Albums of the week - from Rocketman soundtrack to Tyler, The Creator
This week we review the soundtrack of the Elton John biopic Rocketman, plus newbies from Tyler, the Creator and Thomas Rhett
Rocketman: Music from the Motion Picture
Hot on the heels of Bohemian Rhapsody, Rocketman is the latest musical movie to hit the silver screen. However, unlike the Freddie Mercury and Queen story, this is a true musical.
Reimagined by Giles Martin, the celebrated songwriter and producer has also re-interpreted Sir Elton John's pieces into a fantastical journey.
The wonder doesn't stop there. Taron Egerton morphs into the larger-than-life character that is the showman Elton, not to mention his astounding vocal similarities. At times it is nigh on impossible to remember that this isn't the bespectacled singer at all.
From the rousing Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting) - which has been turned into a foot-tapping and grin-inducing ensemble piece to the voice-crackingly emotional Your Song and new song (I'm Gonna) Love Me Again - there is no part of this musical extravaganza that wouldn't be out of place in the West End.
A fitting tribute to the awesomeness that is Sir Elton's musical legacy.
Tyler, The Creator: Igor
"No skips. Front to back. No distractions either," LA rapper Tyler, the Creator ordered listeners on social media the day before the release of Igor.
Tyler Gregory Okonma wants fans to really listen this time. And at 28 with five albums now under his belt, he's certainly entitled to do so.
Okonma's voice doesn't even appear on opening track Igor's Theme. In fact, on much of the record he takes a back seat, orchestrating affairs as a cast of high-profile collaborators (Kanye West, Solange, Lil Uzi Vert and Pharrell) take to the stage.
Okonma remains a contentious figure. It's hard to forget his liberal use of rape jokes and homophobic slurs in earlier records. But this rich and messy melange of rap, funk and driving beats sees him shedding the guise of vulgar internet provocateur, revealing the genuine artist underneath.
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets - And Now For The Whatchamacallit
The singular name conjures something more anarchic than the time-honoured, guitar-driven sound of this album.
With riffs, solos and vocals reminiscent of rock revivalists such as fellow Australians Wolfmother and Jet, the 10-track record pulses with a refreshing traditionalism: this album is proudly retro at a time when charts are dominated by pop rather than power chords.
An enjoyable "trip" into a rare, classic rock sound.
Sacred Paws - Run Around The Sun
Glasgow indie-pop duo Rachel Aggs and Eilidh Rodgers follow up their Scottish Album of the Year award-winning debut with another breezy collection of infectious and upbeat anthems perfect for the festival season.
Musically the album is nothing but bright and sunny, Aggs' breezy vocals floating sweetly over the propulsive guitar noodling, but the angsty lyrical themes of tracks with titles such as Life's Too Short, Shame on Me and What's So Wrong do hint at dark clouds on the horizon.
This bittersweet element helps prevent the album from descending too far into the arena of cheese. Instead it adds a depth to the music, making it as perfect for headphones as for dancing outside on a summer's day.
Thomas Rhett album Center Point Road
Nostalgia has a bad rep. Unfairly, looking back to find inspiration for a pop chart-topper is often looked down upon as cheesy or cliched.
It's brave, then, that country-pop singer Thomas Rhett has dug deep into his 90s youth for his fourth album.
For unmistakable signposting, he's even named it after a street near where he grew up: Center Point Road in Henderson, Tennessee.
Over a sprawling 16 tracks Rhett revisits teenage love and late-night escapades. The scales weigh more heavily towards pop than country during the album's first half, but with That Old Truck he finds balance and there are fireworks.
The album is chock-full of hands-in-the-air choruses and solid grooves. Plus collaborations with the likes of all-American acts Little Big Town, Jon Pardi and Kelsea Ballerini bring new life when the sheer number of songs begins to drag.