamiliar with Suuns’ previous records, The Witness seems to exist on a hard-to-find radio frequency. No matter how much time you spend carefully turning the dial back and forth, you can never quite get on its wavelength – though sporadic snatches of songs convince you to persist in hope that it might yet happen.
The Canadians’ fifth LP, a texturally rich, nebulous amalgam of sonic influences from indie to electronica to avant-garde jazz, neither truly floats like a butterfly nor stings like a bee, too often drifting directionlessly and listlessly like a washed-out and washed-up Animal Collective. Witness Protection has a greater sense of purpose, and the twittering birdsong of Timebender charms, but generally speaking the songs – all cursed with heavily treated vocals – run through the fingers like water.
Drummer Liam O’Neill has spoken about “the patience that we allowed ourselves” in making the album. It remains to be seen how many people will be willing to grant The Witness the patience it demands but only fleetingly rewards.
words BEN WOOLHEAD
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