Archive of ‘Album Reviews’ category
Brisbane’s The Phoncurves have released their EP ‘Heartstrings’ on the world, and given us a collection of four songs to melt our ears too.
The Phoncurves create their music around the perpetually strong and stirring vocal combination of Abbie Roberts and Naomi Hodges. These two have voices just that just belong together, whether it be harmonising as in ‘Heartstrings’, bouncing off one another like in ‘Motionless’, you just cannot argue that the pair don’t make just ear-warmingly beautiful sounds.
Add the instrumental arrangement of delicate hi-hat drumming and soft acoustic guitars, and you get an EP that pushes folk pop to the far extremes of sweetness without being sickly so. Each of the four tracks, is well layered, makes a great use of pauses and silence, and just envelops an overall emotional and stirring vibe. The whole EP has this undercurrent of grunge and sadness characteristic of a bluesy rock number, but it is delivered so sweetly you wouldn’t even notice.
Having recently been a Triple J Unearthed ‘Feature Artist’, its safe to say the anticipation about The Phoncurves latest EP has not been unjust, with the pair delivering a delightful second tasting.
Puddinghead is the third album released by Brisbane five-piece Ball Park Music, and by far their most sonically exciting to date.
Puddinghead, a Shakespearing term essentially meaning to “fuck up the un-fuckable”, is a somewhat ironic title for an addictive album that pushes the boundaries BPM have previously established. Their quirkiest album yet, Puddinghead sees BPM embrace a host of unique sounds in order to deliver rapids of infectious, punchy indie pop. This ranges from the computer-ish synths and what is surely an accordion, to the staple soaring hooks and plentiful abundance of catchy high pitched keyboard melodies. This upbeat energy almost makes the intense emotional undercurrents of the lyrics go unnoticed in many tracks, including in lead single ‘She Only Loves Me When I’m There’.
Despite the quirky modern day indieness of it all, there are also some clear nods to 90s, with the Seinfield theme sounding ‘A Good Life Is the Best Revenge’ and the grungy almost Nirvana homage ‘Struggle Street’. Recording in their own studio has also led to an improvement in the quality of sound, with there being no weak points in the tapestry of sound. In this I mean there are no distracting, half notes, or scruffy atmospheric pieces. Everything is sharp and thick, and hits your ears firmly.
Personally, ‘The Next Life Already’ is the song that resonates with me the most on this record. Perhaps because it illustrates the effort, and anxieties that BPM incurred producing the album, or maybe because that message is just so easy to relate to. Nonetheless, BPM have produced an album that is an addiction for the ears, so catchy, so fun and in typical indie fashion so ironic.
MT Warning have just released their debut album ‘Midnight Set’, cementing themselves as one of the most interesting and unique bands on the Australian music scene.
The chance project of an American film-maker, Taylor Steele, and local singer-songwriter Mikey Bee, the pair aimed to produce music that uses instruments to tell a visual narrative. This unusual combination has produced an album that is starkly different to anything else being released at the moment.
In many ways, MT Warning’s debut ‘Midnight Set’, is a concept album at heart, but I think it achieves the aims the duo set out to accomplish. The album itself is an art piece in that the 11 tracks individually have nowhere near the power or impact, that a listen to the complete record offers. That is not to say the pair cannot write a single, but reflects more on the album being seen as story, or to use an analogy, a book. Thus, listening to a single song, is like reading a chapter out of context, which despite being enjoyable leaves this dirty feeling inside.
I love the soft, brooding folk music, and the naturalistic sounds this pair manage to produce. The lyrical strengths and visual imagery they conjure are second to none, and are sure to appeal to the naturist inside all of us. My only warning is that the album is one that must be listened to as a whole if you are to capture its true meaning and achieve the most enjoyment from it. Nonetheless, MT Warning have dropped what has definitely been one of the most unique and satisfying Australian debut’s of recent times.
Brisbane band Pigeon have just dropped EP number two called ‘Settle In’.
Having cited The Cat Empire as one of their favourite bands and referred to early days experimenting with hip hop beats via ‘how to’ Youtube guides, its easy to see where Pigeon are coming from on this latest record.
Lacking the ferociousness or intensity of The Cat Empire, Pigeon have opted for the more low-fi electro option, and boy have they nailed it. Underpinned by a range of processed hip hop beats, they have managed to produce an album that due to its multitude of influences is easily accessible to the listener, without compromising any quality.
The two released singles, ‘Curtain Call’ and ‘Two Moon Love’ are the major standout tracks, but the catchiness and stirring summery synth of ‘Climbing Trees’ may see that dropped as a single in the not too distant future.
Take nothing away from remaining tracks, ‘Settle In’ and ‘Crowhurst’, which deliver more suave indie electro but lack the punchiness or intensity of the others to have that same anthemic feel to them. Having said that, they are still quality enough to have you reaching for the iPod to check what songs playing when it shuffles on.
The self-proclaimed electro horn rock outfit have really delivered on the 5-track record with their infectious mix of brass, electro and indie rock shining through in an album that will have you dancing up a storm, coated in sweat, and absolutely loving it.
Matt Corby has returned with his eagerly anticipated new EP ‘Resolution’.
Having already released two singles, that almost everyone has come to hear and love, it only left half the EP in any doubt. And after one listen, that doubt was gone.
Matt Corby has shown that he has a real ability for making brooding, heavy, emotional songs and the Resolution EP continues to highlight this talent. Whilst the EP doesn’t contain songs that are as accessible as his previous hit ‘Brother’, I think Matt Corby has really developed his sound and provided an album of mature substance. Whilst his husky vocals remain a highlight on each of the four tracks, he is no longer reliant on his voice as his main instrument. Instead this new EP sees Matt Corby shine, being propped up fantastically by heavy bellowing beats, catchy rustic guitar patterns and a much more complete and tighter instrumental sound.
My favourite song of the EP is the currently unreleased ‘Lay You Down’, which is underpinned by this eerie violin pattern that just draws you into the full emotion of the song. Again Corby’s vocals are a highlight, but delivered so sparsely that they almost have a greater effect than when they form the lynch pin.
A fantastic brooding EP that is sure to please the die hard Matt Corby fans and draw some new ones in.
If indie pop five piece Tigertown haven’t made a fan out of you yet, their latest EP ‘Wandering Eyes‘ sure will.
The five track ‘Wandering Eyes’ EP is the third from the band who have continued to grow their sound and gone from strength to strength with each release. As soon as the first few notes of the opening track ‘Weary One’ hit your ears, you know that Tigertown are just going to charm you with their delightful harmonies and rustic eclectic beats throughout the EP. And to be frank, that excited me.
Lead single ‘What You Came Here For’ only added to that excitement with the driving collective of beats and soaring vocals, quite rightly drawing praise and plenty of spins on the old radio. ‘Back in Time’ is an equally strong track, that really highlights the poppier side of Tigertown’ music as it delivers a tighter, more intense but equally harmonious sound. ’Wandering Eyes’ delivers a return to a more eclectic folk vibe that satisfies the eardrums with its classic harmonies and mellow beats, before the EP then rounds off softly and delicately with the mellow love ballad ‘Ghost’. It was a charming end for an EP that whilst varied in nature, somehow maintained that quintessentially Tigertown feel that we have grown to love over their three releases.
A slightly interesting fact that struck me about the ‘Wandering Eyes’ EP is that all songs are 3:19 to 3:24 seconds long, which just seemed almost formulated. A strange piece of trivia that goes no further in explaining the quality of Tigertown’s sound, but did draw some intrigue.
Overall, the entire EP just oozes charm, and I can quite confidently say that ‘Wandering Eyes’ will have you swooning to their tunes near uncontrollably, as their gorgeous voices, rustic beats and positive vibe combine to create an EP where almost every song gets stuck in your head. In fact, my only complaint from this charming and quaint little EP is that it is not a full length album – which given the band has two EPs under their belt already, I was desperately hoping for.