Belfast Telegraph

Albums of the week - from Lewis Capaldi to Carly Rae Jepsen

 

Lewis Capaldi performing at Custom House Square, Belfast for CHSq presents. Thursday 23rd August 2018. Picture by Liam McBurney/RAZORPIX
Lewis Capaldi performing at Custom House Square, Belfast for CHSq presents. Thursday 23rd August 2018. Picture by Liam McBurney/RAZORPIX
Lewis Capaldi - Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent
Slowthai - Nothing Great About Britain
Carly Rae Jepsen - Dedicated
The National - I Am Easy To Find
Help Musicians UK - Smoke Rainbows

Lewis Capaldi drops his highly anticipated debut, which reminds our reviewer of Adele, while Slowthai, Carly Rae Jepsen and The National also bring out new releases

Lewis Capaldi - Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent

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Lewis Capaldi - Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent
 

Ignore the somewhat morose title - this record is an absolute delight.

From start to finish, the Scottish singer-songwriter croons through the 12 tracks, raw emotions spilling over via his heavenly, charismatic voice.

Capaldi is easily comparable to Adele at the start of her career a decade ago, despite only being named on the BBC Sound Of list rather than winning it.

Having already had seven weeks at number one this year with breakout single Someone You Loved, the guitar-wielding 22-year-old is set for mega-stardom and this debut album proves he is the real deal.

From epic opener Grace to the pared-back and effortlessly emotive Headspace it's obvious not one track is filler.

9/10

Lucy Mapstone

Slowthai - Nothing Great About Britain

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Slowthai - Nothing Great About Britain
 

Tyron Frampton's nimble, vitriolic and darkly comic music has had a remarkable impact on the British scene since his debut two years ago.

His combination of styles is unusual, even in this era of broken genre boundaries and cultural mash-ups.

The Northampton-raised rapper, who performs as Slowthai, pilfers from post-punk and dub as much as from hip-hop and grime on his debut album.

Where most UK rappers look to the glamour of America's trap scene and Drake for inspiration, tattoo-covered Slowthai looks to the punk aesthetic.

This gives Nothing Great About Britain an anti-establishment bite. On tracks like Gorgeous and Peace Of Mind, he takes aim at May, Boris, Brexit, the royal family, inequality - anything that touches the public consciousness.

In an industry dominated by artists moulded by unseen record executives, Slowthai's music is riotous and authentic and provides a welcome change.

8/10

Alex Green

Carly Rae Jepsen - Dedicated

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Carly Rae Jepsen - Dedicated
 

Bubblegum pop song Call Me Maybe commanded 2012 with its unbelievably catchy chorus and recollections of a teenage crush.

Now Carly Rae Jepsen returns with her fourth album Dedicated. She's kept the pop but ditched the bubblegum.

Where Jepsen previously had you singing into your hairbrush, opening track Julien has a disco groove running under the ode to infatuated love.

Feels Right does, indeed, feel right and For Sure and Automatically In Love are the perfect dance-pop songs for the summer, although towards the end of the album the constant crooning of love does become a tad tedious.

7/10

Emma Bowden

The National - I Am Easy To Find

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The National - I Am Easy To Find
 

Hard-working The National were due to be taking a break when director Mike Mills got in touch. Instead, the resulting 18-month project saw them pair a beautiful short film starring Alicia Vikander and a 68-minute collaborative record of the same name.

What's most striking on first listen is the introduction of female voices. Loads of them. Indie superstar Sharon van Etten, longtime Bowie bandmate Gail Ann Dorsey and Irish singer-songwriter Lisa Hannigan are among several bringing new textures and dimensions to the Ohians' eighth studio LP.

In truth, the variety does breed a little incoherence too. But as the band and Mills make clear, by no means is this some phoned-in soundtrack project - and the insertion of non-musician Mills as producer seems genuinely to have added a freshness to the five piece's songwriting approach.

With juddering anthem Hey Rosey and the spidery, Sonic Youth inflected The Pull of You, the sessions have produced material that stands up with the best of their intimidatingly impressive showreel.

8/10

Steve Jones

Help Musicians UK - Smoke Rainbows

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Help Musicians UK - Smoke Rainbows
 

Released to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week, this new compilation in aid of the Music Minds Matter support line consists of songs recorded live in one take at Abbey Road Studios.

Few of the artists directly address the issue of mental health, though Matt Deighton on Overshadowed and Pat Dam Smyth on Where The Light Goes hint at it, while on Take A Little Love, Penny Police is on brand with the lyric: "There will be someone to catch you whenever you fall."

The Dane is among the lesser-known artists featured alongside bigger names such as the Magic Numbers, the Blow Monkeys and Ren Harvieu.

8/10

Tom White

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