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Be Here Early: New Album Reviews 7-21-17 – 7-27-17

Here You Are – Billy Ocean – The 80s superstar with an album of MOR covers, a pretty good “No Woman, No Cry” is a highlight – C+

King Of The North – Bugzy Malone – Proof Grime doesn’t leave London, even Manchester, where Bugzy is from, isn’t strong enough. Speaking of which, congrats to the man for getting the rights to “Wonderwall”: locals sticking together  – C+

Universal High – Childhood – First rate blue eyed soul via the UK, “California Kight” is up there in Average White Band territory – B

Barefoot In My Head – Chris Robinson – Exceptionally lousy, the Black Crowes weren’t great but they were light years ahead of this awful Southern bore in search of a lead guitarist – D

Mellow Waves – Cornelius – Gorgeous guitar melodicism from the former noise merchant – B

Stony Hill – Damian Marley – Consider him our token Marley, this has a lotta strong dancehall tracks and less of that rastaman seriousness – C+

What Do You Think About The Car? – Declan Mckenna – The UK 18 year popster writes fabulous and addictive agitprop, “Brazil” you know but try “The Kids Don’t Wanna Go Home” – B

Wind – Eric Roberson – One of the finer r&b albums of the year, a place where smooth jazz meets a solid bottom and horns are nearly always melodic – B+

Sacred Hearts Club – Foster The People – I had these indie pop dance beats guys down as one hit wonders after “Pumped Up Kicks” but nah, these guys deserve a coupla hits off this one, starting with “Doing It For The Money”. And while “Love Like Sid And Nancy” might not be the best song, it is still a tough little EDM track  and has the strongest sentiment – B+

The Knife – Goldfinger – Business as usual for the terrifically exciting pop punk ska guys on their first album in nine years. They haven’t learnt much in all these years but everything they’ve learnt they share here. Listen out for Mark Hoppus, and that is Travis Barker, but they don’t get in the way of the ever skilful John Feldmann – B

Lust For Life – Lana Del Rey – This is her fourth great album in a row, it takes her nowhere she hasn’t been before and it doesn’t have a flat out masterpiece like “High On The Beach,” but there is a sense where she doesn’t find suicide a solution anymore, and if she sees possibility only within a web of disquiet, she sees it anyway – B+

Perfect Timing – Nav – The other Punjabi rapper, Nav, has released a real boring album – C-

Wins & Losses – Meek Mill – Overblown bore – C-

Goodnight Rhonda Lee – Nicole Atkins – Atkins has a terrific voice, and when the material finds her she sounds like a Roy Orbison emotional powerhouse. Unfortunately, the material doesn’t find her often enough – B-

Add Violence EP – Nine Inch Nails – The pop stuff is as draggy as the industrial stuff… the moment has passed – C

Nyck @ Knight – Nyck @ Knight – There is nothing here as revelatory as Kirk Knight & Dyemond Lewis’s “Extortion,” instead it is standard issue Pro Era highlighted and with a lot of skills to its snarl. It’s nothing like Baby Trap, instead it is just-pre Deep South, it comes from the world that brought us Good Ass Music.. But it is missing a coupla standout tracks to break it in, though “Highlight” comes close – B

Crooked Calypso – Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott – Paul has never improved on that Beautiful South greatest hits, but at his most uninspired, this album for instance, his melodic skills are a reflex. Nothing stands out enough, and Jacqui doesn’t add to it, she didn’t on the last album either, but if this is the bottom, it ain’t that far down – B

Golden – Romeo Santos – I was never convinced by either Aventura or Santos solo, always a touch too laid back for my tastes. But this is a leap forward, the drums are more effusive, the songs stick out whether you will or not,  the hooks click in, sometimes acoustic guitar hooks, sometimes bongos, and by the time you reach the song with Daddy Yankee it is all over. Hey, maybe Bachata doesn’t suck  – ALBUM OF THE WEEK –  A-

Morse Code – Sage The Gemini – West Coast rapper has one hot dance track after another on his first release in three years -if you go to clubs you won’t be able to get away from him this summer. Too much autotune but when he hits it right, try the early “Reverse,” it is just about untouchable – B+

Words – Sara Evans – The old school country singer has the voice for it, and when she gets the right song, “Diving In Deep” is Christie McVie good, she is great, when she is doing bluesy rave ups she is not good – C+

Rival Island – She Sir – Lovely shoegaze dreamlike melodies but anchored to strong songs – B

Resolute – Stu Larsen – Easy going folk pop tunes – B-

Pillar Of Fire – Tau Cross – Hardcore ordinaire, though the singer is better than the average bowels of hell, he has a powerful rasp that adds depth where there isn’t much – C+

The Good Book Vol 2 – The Alchemist – The terrific rap producer is other worldly when it comes to samples and backing tracks, it sounds like experimental bad mood music, once he starts rapping I lose interest – B-

Leave Home – The Ramones – How odd is it to hear a 33 minute sprint stretched to 176 minutes, and how funny to hear rough cuts of rough songs. The live at CBGBs from 1977  is pretty excellent as well. It’s just a pity the Brudders aren’t around to luxuriate in it all – A

The Tallest Man On Earth With Y Music – The Tallest Man On Earth – A chamber music sextet joins TTMOE and everybody makes out very well. Here and there it defines ponderous but for the most part it is folk music on steroids, “Revelation Blues” is simply lovely – B

Tha Truth, Pt 3 – Tra The Truth – His rap on “Fallin Down” is other worldly and Dram kills the hook, but a little goes a long, long way, hard edge gangsta rap stuff but a little too dark – C+

Heatwave – Trapped Under Ice -Excellent hardcore album, eleven songs in thirteen minutes and they all punch very very hard plus the material is very very strong – B+

Bitch I’m The Shit 2 – Tyga – 2? Did I miss 1 or does he mean “as well”? The guy gets pop and anybody who can get a verse outta Kanye has some cool,  but  even so there is nothing to define him except a nasty little flow  – C

Flower Boy – Tyler, The Creator – This is his best album since Goblin, the reason is because musically it is very solid, the tracks are hot and different, nothing is like anyone. The raps? His voice is good, he has aged nicely, but the lyrics are weak. The instrumental that closes the album is fabulous  – B-

2017 Reggae Madness – Various Artists – Reggae has been going downhill ever since Buju Banton was jailed, unless more Marley scion is your thing. This is the best way to get up on the sounds of Jamaica, including new Buju though Lloyd Brown is represented three times and sounds better than ever – B+

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