Album review: Sharon Van Etten – Remind Me Tomorrow

Sharon Van Etten - Remind Me Tomorrow album cover

Sharon Van Etten is an accomplished singer-songwriter with a voice that could break hearts and Remind Me Tomorrow is a wonderful way to showcase it

Breaking away from the traditional acoustic guitar accompaniment that many female singer-songwriters favour, Van Etten instead uses ominous bass undertones across the record that juxtapose superbly with her heavenly vocal.

Opener I Told You Everything begins with delicate pianos and frailty in Van Etten’s voice, but as echo-laden bass and guitars are employed, her harmonised vocals kick in – bringing real depth to the piece. This self-harmonisation is a frequent appearance across the album’s tracks, but it never proves unimpressive.

There are times on Remind Me Tomorrow when her pop side surfaces, such as on Comeback Kid, which has strong flavours of Arcade Fire, but again her vocals move the track away from ever sounding too twee.

Seventeen, a lament to her younger days, No One’s Easy To Love and You Shadow also continue the pop influence, but it is on the multi-layered atmospheric tracks where the album truly hits the high notes.

Take the slow, pulsating bass synth of Jupiter 4, which provides that earthy contrast to Van Etten’s rich vocal. Similarly on Malibu, we have a dark undercurrent running through the track for her to bounce off.

All this comes together on the magnificent Hands, which pulls all these elements together in truly epic fashion. Hands-down, the best track on the album

Release dates: 18 January 2019

Rating: 7/10

Standout track: Hands

For fans of:

  • Arcade Fire
  • Bryde
  • The Pretenders

Listen on Spotify

Album of the Week: Lorelle Meets The Obsolete – De Facto

Lorelle Meets The Obsolete - De Facto album cover

My first new album review of 2019 is one that I was initially unsure about and nearly didn’t make the cut, but I’m very glad I gave it another try.

Lorelle Meets The Obsolete are a male/female duo hailing from Mexico and De Facto is their fifth album. It’s a glorious mix of pop, psych, indie, post-rock with shoegaze overtones that can send you off onto a hypnotic journey you don’t ever want to end.

The album starts with Ana, an almost-tantric hypnotic chanting track overlaid with ominous bass-heavy synth leading into desolate twisted guitars. This interruption of songs with distorted mind-blowing guitars becomes a bit of a theme throughout the album, and not one that is unwelcome.

There are some straight-out psych rock efforts with dreamy interludes such as on Acción and Resistir – the airy vocals of singer Lorena Quintanilla nicely breaking up the heavier tendancies of husband Alberto González. There are more poppy tracks, such as the disco-groove laden Líneas En Hojas, which would sound a lot like Saint Etienne if it wasn’t for the gorgeous scuzzy guitars filling up the latter part of the song.

There are also some proper wig-outs to be had. Unificado has the desert ‘trip’ feel similarly invoked by The Doors’ This is the End before melding into a shoegaze epic. Lux Lumina offers minimalistic dream-pop that launches into a marvelous full-on maximum feedback sonic assault.

In my view they saved the best until last with La Maga, a 10-minute slow build track that morphs into a wonderfully hypnotic synth-backed guitar groove that just doesn’t ever stop – and gets better and better as it goes along.

A cracking start to the year!

Release dates: 11 January 2019

Rating: 8/10

Standout track: La Maga

For fans of:

  • Low
  • The Limiñanas
  • The Doors

Listen on Spotify

Album (p)review: Crooked Ghost – Skeleton House

Crooked Ghost - Skeleton House album cover

While this album was initially released last year, it gets a vinyl launch next month and is well worth checking out if you are looking to add to you collection.

This North Carolina group’s influences aren’t hard to spot on Skeleton House if you like The Cure or The Smiths, but it’s still a solid work in it’s own right, drawing on low-key sombre guitars, with a dreamy yet lamenting quality.

Singer Ray Clark evokes memories of Alison Moyet at times, and even a less bombastic version Muse’s Matt Bellamy during more energetic times. Clever use of guitars show a broad range of styles, from stacatto plucking in Body In Stars, some excellent loud-soft arrangements on Only Nightmares, and languid dreaminess on Black Cat and Skeleton House.

Yet it is on the slow build tracks such as Catch Fire and Roadkill where the band really comes alive with driving rhythms building to impressive crescendo.

Vinyl launch date: 15 February 2019

Rating: 7/10

Standout track: Catch Fire

For fans of:

  • The Cure
  • The Smiths
  • Siouxsie And The Banshees

Listen on Spotify