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Be Here Now: Snapshot Reviews Of New Albums March 11th, 2014

Wow, not terrible at all

Wow, not terrible at all

Lift Your Spirit – Aloe Blacc – If you think all Blanc offers is an Elton John sample, you are wrong. This is a clever, catchy mainstream pop soul album, with many small pleasures. The only thing missing is the follow-up to the one with the Elton John sample. Which opens the album, just the way it should have – B

In A Tidal Wave Of Mystery – Capital Cities – Mainstream electronica, featuring yet another bedsit duo forming a band and taking it on the road. This deluxe version to cash in on “Safe And Sound” reaches its nadir with the least soulful “Nothing Compares 2 U” – C-

Dean Wareham – Dean Wareham – From Galaxie 500 to Luna, Wareham has nothing to prove when it comes to extreme loner folk but proves it any way with a perfectly morbid set of soulful pop songs – B+

Reflections – Don Williams – There is a cottage industry of one foot in the grave country singers releasing gentle go quietly into that night -hell, Willie Nelson has been doing it for the past 20 years. Now it is Don Williams turn and this is a masterful brace of softly my way-ers by the gentle giant – B+

The Take Off And Landing Of Everything – Elbow – As a long time Elbow sneerer please allow me to eat my words as this superbly melancholic and astune album of love’s labors losts will undoubtedly repay close listening with a crying jag. Imagine the National meets Radiohead, now subtract the whimsy – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A-

The Classic – Joan As Police Woman – More of the same for the fourth time round, but if you can get past her moniker. what you’ll find is tough minded pop crossover r&b  and a way with a line, “I don;t wanna be nostalgic for what never was” she sings, as she honors without really adding to some great influences – B

Loco Di Amor – Juanes – Latin American pop ballads are lachrymose bullshit and they sink this Colombian superstar except for the vast majority of the Americas who love Latin American pop ballads. Listen to last years smash hit “La Luz” featured here and compare it to the Samba based title track and you’ll see how nothing can sustain the dull plod of his ballads – C+

The Truth – Ledesi – R&B doesn’t get much better than this in 2014, a just about flawless collection of rhythmic balancing act below stupendous soul songs. I wish her voice was a little better, it could be any one – A-

Love Letters – Metronomy – If you can get past the name, not easy, what you will find is very musical electronica which never lets the urge to add tracks and tweak every track get in the way of the songs, which could be better – B-

Place In The Sun – Ozomatl – Latin American dance rock crossover is a hit and miss affair though you can bet it kills live – C+

Slow Me Down – Sara Evans – How do you know this is a move from country to pop? Sara’sdresses are getting shorter. How do you know it doesn’t work? The Vince Gill duet doesn’t help – C-

Electric Ocean – Scraps – From Australia, she’s a bedsit wonder constructing perfect sad songs full of atmosphere and striking sounds . Try “Asleep” which isn’t – A-

Cursing The Sea – September Girls – We’ve heard this indie pop ambient stuff before and like it or don’t. I don’t, it bores me – C

Rise Of An Empire – Young Money – Maybe here is the answer to our Li’l Wayne and friends boring sameyness and inability to release an album without 40 minutes of filler. Here each player, major and minor, get a track and it works fine. “Trophies” is a great song – A-

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