Belfast Telegraph

Albums of the week: From Camila Cabello to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

What better way to kick off the year than with the sizzling sounds of Havana singer Camila Cabello and her debut album Camila? Mixed with a few other terrific releases, you’re guaranteed to be (ahem) Havana good time.

CAMILA CABELLO — CAMILA

Sir Elton John predicted 2018 would be “an amazing year” for Camila Cabello during a radio interview with Beats 1.

If her debut, self-titled album is anything to go by, it’s an apt statement. Cabello rose to fame as part of Fifth Harmony, but since her departure from the band in 2016 she’s impressed with singles like Havana (feat Young Thug), and her album is nothing short of a catchy symphony that will go down a treat. Vocally she is on point and ballads like Consequences and Something’s Gotta Give will be roaring up the charts in no time. It’s a first album that has set the bar exceptionally high.

8.5/10: Kerri Roper

JEFF ROSENSTOCK — POST

To Long Island punk Jeff Rosenstock, there is a cloying presence, a national scourge making America grate again. Rosenstock does not mention President Trump by name but his aim is clear.

The opening track on his strong third LP as a solo artist, titled USA, is a near-eight minute rhapsody of revolt. From its opening line (“Dumbfounded, downtrodden and dejected”) to the moment Rosenstock yanks the ripcord on a slow-synth segue and unleashes a chant of “Et tu USA? We’re tired, we’re bored”, USA is as much an assault on the White House as Bruce Springsteen’s Born In The USA was back in 1984.

Post, which repeatedly spikes its peppy power-pop with messages of political disenchantment, presents a refusal to concede there is a new normal. Beating My Head Against A Wall shares DNA with the Ramones before 9/10 presents a change of pace with a soft waltz lamenting a lost love.

8/10: John Stillwell

TUNE-YARDS — I CAN FEEL YOU CREEP INTO MY PRIVATE LIFE

After a three-year wait Tune-Yards have released their fourth album, a characteristic leap in a new direction — although singer Merrill Garbus still proves her prowess as a vocal chameleon, pushing her powerful voice to new heights.

The listener doesn’t find Garbus’ knack for infectious hooks until the third track, standout hit ABC 123, and the album in general delivers less in the way of earworms. But in I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life, Tune-Yards have traded in their eccentric charm and fun-filled hooks for more serious sound to suit their subject matter. Though many of the issues in this album — race (Coloniser) and social inequality (Coast to Coast) — have featured in past albums, the new found synthetic soundscape gives the outlined issues a renewed sense of urgency.

7.5/10: Zander Sharp

BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB — WRONG CREATURES

Five years since their last album Peter Hayes, Robert Levon Been and Leah Shapiro have returned with a brooding, dark and beautiful sound.

During their break the band have faced a few hardships, including death and brain surgery, and what has transpired is a return to the sound that made their name.

Each track seamlessly feeds to the next, an epic build through the slow winding of Spook and King of Bones. Things heat up with Little Thing Gone Wild, an upbeat throwback to the festival favourites of the early ’90s; Circus Bazooko is reminiscent of Oasis’s Supersonic in a minor key, to the eventual climax of All Rise.

Question of Faith stands out lyrically, it is quite simplistic yet the emotionless delivery hides the pain behind the eyes. What Black Rebel Motorcycle Club has done is create an album that will be remembered.

8/10: Rachel Howdle

A GRAVE WITH NO NAME — PASSOVER

The new offering from A Grave With No Name, the brainchild of London-based multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Alexander Shields, is a relaxing meander like no other.

 This experimentally ethereal, haunting art rock-style record — so remarkably subtle in both message and sound — requires attention and patience, and is certainly for life’s more meditative moments.

Shields, who describes the songs as a set of “interlocking short stories”, penned the tracks after his grandmother’s death at his family home, and themes of the mortality of loved ones and religion run throughout this concept piece. Clearly a passion project of Shields the record may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but you get the sense that he’s not fussed if he sends you to sleep.

6/10: Lucy Mapstone

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