Review: Despite keeping to their pattern of releasing records on a triennial basis, 'A Deeper Understanding' shows that The War On Drugs have neither been slacking nor lost momentum in the long wait. Following 2014's stunning and ardently introspective 'Lost In The Dream', the new album sees Adam Granduciel and co. continue to explore themes of loneliness within the framework of their cinematic Americana sound. Highlights such as the euphoric catharsis of 'Holding On' and the pensive 'Strangest Thing' are evidence of a beautifully accomplished album by a group who appear to be gaining a deeper understanding not only of the experience of pain, but of who they are as a band.
Review: It takes precisely two minutes of "Tainted Lunch" to realise that Warmduscher really don't give a flying funk what you think. The sort of band who are happy with the strange and rather hallucinatory world they've created for themselves - ideal trippers, if you like.
Opening with the Iggy Pop collaboration "Rules Of The Game", the London outfit are informed by everything from hip hop ("Burner", featuring legend Kool Keith), early Red Hot Chili Peppers ("Midnight Dipper"), post-punk ("Blood Load") and experimental, grungy scuzz, if that's really a thing ("Grape Face"). The result is an album that's pretty much impossible to categorise, which although increasingly common in the genre-less today, rarely presents itself in such a fascinating, abrasive and unapologetic form. Where from here is anyone's guess, simply because the band could quite literally go anywhere from here. Hence closer "Tiny Letters" coming across like the deranged child of 1950s balladry.
Review: Delivering their second album of 2018 is Leicestershire's own The Wave Pictures whose legacy dates back to 1998, a solid 20 licks. The album, the band say, is dedicated to friendship, happiness and drunken party times and it's no surprise to read Look Inside Your Heart was recorded liquored up somewhere in Stoke Newington, North London. With harmonicas, the odd guitar, chatter of backup vocals and racketty drums abound, the album's that perfect reminder that two's a party, three's a crowd, but more is always merrier.
Review: A vibrant and zesty art-rock quartet from Toronto, Weaves have made a debut that brims with both intent and good old-fashioned fun, a demolition derby of punk-tinged brio and candysweet pop suss. The frenetic air of sonic brinksmanship - with restless rhythms and abrasive guitar scree holding court - might seem at odds with the colourful melodies herein, but Weaves appear to have the nous to make both spark off each other to provide a tonic as likely to appeal to fans of Romeo Void, Erase Errata or Patti Smith alike. Most importantly, in an indie milieu increasingly failling prey to rock classicism, this is band with quirky character and incandescent chutzpah to burn.
Review: Something of a deity to many, Paul Weller has undergone more than his fair share of metamorphoses in a storied forty year career, but the quality control of his output post-2007's '22 Dreams' has surprised even some of most ardent devotees, and 'A Kind Revolution' is ample evidence that even as he approaches 60 his creative energy and questing spirit are undimmed. He's still searching for new modes of expression that belie his reputation as a soul-style traditionalist, and in a fractious and hostile era, the messages of hope are as much a balm as his increasingly mellifluous voice.