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Albums of the week - from La Roux to Nathaniel Rateliff


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La Roux album Supervision.

La Roux album Supervision.

HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS

HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS

La Roux album Supervision.

Australian psychedelic rock project Tame Impala returns with fourth long-player The Slow Rush, while this week there's also a new release from Elly Jackson's La Roux.

TAME IMPALA - THE SLOW RUSH

After five years Tame Impala are back with their fourth studio album, which caters for all. It's taken a decade, but it seems that Kevin Parker is now settled in his role as psychedelic rock guru.

Back in 2010 the group's debut InnerSpeaker dropped - poppy tunes with punchy guitar riffs and just a tickle of synth to soften the edges. Five years later and album number three, Currents, showed clear prog-rock influence coming in to lengthen the tracks and slow things way down.

The Slow Rush gives a bit of everything. Mainstream pop vibes remain, with songs like Borderline and Lost In Yesterday providing listeners with something to sing along to, but are interspersed with more ethereal tunes.

In these the synth is laid on thick, creating heavy electronic soundscapes which both soothe and melt the mind. For those new to the band, they may come across a little self-indulgent and require some patience, but for more regular listeners it's a really nice balance.

As an album, TSR might not blow your socks right off, but it's a completely solid return for Tame Impala.

7/10: Michael Bedigan

LA ROUX - SUPERVISION

Elly Jackson has got her groove back as she returns with her most personal album yet - set to low-slung rhythms reminiscent of George Michael and Stevie Wonder.

Supervision comes after a period of intense soul-searching for the singer, whose piercing voice rocketed In For The Kill to the top of the charts just four days after her 21st birthday. In the decade since, she clashed with her label and split with her producer Ben Langmaid. Those quarrels colour the album but despite this, Supervision is a wildly optimistic ride.

Jackson's third outing under the moniker sees her exploring lower tempos and brighter, more textured musical palettes - those trademark synths are mostly absent. Automatic Driver is full of vocal runs that burst forth in colour while Otherside features a hip-swinging rhythm that owes much to early disco.

La Roux's early years produced a flurry of hits. Supervision is unlikely to do the same but that is no bad thing. It's album that stands up on its own.

8/10: Alex Green

SUMMER CAMP - ROMANTIC COMEDY

Love is in the air for married couple Elizabeth Sankey and Jeremy Walmsley of indie-pop band Summer Camp, as they return with their first album in five years.

The album is a companion piece to Sankey's film of the same name, an exploration of the romantic comedy genre, and examines the distance between the cliches of kissing in the rain on London streets and the more prosaic reality.

With nods to Motown and 1960s girl groups like The Shangri-Las, this is the perfect bittersweet Valentine's Day present.

8/10: Matt George

HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS - WEATHER

Huey Lewis has never been cool, but you don't get to sell 30 million albums without some serious talent. Still, it's hard to imagine there are many people waiting with bated breath for his first album of original music since 2001.

Weather opens promisingly with While We're Young, which mixes some ska touches to Lewis's usual rock, pop and soul sounds. But the next track, Her Love Is Killin' Me, is Lewis-by-numbers and just sounds dated.

With only seven songs and a 26-minute running time, Weather is too short to outstay its welcome, but it's also not good enough to make you immediately press play again.

5/10: Padraig Collins

NATHANIEL RATELIFF - AND IT'S STILL ALRIGHT

A twin elegy for the end of Nathaniel Rateliff's marriage and the death of his longtime producer Richard Swift, the Night Sweats frontman's third solo album is a bruised but occasionally hopeful set.

The album is released on Valentine's Day, yet What A Drag and Kissing Our Friends mark a firm farewell to his wife, while the hard-hitting You Need Me was written while they were still married.

Meanwhile, the title track's "bury your friends" line and, in particular, the raw closer Rush On see Rateliff pay emotional tribute to a friend who continues to shape his work.

6/10: Tom White

Belfast Telegraph