Album of the week (26 April): Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation – Sacred Dreams

This is the third studio album from Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation, and while it’s not a perfect piece of pop, there’s enough sophistication here to make it stand out from the rest of this week’s releases.

Sacred Dreams takes us through the realms of electro-pop and lazy, hazy country blues desertscapes – all with a dash of psychedelia thrown in.

The album does feel a little front loaded, as most of the best moments feature early on. Opener Feel The Sun borrows heavily on the Goldfrapp model of crowd-pleasing blissful pop. Then follows an unnecessarily early keyboard and effect laden interlude before we are hit with standout track I Can Feel It, featuring a pounding bass drum, incessant keyboard tones and layered harmonics. The hypnotic chorus is fabulous.

The danceable electro-pop theme continues with Desire, Öhrn’s breathy vocal style working particularly well here with the french lyrics in the verses.

The second act of the album signals a change of pace – Hey Little Boy is a slower track with a country blues feel to the guitar work, though there’s still a hint of pulsating synth to be found.

Only Lovers leans heavily on a spacious folky acoustic guitar to match the echo-laden vocal and moves away from the beat-driven tracks before it. The tempo ups slightly with Baby Come On, a blues-rock number featuring some interesting keyboard work and good layering of sound.

However, things start to get a little flabby towards the end. New Horizons is a fairly standard low-key pop number, while Let It Come and Whatever You Want don’t really add anything extra.

The main saving grace of the latter part of the album is Caramel Head, that uses lazy, hazy slide guitar to let you drift away to another plane.

It’s not going to be my album of the year, or even the month, but I reckon some of these tracks will stay with me for some time.

Release date: 26 April 2019

Rating: 7.5/10

Standout track: I Can Feel It

For fans of:

  • Goldfrapp
  • Lorelle Meets The Obselete
  • Ladytron

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The best albums of February 2019

1: Teeth Of The Sea – Wraith

Rating: 8/10 – Read full review

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2: SPC EPO – Fifteen

Rating: 8/10Read full review

Listen on Bandcamp

3: The Specials – Encore

Rating: 7.5/10 – Read full review

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4: Yak – Pursuit of Momentary Happiness

Rating: 7.5/10Read full review

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5: Modeselektor – Who Else

Rating: 7.5/10Read full review

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6: Ladytron– Ladytron

Rating: 7.5/10 – Read full review

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8: Boy Harsher – Careful

Rating: 7/10 – Read full review

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9: Health – Vol4 :: Slaves Of Fear

Rating: 7/10 – Read full review

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10: Finlay Shakespeare – Domestic Economy

Rating: 7/10 – Read full review

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7: The Young Gods – Data Mirage Tangram

Rating: 7/10

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15 February releases – Reviewed and rated

Electro-pop featuring strongly again this week, with Ladytron and Methyl Ethel producing some impressive stuff. Those with a predisposition to punk-pop should check out Lazybones while hip-hop fans will enjoy Czarface meets Ghostface. However trip-hop shoegaze epic Fifteen from SPC ECO wins out. Sample playlist below, though the album of the week isn’t on Spotify yet.

SPC ECO - Fifteen album cover

SPC ECO – Fifteen

A beautiful blend of shoegaze and trip-hop from former Curve member Dean Garcia and his daughter.

Rating: 8/10Read full review

Listen on Bandcamp

Ladytron - Ladytron album cover

Ladytron – Ladytron

Some outstanding numbers in this electro-pop, new wave release. Greater consistency, or trimming some of the excess fat, could have seen it with a much higher rating.

Rating: 7.5/10Read full review

Listen on Spotify

Lazybones - Bang! Bang! EP cover

Lazybones – Bang! Bang! (EP)

An immensely fun power punk pop blast that shows great promise from this Brighton trio.

Rating: 7/10Read full review

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Czarface - Czarface Meets Ghostface album cover

Czarface – Czarface Meets Ghostface

Some smart hip-hop in this collaboration from Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah and Czarface, which also features another member of the Clan.

Rating: 7/10

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Methyl Ethel - Triage album cover

Methyl Ethel – Triage

A competent and sometimes entrancing album from the Australian art rockers, but suffers from inconsistency.

Rating: 6.5/10Read full review

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Pye Corner Audio - Hollow Earth album cover

Pye Corner Audio – Hollow Earth

Rich electronic dreamscapes with elements of tunes and the occasional beat thrown in, reminiscent of Boards of Canada at times. Much prefer their other incarnation as Head Technician

Rating: 6.5/10

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Perfect Son - Cast album cover

Perfect Son – Cast

More 80s-influenced electronic work here. There are some great tracks, but the album feels somehow a little soulless.

Rating 6.5/10

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Theon Cross- Fyah album cover

Theon Cross– Fyah

Some nice recollections of last year’s Sons of Kemet album ‘Your Queen is a Reptile’, in which Cross’s Tuba work played an integral role, but Fyah just make me want to listen to that again.

Rating: 6/10

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Swmrs - Berkeley's On Fire album cover

Swmrs – Berkeley’s On Fire

Straight out indie rock that is hugely enjoyable to listen to, but at the same time instantly forgettable.

Rating: 6/10

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Piroshka - Brickbat album cover

Piroshka – Brickbat

Something of a 90s indie supergroup, featuring former members of Lush and Elastica, and feels firmly rooted in that era. This album struggled to provide more than the occasional moment of interest.

Rating: 6/10

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Stats - Other People's Lives album cover

Stats – Other People’s Lives

Dance and pop with the occasional bit of funk. Singer sounds a bit like Gary Newman at times. Doesn’t set the heart racing

Rating: 6/10

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Yann Tiersen - All album cover

Yann Tiersen – All

Piano-heavy neoclassical work with the occasional bit of electronic noodling. Paints some nice textures but falls far short of being a masterpiece.

Rating: 6/10

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Album review: Methyl Ethel – Triage

Methyl Ethel - Triage album cover

The phrase art-rock normally fills me with fear, but I was pleasantly surprised by the third album from Australian band Methyl Ethel. Triage, is by no means a perfect album, but there was enough in there to keep you wanting more.

Highlights for me were probably opener Ruiner, which seems to have been influenced by Florence + The Machine and ticks along nicely in a way that unwittingly draws you in, while Trip the Mains is full on 80s guitar and synth-fest that develops well despite some slightly off-putting discordant notes.

Top track I think is Hip Horror, which features a great uptempo groove, accompanied by a very addictive piano line.

There are some other decent works on here, including the organ and funky bass of Scream Whole and the Pretenders-infused Real Tight, but there are also some tunes that really don’t take you anywhere and potentially have you reaching for the skip button.

I’ve actually downgraded this album’s rating slightly during it’s second listen for the review, mainly due to the inconsistencies across it. Still worth a listen though.

Release date: 15 February 2019

Rating: 6.5/10

Standout track: Hip Horror

For fans of:

  • Florence + The Machine
  • Ladytron
  • Elder Island

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New Music Friday 15 February – What to listen to

Some enticing pieces this week to get your teeth into, including Pye Corner Audio, Ladytron and Sons of Kemet’s Theon Cross. Watch out for more reviews coming your way in the week.

Pye Corner Audio - Hollow Earth album cover

Pye Corner Audio – Hollow Earth

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Ladytron - Ladytron album cover

Ladytron – Ladytron

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Theon Cross- Fyah album cover

Theon Cross– Fyah

Listen on Spotify

SPC ECO - Fifteen album cover

SPC ECO – Fifteen

Listen on Bandcamp

Czarface - Czarface Meets Ghostface album cover

Czarface – Czarface Meets Ghostface

Listen on Spotify

Lazybones - Bang! Bang! EP cover

Lazybones – Bang! Bang! (EP)

Listen on Spotify

Piroshka - Brickbat album cover

Piroshka – Brickbat

Listen on Spotify

Swmrs - Berkeley's On Fire album cover

Swmrs – Berkeley’s On Fire

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Perfect Son - Cast album cover

Perfect Son – Cast

Listen on Spotify

Stats - Other People's Lives album cover

Stats – Other People’s Lives

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Yann Tiersen - All album cover

Yann Tiersen – All

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Methyl Ethel - Triage album cover

Methyl Ethel – Triage

Listen on Spotify