Belfast Telegraph

Albums of the week: From Status Quo to The Vamps


Rockers Status Quo mark the end of an era with a live album from their Last Night Of The Electrics tour, while pop rockers The Vamps drop their third studio record.


The band’s decision to hang up their famous Fenders came as a disappointment to their legions of fans. A final tour where they could storm the stage in their inimitable fashion one more time just had to be done. Sadly, it had to be without the late Rick Parfitt due to illness, but this just added another dimension to the event.

For those who saw them on the tour, this album will be a reminder of just how good a live band The Quo really were. From the blasting riff of the classic opener Caroline, to the final dying note of Bye Bye Johnny, every song is a diamond. And all performed in the only way the band could play: full throttle, passionate and committed.

This album, in whatever format chosen, is a fitting reminder of the power of one of the world’s greatest rock bands.

Rating 9/10

Steve Grantham


If The Vamps ever wanted to prove their versatility, then part one of their third studio album, titled Night, has hit the mark perfectly. After shooting to fame in 2012, the foursome — Brad Simpson, Connor Ball, Tristan Evans and James McVey — are back with their third offering, which they’re releasing in two phases.

Night, out this month, definitely continues the newer, electronic-dance sound they achieved on All Night. Paper Hearts is a big, bold ballad that could just snag the top spot as one of the album’s future biggest hits. Shades On is a fun, upbeat song that is a perfect party tune. Other tunes, like Stay and Sad Song, are also pretty ear-pleasing. In short, fans won’t struggle to find not one, but a few favourite songs on this album.


Lucy Mapstone


Mura Masa’s self-titled debut album is full of contradictions but, like everything he’s put out prior to this, that’s a large part of what makes it work.

With beats crafted from multiple genres and eclectic instrumentation from across the world, particularly influenced by east Asia, the 21-year-old’s distinct sound is very much his own.

This album encompasses songs that sound indie-inspired (Helpline, bits of Nothing Else!) ones that take their mould from dancehall/soca (Nuggets) and hip-hop (Love$ick) — but all have the Mura Masa stamp.

A stellar list of diverse features from the likes of Damon Albarn and frequent collaborator Bonzai helps tie together the album’s story, while his own vocals stand out on Messy Love and Give Me The Ground.

Alex Crossan’s debut will be ground-breaking to those new to his music and features something for everyone — as well as every stage of the party.


Kameron Virk


It’s that time of year, and as festival season is now in full swing the more laid-back and summery tunes come to the forefront. Us and Us Only are a five-piece from Baltimore, comprising Kinsey Matthews, Mike Suica, Sean Mercer, Nick Hughes and John Toohey, originally forming in 2009, Full Flower is their first LP.

Taking sounds directly from the late Nineties, there is a definite feeling of it’s been here before. Kno sounds like an uber-chilled Smashing Pumpkins track with a really catchy hook and melody. There are also vibes similar to those of Eels and Semisonic, with similar features to Novacaine For The Soul and Secret Smile created.

For a late-night relaxing drink or to ease yourself into the morning, Us and Us Only have created the perfect piece of escapism, with their dreamy soundscape and piercing vocals offering a dawn of hope.


Rachel Howdle


Wren’s Auburn Rule is a real gut-punch of a collection, and not for the faint of heart.

At just five tracks, what the London-based progressive sludge/noise-rock four-piece lack in numbers on this LP — the follow-up to last year’s Host EP — they make up for with their lengthy, head-pounding, shake-your-heart-out-of-your-chest offering. It’s the kind of record you want to listen to right next to the speaker at a live gig before perhaps being hospitalised for tinnitus. But if this is your thing, you’ll appreciate the destruction of your eardrums.

The thumping, visceral instrumentation that makes up much of the record, along with the repetitive post-metal beats and admittedly “knowingly vague” lyrics, will rouse those who lean towards this darker style. The band promise “ominous yet ethereal serenity”, and it’s hard to argue with that. Each track includes a gentler moment of respite from the noise, and is particularly welcome on the closer — the nearly 10-minute Dwellers Of The Sepulchre.

A challenging listen for some ears, but for many others this is an album that will no doubt be played on repeat. Loudly.


Lucy Mapstone

Belfast Telegraph


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