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Brief Encounters: New Album Releases 5-19-23 – 5-25-23 Reviewed

Brandy Clark – Brandy Clark – At its best, Brandy is the best country singer: gorgeous, cascading melodies and a glorious voice, what’s not to like? At her worse, the songs fail to hit the way she things it is: lesbian sad songs are a redondo cliche. – B

Walk Around The Moon – Dave Matthews Band – prog jam as Americana wannabe, it goes on and on and on and ends up where you always do with Dave: changing to anything else – D+

Drastic Symphonies – Def Leppard – with the Royal Philharmonic, if you want a laugh try this take on “Pour Some Sugar On Me” – D

Excuse The Mess – Ella Langley – on her debut EP, Ella proves herself adept about country classicism with a tinge of 80s about her, “Could’ve Been Her” is a goodie and while most of the rest can get a little too generic rocker blues, most of it works – B

i’ve seen a way – Mandy, Indiana – electronic mood music with guitar thrown in and spoken word from time to time – C+

Non Stop Erotic Cabaret … And Other Stories (Live) – Soft Cell – from the duos 2021 London performance, plus odds and sods, and more recent items – B

The Big Mess – Tanlines – Eric Emm and Jesse Cohen, part time stay at home dads and part time indie duo’s first album on Merge, is a low key affair of heavy drums and pieces of guitar sticking out – C+

Now – Graham Nash – sweet as molasses but with none of his Hollies style rock em sock em on a well boring set – C

Broken by Desire to Be Heavenly Sent – Lewis Capaldi – did you read Robert Christgau’s review? “as the classic shape and pace of a first-rate long-player: 12 tracks, the first six all aces, then a mild seven-eight-nine dip ready and eager to be righted by a strong three-track finale. As is generally the idea, the most fetching melodies tumble by fetchingly up top and then take a break before bringing the album to a proper close at the very end. And as is also the idea although not always the reality, the lyrics sharpen the enjoyment quotient of tunes that sound like folkish power ballads for an aural world where hip-hop never happened…” I saw Lewis at Jingle Ball one year and was charmed myself, but I was charmed by James Blunt opening for Ed Sheeran as well, and those fetching melodies? Not so much – C

Seven Psalms – Paul Simon – a death rattle as scary invitable, one song, seven recurring psalms, and a sign that says entrance he hopes with an acoustic guitar and moodiness (but I bet you got to fill out a form first, and then you wait in the line) – B+

Rufus Wainwright (25th Anniversary Edition) – Rufus Wainwright – Adds ten songs to his brilliant debut – A

I Only See the Moon – The Milk Carton Kids – back in 2019 I reviewed the Americana duo at Zankel Hall and dubbed them “soft, sweet, close harmony, sad songs”, it was a terrific set but they haven’t reached those heights before: this album is so ethereal and wispy you are scared it will float away, beauty is fine when tethered to something, MCK tether it to their harmonies and finger picking and when the melody melts so do they – B-

Calm Ya Farm – The Murlocs – the Australian’s five piece are an off the rack rock, generating old school psychedelic country rock and teenage vibes of the first order about bad kids living feral and only a harp solo away from losing it, lead by King Gizzard’s Ambrose Kenny-Smith and bassist Cook Craig – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – B+

FAST X (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – Various Artists – the franchise continues its pivot from all hip hop to a huge dash of Latin pop added to the mix, especially a great J Balvin track name after the family that races together “Toretto” – B

The Little Mermaid (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – Various Artists – I am all for the colorblind casting for the live action version from Disney, what I am less keen on is the songs which are even worse than “Aladdin” with only “Part Of Your World” even vaguely memorable except for one song written especially for the movie by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Alan Mencken squawked by the wonderful Awkwafina – C

Mirror Of The Sky – Yes – Steve Howe dates back to 1970 and is closest to what amounts to an original band member but who cares? This is perhaps less bombastic than we are used to but so what? It still stinks – C-

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