Album Reviews

Circuit des Yeux ­- -io

by Bekki Bemrose

Hayley Fohr’s latest vigorously conjures chaotic scenes of an inner mind trying to reconcile pitiless finality, and the resulting sound is huge

Clinic – Fantasy Island

by Ben Hogwood

Channelling late ’60s psychedelia has always been a feature of their best music, but adding flavours of dub and disco adds extra colour and spice

Herbert – Musca

by David Murphy

The latest album in Matthew Herbert’s “domestic house” style utilises samples from the farm on which he lives, alongside real instruments and a raft of vocalists

Self Esteem – Prioritise Pleasure

by John Murphy

An album to inspire your daughters and educate your sons with, and one that should win end of year polls

Róisín Murphy @ Brixton Academy, London

by Michael Hubbard

A joyous, euphoric evening of familiar feelings and something more from an endlessly inventive originator

Hayden Thorpe – Moondust For My Diamond

by Ben Hogwood

A great late night listen from an artist growing apace whose romantic heart is still key to his approach

Coldplay – Music Of The Spheres

by John Murphy

Chris Martin and co’s interplanetary back-to-basics latest features guest spots that seem to have been chosen on the basis of how many Spotify streams they’d produce

JOHN – Nocturnal Manoeuvres

by Graeme Marsh

The Johns Newton and Healy seem to be getting bigger, noisier and more menacing as time goes by

Maxïmo Park @ EartH, London

by Steven Johnson

Sounding fresh and galvanised, they’re very much a band that knows their role and can execute it with precision and power

James Blake – Friends That Break Your Heart

by Ben Devlin

His fifth album finds him trying on different sounds and styles, and producing some good music along the way

The Vaccines @ Concorde 2, Brighton

by Matt Cotsell

Five albums in, they are making some of the best pop music out there, snappy anthems with instantly memorable lyrics.

Pond – 9

by Graeme Marsh

Chucked together from lengthy jamming sessions where tracks were gradually moulded into songs, the Australians’ changed approach brings out a very different sound

Tirzah – Colourgrade

by Ben Devlin

Putting hypnotic lyrics to avant-garde beats with a devil-may-care attitude

Spector – Now Or Whenever

by Graeme Marsh

Always slightly in the shadows of some of their peers, with this showing they don’t deserve to be lingering in shadows of any kind

Do Nothing @ The Hope & Ruin, Brighton

by Matt Cotsell

With Chris Bailey and co around, none of us will ever be subjected to the horrors of an awkward silence again

The Specials – Protest Songs (1924-2012)

by John Murphy

With much to protest about, this is an interesting and moderately successful little detour from a band who are probably well overdue their ‘national treasure’ title

Blancmange – Commercial Break

by Ben Hogwood

Neil Arthur’s 14th album is a fascinating piece of work, marking the changes seen in urban life in the last year and a half

Vangelis – Juno To Jupiter

by Ben Hogwood

Bold and unstinting, the Greek composer transfixes with otherworldly music, giving a vivid account of a 365-million-mile journey

The Sisters Of Mercy @ Roundhouse, London

by Michael Hubbard

At their 40th anniversary, Andrew Eldritch’s outfit remains a band with a considerable and under-appreciated canon of work, directed by a man with a singular vision

Nao – And Then Life Was Beautiful

by Ben Devlin

Shimmers in the heat of the summer just gone, and strikes a good balance between exhortation and introspection

Mac McCaughan – The Sound Of Yourself

by Sam Shepherd

The quality across the board in the Superchunk chap’s compositions is consistent, and in this kind of form he is always a delight