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Albums of the week - from Glass Animals to The Psychedelic Furs


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Made Of Rain, the first album from The Psychedelic Furs in 29 years

Made Of Rain, the first album from The Psychedelic Furs in 29 years

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Made Of Rain, the first album from The Psychedelic Furs in 29 years

GLASS ANIMALS - DREAMLAND

The latest showing from electronic indie four-piece Glass Animals is a psychedelic trip down memory lane, with bass-heavy beats and introspective lyrics.

Dreamland is the band's third studio album and combines their distinctive electro-pop sound with influences ranging from the Beach Boys to Timbaland.

Frontman Dave Bayley says inspiration for the album came at a time of "confusion and uncertainty" (his friend and band-mate Joe Seaward had been in hospital after a motorcycle accident), when he found it easier to look to the past rather than the future.

The popular single Heatwaves, released in June, is a prime example of such reflection - with lyrics perfectly capturing the feel of obsessive young relationships: Sometimes all I think about is you/ Late nights in the middle of June.

Big electronic drum beats feature throughout the album but a whimsical, nostalgic vibe creeps in through lighter synths and twanging guitar on the title track Dreamland, and Melon And The Coconut. A standout track is Your Love (Deja Vu), released back in February, which pays tribute to the production styles of Justin Timberlake and Missy Elliot with its driving beat and dance-y melody.

As well as being rammed with enormous tunes, the wistful, throwback lyrics make Dreamland an apt and strong contender for one of the major sounds of an unconventional summer.

8/10: Review by Mike Bedigan

MADE OF RAIN - THE PSYCHEDELIC FURS

Made Of Rain, the first album from The Psychedelic Furs in 29 years, proves the new wave darlings haven't lost their edge.

In recent years the group have reformed on a semi-regular basis to play live dates.

But they said they had begun to "feel like a jukebox" and set about writing new material to bolster their sets.

The Furs sported a rotating line-up throughout the 80s, anchored by the presence of brothers Richard and Tim Butler.

They released a cluster of seminal records including 1984's Mirror Moves but towards the end of the decade the quality began to drop off.

Made Of Rain recaptures some of the heady glamour of their early albums, and a fair dose of their swagger.

It is also a markedly darker affair - and that's saying something for the band that inspired The Horrors and Interpol.

Pounding drums, soaring synths and brooding vocals are all present, but most importantly, the songs are just excellent.

8/10: Review by Alex Green

JON ANDERSON - 1,000 HANDS

Jon Anderson's latest solo album, if you can call it that, has been a long time in the making.

Originally conceived 30 years ago during a songwriting retreat in California's Big Bear Mountain area, the original tapes were left to languish in Anderson's garage.

But two years ago the co-founder and former lead singer of progressive rock pioneers Yes was approached by producer Michael Franklin who had enough capital to complete the project.

Anderson recruited a bevvy of friends, admirers and personal heroes to work on the tracks, including Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson and pianist Chick Corea (the album's name is a nod to the number of guests).

It features archive recordings from Anderson's former Yes bandmates - drummer Alan White and bassist Chris Squire, the latter having died five years ago from a rare form of leukaemia.

There's prog-rock wig-outs in Activate and Come Up, while First Born Leaders delivers reggae rhythms with a hallucinogenic edge.

Anderson's brand of prog-rock, psychedelia and world music may no longer be cool, hip or even groovy, but his magnetic charm and free-wheeling musicality is enough to lend 1,000 Hands some weight.

7/10: Review by Alex Green

LAYLA KAYLIF - LOVERS DON'T MEET

British singer-songwriter Layla Kaylif draws on Shakespeare, the work of 13th century Persian poet Rumi and US country music on her latest album.

Sound like a lot, right? But at seven tracks, Lovers Don't Meet is short and sweet.

Kaylif's voice is warm and graceful and the guitar work simple and direct.

It's a heady mix and one that benefits from the pleasing production she secured during recording sessions in Nashville with producer Jason Hall.

Lovers Don't Meet pays homage to a genre Kaylif has always loved, but it fails to replicate the soul or substance of true country music.

Instead, Kaylif fills up the album with references - to the queen of country Dolly Parton on Don't You Know Me Yet? and 20th century Syrian writer Nizar Qabbani on As I Am.

The end result is a little messy, but enjoyable nonetheless.

5/10: Review by Alex Green

Belfast Telegraph