Albums of the week: a round-up of the latest releases
Ultimate crooner Michael Buble presents Nobody But Me, American rockers Jimmy Eat World share Integrity Blues, and US teens The Lemon Twigs debut with Do Hollywood. We round up the best of this week’s releases.
MICHAEL BUBLE — NOBODY BUT ME
Michael Buble has been a busy man. In between performing at this year’s Apple Music Festival and filming a one-off TV special for the BBC, the Canadian crooner — whose Christmas album is a festive tradition as much as mulled wine and mince pies — returns with his seventh LP, Nobody But Me, which sees him taking on production duties for the first time.
While it may have meant months of sleepless nights for the 41-year-old father-of-two, the result, which comes three years after 2013’s To Be Loved, is a very slick album consisting of three new tracks and nine jazz covers. Buble’s smooth vocals seduce listeners with his rendition of Nina Simone’s My Baby Just Cares For Me and My Kind Of Girl, made famous by Frank Sinatra and Count Basie, as well as Matt Monro, but the original songs, such as the title track featuring The Roots rapper Tariq ‘Black Thought’ Trotter and Someday with Meghan Trainor (co-written by her and One Direction’s Harry Styles), are also toe-tapping highlights.
8/10: Shereen Low
JIMMY EAT WORLD — INTEGRITY BLUES
More than two decades since their debut, Arizona’s emo pioneers Jimmy Eat World are back with their ninth studio album, Integrity Blues.
The angst of youth may have been replaced with a more mature, considered sound — there’s nothing here to match the raw power of Pain or Bleed American — but there’s enough of the old Jimmy Eat World to please the die-hards. Frontman Jim Adkins’ distinctive vocals and ear for a melody haven’t diminished over the years, and lyrically he’s still exploring the same themes of identity, self-esteem and personal growth, albeit from an older, more thoughtful perspective.
The band seem more willing to experiment with different song textures — such as the electronic feel of Pass The Baby or the brooding atmospherics of the title track — but are still at their best when they sound most like themselves of old, on the rocking single Get Right and the melodic opener, You With Me.
8/10: Daren Francis
SAVOY MOTEL — SAVOY MOTEL
Describing themselves as not just a location but a state of mind,
Savoy Motel are bringing the Seventies back.
The Nashville quartet (Jeffrey Novak on bass, vocals, drummer Jessica McFarland, and guitarists Mimi Galbierz and Dillon Watson), armed, with their Maestro drum machine, are teetering on the edge of the prog rock that graced the UK in the early Eighties. International Language is a nine-minute extravaganza that wouldn’t have been lost on a Rick Wakeman or an ELO 12-inch.
The first track on the album, Souvenir Shop Rock, screams of The Zutons and showcases everything they could and should have been. The production over the whole project is astounding and a credit to Novak’s vision and perfectionism. Western Version Boogie is the stand-out track, with shades of jazz funk and a twist of something almost shoegazer-like too. The soporific beats and overlaid funk leads to a very chilled sound.
8/10: Rachel Howdle
HACIENDA CLASSICAL — GRAEME PARK AND MIKE PICKERING
An inspired idea, Hacienda Classical is the work of two of the legendary nightclub’s top DJs, Graeme Park and Mike Pickering, alongside former New Order bassist Peter Hook, and Manchester Camerata.
Together, they have arranged some of the greatest dance tracks of the Eighties and Nineties for classical purposes, and the result is perhaps surprisingly effective. They’ve been touring the show over the summer and delighted both ageing ravers and jealous youngsters who weren’t there for the real deal, and now we have a proper album version to enjoy. It plays much like a concert, in fact, one of the most effective elements is the way each track merges into the next. It’ll be a miracle if you don’t get to the end of the album and demand to hear the originals. Highlights include Voodoo Ray, Ride On Time and the climax, You Got The Love.
7/10: Rob Barker
THE LEMON TWIGS — DO HOLLYWOOD
Long Island teen brothers Brian and Michael D’Addario — widely touted as being on the cusp of massive success — have produced a promising debut in Do Hollywood.
The guys played and sang everything in the studio and they’re clearly accomplished, as they come from a musical family and have been “playing rock music since they were old enough to walk and talk”. I Wanna Prove To You is, however, not a good choice of opening track and seems to be more about the message than the song, a strange pastiche of early Sixties rock ‘n’ roll.
It gets moving from there, though, with the guys playing too many instruments to count. Claiming inspiration from The Beatles, Queen and the Beach Boys, it reaches a climax with As Long As We’re Together — before sadly descending into middle of the road blandness. But there’s certainly something worth watching out for here.
6/10: Steve Crancher