Air – Le Voyage Dans La Lune (album review)

Air Le Voyage Dans La LuneBest known for their 1998 hit single ‘Sexy Boy’, French electro duo Air have delved into the artsy word of silent cinema for their latest album. The lunar obsession from their debut album ‘Moon Safari’ is still in evidence on ‘Le Voyage Dans La Lune’, which has a distinctly space-age feel to it, from the countdown to ignition sequence on ‘Seven Stars’ to the syncopated synth of ‘Sonic Armada’.

This is fairly inaccessible stuff it has to be said, and the whole experience is truly baffling in places on the first listen. As a largely instrumental record, it’s quite hard to get a foothold, as only two of the 11 tracks feature vocals, and many of those are in French.

Throughout this record, Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel continue to push the envelope in terms of genre, rhythm and style, often at the expense of clarity. As soon as you think you’ve got your head around the synthesised riff or melodic hook, it will mutate into something completely different in an eerie, shape-shifting fashion.

To read the rest of this review on Virgin Red Room, click here.

Frank Turner – The Second Three Years (album review)

Frank Turner singing liveIt takes a pretty prolific songwriter to turn out four albums in six years and still have enough left in the tank to record two twenty-track compilations. But not only has Frank Turner managed this, he has done so with style and aplomb, especially on this, his second collection of live tracks, b-sides, covers and rarities.

‘The Second Three Years’ crams together the non-album tracks from his 2010 ‘Rock n Roll’ EP, the special edition bonus tracks from last year’s ‘England Keep My Bones’ LP, as well as a broad selection of punk, folk and pop covers; from Wham to Nirvana, and from NOFX to Take That.

This compilation is an essential purchase for any serious Frank fan, but it also works suitably well as a far-reaching introduction to one of England’s greatest songwriting talents. Right from the opening acapella verse of ‘Sailor’s Boots’, Turner’s voice is enthralling; by turns gentle and powerful, intimate and abrasive.

There’s also plenty of evidence of how his music has developed and matured…

To read the rest of this review on Virgin Red Room, click here.

Top five bands to look out for in 2012

With 2011 proving to be such a fantastic year for new music, you may be thinking that  2012 can’t possibly top that? Well you’d be wrong! There are plenty of exciting records on the horizon, so I thought I’d run you through a handful of decent prospects to whet your appetite:

1.) Freeze The Atlantic

If, like me, your early 2000s were defined by Hundred Reasons and Reuben, then you should be chomping at the bit to finally hear the debut album from Freeze The Atlantic. Featuring the mercurial drumming talents of Guy Davis (Reuben) and the solid guitar work of Andy Gilmour (bassist for HR), this five-piece looks very promising indeed, especially given they have recruited a front man with a rather fantastic voice, by the name of Chris Knott. If this sounds like an intruiging combo, then check out the video for their upoming single Volcanoes:

 

2.) Baddies

One of the big success stories of 2009, Baddies are back with a bang in 2012. The Southend quartet have a highly distinctive sound, which is robotic, angular and very catchy – think The Futureheads with some beefier riffs and better outfits. New music guru Zane Lowe has been lauding their latest single Bronto and you can download it here for free.

3.) Fighting With Wire

This Northern Irish trio were possibly the most underrated band of 2008, as their debut album Man Vs Monster was packed full of top choruses and fantastic riffs. Put simply, they play rock and roll just like it should be done. They have promised big things for 2012, including a stint supporting US alt-metal legends Helmet on their UK tour in March and April. What’s more, FWW album number two is shaping up nicely, with the first track Waiting On A Way To Believe already committed to record. Have a listen, you won’t regret it!

4.) James Cleaver Quintet

If you haven’t heard anything by the JCQ yet, then they could well be your surprise package of 2012. Their debut album That Was Then, This Is Now was a complete shock to the system when I stumbled across it recently, blending together a wide range of styles from hardcore to swing and from ska to punk. I can only imagine how good they would be at a summer festival…

5.) Brand New

New Jersey’s most famous gloom merchants are going happy in 2012. After three fantastic records in five years, 2009’s Daisy was a distinctly sour note for a band that sounded like they had run out of ideas. However, with an upcoming UK tour and a new album planned, all this is about the change. The band recently said they are “tired of bumming you guys out. We’re trying to write something happy.” I’m intrigued…