Gotye – Like Drawing Blood
Top tracks: Thanks For Your Time, Learnalilgivinanlovin and The Only Way.
Spiritualized – Sweet Heart Sweet Light
Top Tracks: I Am What I Am, Hey Jane and Too Late.
Train – California 37American rock band Train seemingly leapt to success with the release of their second album, and lead single, Drops Of Jupiter. But there is more to the band than the one hit single. After the reflective For Me, It’s You the band took a break to return with some of their best work, now taking life, music and themselves a little less seriously, the original trio of Monahan, Stafford and Underwood release California 37, an album that blends the experience and talent of the last fifteen years with the youthful exuberance and energy of the current crop of emo-pop-punk bands. This’ll be My Year is a great opener, poking fun at the past before an explosive chorus. When it’s good, it’s great but occasionally California 37 lapses into bland pop. The cheesy country-pop of Bruises aside, songs like 50 Ways To Say Goodbye, campfire-favourite Sing Together, and the Ricky Martin swagger of Mermaid show some life while the finale of When The Fog Rolls In and To Be Loved adds depth and storytelling.
Top Tracks: To Be Loved, 50 Ways To Say Goodbye and This’ll Be My Year.
Counting Crows – Underwater Sunshine (Or What We Did On Our Summer Vacation)
Top Tracks: You Ain’t Going Nowhere, Meet On The Ledge and Ooh La La.
Radical Face – The Family Tree: The RootsRadical Face (aka Ben Cooper) has built an album around the genealogy of a fictional family in the 1800s. An interesting idea that has created an album of such vivid imagery and heart-breaking beauty, drawing comparisons with Conor Oberst and Bright Eyes. Family Portrait is brutal and honest, Always Gold is a superb six minutes, and Severus and Stone is dramatic and epic. The Family Tree: The Roots is often dragged down by its quieter moments, The Moon Is Down for example but these weak points are few and far.
Top Tracks: Always Gold, Family Portrait and Severus and Stone.
Jack White – Blunderbuss
Top Tracks: Missing Pieces, Take Me With You When You Go and Sixteen Saltines.
Feeder – Generation Freakshow
Top Tracks: Children Of The Sun, Oh My and Hey Johnny.
Human Don’t Be Angry – Human Don’t Be AngryMalcolm Middleton, once of Arab Strap and the failed bid to get a Christmas number one ahead of Leon Jackson (remember him?) with We’re All Going To Die, has formed a new project. The first thing that comes to mind is an electronic Mogwai with soaring guitars and a mix of instrumental and vocal songs. Opening track The Missing Plutonium is sublime and computerised vocals are added for H.D.B.A. Theme. Middleton appears for the mighty First Person Singular, Present Tense, a curious blend of artificial vocals, fuzzy guitars and piano. After The Pleasuredome is a quiet instrumental before the dramatic Monologue: River takes the album to another level. Jaded is another cool instrumental and the seven-minute Asklipiio is just breath taking. The album closes with the wonderful Getting Better (At Feeling Like Shit) with more great guitar work.
Top Tracks: The Missing Plutonium, Monologue: River and Asklipiio.