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Album reviews: From The Horrors to Arab Strap


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Tom Grennan's Evering Road

Tom Grennan's Evering Road

Tom Grennan's Evering Road

Tom Grennan leads the charge in this week's new music offering.

Tom Grennan

Evering Road

Evering Road is a ballad-heavy, melancholy break-up album which sees Tom Grennan reflect on a past relationship.

It takes its name from the east London street where he once shared a home with his former partner.

The introspective record, which is a follow-up to the Bedford-born musician's 2018 debut Lighting Matches, gets off to a lively start with You Matter To Me, Something Better and Amen, which showcase his powerful, anthemic vocals.

However, the album quickly descends into a succession of more downcast songs such as It Hurts and Never Be A Right Time, which all have a similar theme and tone. This means the album is lacking in a bit of variety and becomes slightly repetitive as it progresses.

While Evering Road contains a number of standout tracks which are sure to prove popular with his fans, the album as a whole does not live up to the standards set by its best songs.

7/10, Review by Tom Horton

Arab Strap

As Days Get Darker

Last year's Turning Of The Bones single was a spectacular return, John Carpenter menace over a disco beat. Arab Strap were one of the less likely acts to reform - tales of drunken misbehaviour in your 40s doesn't hold much appeal.

The emphasis now less on autobiographical confessionals, Aidan Moffat has clearly developed as a storyteller and though their original skeletal sound is still there, there is more depth to the music.

Here Comes Comus! is the worthy older brother of 2003's The Shy Retirer driven along by a surprise appearance by Doktor Avalanche. Tears On Tour sounds like an outtake from Nick Cave's Skeleton Tree, Moffat in tears at "the Muppet Movie, Frozen, Frozen II". A Mark Knopfler solo gatecrashes the ending. You don't get that with The Bad Seeds.

Fable Of The Urban Fox is the best of all, a tale of two foxes unwelcome wherever they go. It is a different darkness to the Arab Strap of old.

Labelmates Mogwai have just had their first number one, and now 25 years into their career, Arab Strap have made one of the albums of the year.

9/10, Review by Colm McCrory

The Horrors

Lout

The Horrors showcase a dramatic new industrial direction on their new three-track EP Lout, leaving you wondering what lockdown has done to them.

The title track features Faris Badwan's distorted voice over an intense barrage of insistent guitars and sledgehammer drums, while second track Org is an apocalyptic instrumental.

Whiplash is slower, with Badwan intoning "drag me down into dust" over another impossibly heavy collision of guitars, synths and beats.

Over five albums The Horrors have developed a soaring widescreen shoegazing sound that has won huge acclaim, so such a radical change is brave, as this is their least commercial music since the first couple of garage rock singles.

There was a hint of what was to come in Machine and the intro to World Below, on the last album V four years ago, but Lout goes far beyond.

Lout is a burst of pure adrenaline and will leave fans desperate to hear where The Horrors go on their next album.

7/10, Review by Matthew George

Zara Larsson

Poster Girl

I hope everything's alright chez Larsson. The Poster Girl cover features the Swedish singer staring wistfully into the distance in a bedroom decorated, strangely, with posters of Larsson herself - hope being in Forbes' "30 Under 30" list hasn't gone to her head!

And while this is an upbeat affair on the whole, there's a fair bit on her mind in songs like Stick With You.

But would it be a 2020s pop album without a song about the "haters" and how they don't matter?

And she voices perhaps some relatable concerns about a distracted boyfriend ("Two girls in a bed/ Wouldn't even get your attention") on Right Here.

But then on Look What You've Done we get a disco banger with a string part right out of the Clean Bandit playbook.

To some, Larsson is the queen of bubblegum pop, and Poster Girl doesn't disappoint in that regard, with chunky refrains, the trap beats and sassy production that suggests someone's partial to a bit of K-pop.

8/10, Review by Rachel Farrow

Belfast Telegraph


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