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Roundup

June 2018

This is our roundup. It's a short selection of things we've missed, things we didn't get sent, things that we bought, things that deserved a mention. Here they are:

Virtue Signals by Steven Adams & The French Drops

Date: 
May 4, 2018
Writer: 
Adam Millard

After a recent stint working as a solo artist, Steven Adams (ex Broken Family Band, Singing Adams) has put together a brand new band and given them the creative freedom build their own sound. The results are a new LP called Virtue Signals which was recorded in little over a week and produced by Ben Nicholls who also brought his own ideas to the table. I listened to this album during the recent UK, uncharacteristic bout of hot, hot weather, and it's perfectly suited to such environments. This is straight up summertime indie-pop, and pretty relentlessly so, only occasionally detouring into something more downbeat such as the wistful "Last Century's Man". During "Ex Future" I found myself torn between thinking "this is good" and "this sounds a bit like Snow Patrol", which is a quandary if ever there was one. It should be noted that whilst the music can drift over you, the lyrics are a different kettle of fish and Adams does that classic happy music/biting lyrics things very well. The feel is very much Allo Darlin, Bill Botting and the Two Drink Minimums, Shack, Deacon Blue and even a bit of Teleman during those darker moments. In other words, it's pretty good.

Peanuts by Stanley Brinks

Date: 
May 11, 2018
Writer: 
Adam Millard

Stanley brinks drops the Kaniks and The Wave Pictures in favour of nobody on this new album Peanuts. But despite the lack of an "and the" on the sleeve, he has still brought along frequent collaborator Clemence Freschard (along with Claire Falzon and Helene Nuland) so it makes for a pleasing full-band sound. Unsurprisingly, it's thoroughly breezy, filled with noodling guitars and Brinks' trademark laid back vocal style and witticisms. But we also get a healthy dose of saxophone which mixes things up quite nicely. Brinks occasionally strips things right back, such as on the eerie "Old World Theater", or the rare downbeat departure "Next Year". The highlight of the record though is undoubtedly "Tall Man" which is like a weird take on early 70's classic rock, taking in the Stones and The E Street Band, but also adding a whole load of Brinks' unique delivery. A solid addition to the Brinks and Friends catalogue.

Je Suis Une île by Halo Maud

Date: 
May 25, 2018
Writer: 
Adam Millard

You may already know multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Halo Maud (or Maud Nadal) from her work with Melody’s Echo Chamber, but this is her debut album as a solo artist. The songs are sung beautifully in both French and English and the music is ambitious and sprawling, perhaps unsurprisingly for someone who's so well connected with the French psychedelic/prog scene. Highlights include the brilliant "Proche Proche Proche" with its part ridiculous, part genius vocal solo, it's this sort of eccentricity that gives the album its edge. The songs in general though feature heavy synth flourishes but are all grounded by a rough and organic rhythm section. Fans of Air's Virgin Suicides soundtrack, Radiohead, Gwenno, Charlotte (and even Serge) Gainsbourg (some of the bass parts in "Tu Sais Comme Je Suis" sound like direct descendants of Serge's Histoire de Melody Nelson") would be well advised to pick this record up immediately.