Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Dunkie - Working to Design

Released: 27 Dec 2019
Label: _
Listen on Bandcamp

Dunkie is the work of Welsh songwriter - Anthony Price, and this is his debut album. It is full of beautiful, emotional songs about life, death, love and loss. 

The album is highly accomplished, musically and also visually due to the fantastic artwork. Each song has an illustration (by Gustavius Payne) which has the essence of a surreal children's picture book.   

'The White Hole' has an angry tone and demonstrates some highly skilled musicianship, particularly the guitar work. One of the most remarkable things about this album is the attention to detail. It is often orchestral or has atmospheric electronic soundscapes.

'Can A Song Save Your Life?' shows masterful songwriting and is an example of how the simplest melody can become something so epic and hugely emotional when produced in the right way. The subject of the song is finding comfort in music and it actually does provide that.

'Rabbit Hole' is upbeat musically, but heartbreaking with themes of loss and isolation. Lyrically, it paints a vivid picture in your mind, like many of the other songs here. 

Other highlights are 'W.A.L.L.S (Within a Little Lovesong)' which has vibes of R.E.M. - Everybody Hurts. 'Sugar' is a lovely heartfelt ballad with electronic beats. '71-41-11' is about the emptiness due to bereavement and is incredibly moving. Its sound is reminiscent of Sufjan Stevens' more electronic music.

My favourite song here is 'The Memory Tree', a gorgeous folk song about preserving a departed loved one's memory. It is strangely uplifting, never overly sentimental or depressing. It brought to mind, Eels album - Electro Shock Blues.

This is a wonderful album with so much depth and intricate detail, from start to finish. Highly recommended. 

Dunkie Facebook

Sunday, 20 October 2019


Released: 18 Oct 2019
Label: Kool Kat Musik
Listen on Bandcamp

This is the debut album from Swedish Power Pop band - ANC4, and it is full of wonderfully catchy pop gems. The band is the new project of Roger Arvidson (Arvidson & Butterflies) and Tomas Nilsson (The Mop Tops).    

It opens with 'Easy Way Out' which has 60's jangle pop vibes. It is really summery and uplifting. Their sound recalls The Byrds and Teenage Fanclub.

'Do You Wanna' has infectious hooks and an insanely simple melody which stays in your head upon first hearing. The songs are all so well-crafted, the priority being on the harmonies which are always divine.

Another highlight is 'You Can Call Me Darling' a heartfelt love song, with country vibes. 'So Good To Me' demonstrates more superb pop songwriting, and that simplicity is often the key to effectiveness.

'Broken Tune' is a traditional love song which could fit into any era from the 60's onwards. The melody is vaguely reminiscent of The Beatles - I Need You. 

This is a hugely enjoyable album, especially for those who love jangle! Highly recommended.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

The Jellybricks - Some Kind of Lucky

Released: 4 Oct 2019
Label: Wicked Cool Records
Listen on Bandcamp

Pennsylvania's The Jellybricks have been around since the 90's, but I have only recently been aware of them. Their new album demonstrates some of the most enjoyable Power Pop I have heard all year. 

Opening song, 'Corner of My Eye' has superb hooks, heavy guitars and soaring harmonies. 'Brooklyn' is more of the same, with an anthemic chorus. The songs instantly stay with you on first listen. Their sound is a perfect mixture of melody and heavier punk, a lot like Sugar's Copper Blue. 

The best song here is 'Can't Get Over You', which is gloriously melodic and sounds like it could be a lost 90's college radio hit. 'No Money' is fun and simplistic with a lot of charm. 

'When its Gone' is another great, anthemic song. For this band, it is just effortless. The album ends on title track 'Some kind of Lucky', which is a beautiful ballad, unexpected and yet it fits in perfectly. 

This is a superb album and well worth checking out if you want memorable, melodic songs with a slightly heavier edge. 

Saturday, 12 October 2019

The Lilac Time - Return to Us

Released: 11 Oct 2019
Label: BMG
Listen on Spotify

Folk band - The Lilac Time have been around since the 80's and this is their 10th album. It is full of beautiful country-tinged, sometimes political songs. The songs are all superbly crafted and from the heart. Stephen Duffy is a favourite songwriter of mine and this album shows his usual brilliance.    

It opens with '(I'm) a Believer' which is so uplifting with an anthemic chorus. There are some lovely harmonies and it has a real warmth to it.

'March to the Docks' is a sad song with some references to the corrupt capitalist system - 'The have-it-alls have it in Hampstead. The have-nothings always pay.' 

'On The Hills of Cinnamon' sounds like a slowed-down country version of a song from their first album - 'Return to Yesterday'. It is nice that the link between the two albums, over 30 years apart, is always evident.

Title song 'Return To Us' is the most country-sounding song here. It is very upbeat melodically but angry in theme, about the flaws of humankind. 

'The River Runs Both Ways' is another highlight with deep, thought-provoking lyrics. My favourite song here is 'The Simple Things', which is very moving. The harmonies and big soaring production towards the end, really adds to the emotional impact. 

This is one of the most beautiful albums I have heard all year. Highly recommended. 

Friday, 4 October 2019

The Persian Leaps - Electrical Living

Released: 4 Oct 2019
Label: _
Listen on Bandcamp

Minnesota Power Pop band - The Persian Leaps have been making music for a while and this is their second full length release after last year's best of - 'Pop that goes Crunch'.   

Electrical Living is the first record I have heard by them and is a good introduction. Its full of brilliantly catchy, hook laden songs, which will stick in your mind on first listen. 

'Catnip for Cupid' is a simple pop song but very effective and full of melody. The guitars are slightly heavy, with a pop punk edge. Their sound is reminiscent of 90's power pop/punk such as Superchunk in places. 'Sweet Nothings' is quite energetic and fun. 

My favourite song here is 'About Your Record' with a chorus so strong, and highly melodic, you will find yourself humming it to yourself. Again, the song is simple but it doesn't need anything else and really invites repeat listens. 

Break up song - 'The Problem Is' finds them straying away from their more upbeat energetic side. It provides the album with a more laid back ballad, which was much needed and it is a beautiful song. 'Chalk Line Behemoth' is more punk and echoes The Clash - 'Complete Control' in places. 

A hugely enjoyable listen, especially for 'About Your Record', which is one of my songs of the year. 

Thursday, 3 October 2019

The Prescriptions - Hollywood Gold

Released: Apr 2019
Label: _
Listen on Bandcamp

Tennessee's The Prescriptions are a new discovery for me and this review comes a little late, but this album is too good not to have a mention here.  

The band's sound is heavily inspired by Big Star, with some Americana influences, such as The Jayhawks too.

It opens with the beautifully atmospheric 'Setting Sun'. It starts off laid back but by the end is quite heavy and really draws you in.

Title track 'Hollywood Gold' is the standout song here. It is one of those songs which is so good, it will stop you in your tracks on first hearing. It is a ballad so perfect, both lyrically and melodically, it fills me with emotion on every listen. 

'She is Waiting' is another great song with strong hooks and chorus. The balance of Americana with more traditional rock and Power Pop, works so well. 

'Broken Wing' is an epic, heartbreaking ballad with some great guitar solos towards the end. Closer 'Days Go By' is another highlight, so sweet and heartfelt, like Big Star's Thirteen.

This is such a great debut and the strength of the songs here, really showcases their potential. I look forward to hearing what they do next.