Becca Stevens – Wonderbloom

But this just sounds like the syrupy chart warblings and basic beat with Neo Soul synths that loads of others do, surely some other songs can buck that trend if ‘Low On Love‘ can’t? Ah, that’s early Prince sex scuzz Funk Rock, isn’t it ‘I Wish‘; so much better, love that 80’s jazzy feel to ‘Between You & Me‘ too, but ‘Slow Burn‘ has such a tight groove it could last all night.

This has got very good very quickly, this well liked singer, appearing with Snarky Puppy, David Crosby and a heavy jazzy funk featurer. It isn’t all fun forays though, the slowburn blues of ‘I Will Avenge You‘, the almost drum n’ bass skitter and dubby bass of vocally vaulting then Big Rock ‘True Minds‘, all wonderful.

Yeah, there’s ethereal bothering at internal worries in some songs, but that’s expected; listen to that synth groan and disco middle if ‘Good Stuff‘ and 80’s Dazz Band deep synth bass of ‘Slow Burn‘.

This is a wonder indeed, it will bloom in your heart but then it has glorious roots too.

Out On Core Port

Remedy Rating : 5/5 Perfect Patient

Morrissey – I Am Not A Dog On A Chain

Oh, but you are. Perhaps becoming disgruntled at the declining album support, you sequestered yourself overseas to be a Prince over the water and then proceeded to make a series of big, pseudo shocking pronouncements in order to gain the attention of your masters, not really minding if the resulting hooplah is damaging you. We yank the chain, you come running and bare your teeth.

Which is a shame, as its dulled Morrissey’s musical senses. The last release, ‘California Sun‘, was a bitter collection of warmed over covers, but this? It starts with an electro backing more familiar to Marc Almond’s later work, ‘Jim Jim Falls‘, let down by a Dad Rock chorus, but boasts a smudgy sitar; all said, rather good. We’ve also got a harpsichord strutting the dancefloor for ‘Love Is On Its Way Out‘, Thelma Houston’s backing vocal smothering him in ‘Bobby Don’t You Think They Know?’ with groovy rolling organ solo and skronking sax.

It’s all becoming rather stunning. And if the title track unfortunately brings to mind Freddie And The Dreamers and ‘Darling, I Hug A Pillow‘ contains Bacharach horns so thin they could be from the toy box, even when the vaguely Industro Depeche Mode ‘The Secret Of Music‘ mixed with an opus feel jars with his 60’s Dusty Springfield intention like Tom Jones doing ‘Kiss‘, its still more interesting than talking about Stephen’s apparent far right preferences. And we could do without his aching ‘done me wrong’ lyric in ‘Knockabout World‘, but its a part of him.

Then the sun shines in ‘What Kind Of People Live In These Houses‘, this is a bright Californian day with a bitterness for people who are not like him lyrically of course; Morrissey appears never have had the emotional intelligence to understand views different to him, but many love him for it.

This is generally bass heavy and those fizzy electronic feelings suit very nicely, in that they’ve dated terribly but add sequins to a cardigan. He’s right, when you’re looking away ‘…time will shaft you’ and his raging against the dying of the light can be embarrassing for him, something he appears to be very hurt by, considering the petulance he portrays. The music though is a constant and this is such a trier, this album showing there is no such thing as old and new, just new to him and that electro hint works so well with the torch song wannabe; if as he sings, time gives you an invoice, I’m buying this.

Out On BMG

Remedy Rating: 4/5 Aversion Therapy

Best Coast – Always Tomorrow

Oh. Well, how do we row back from this? Darlings of the music mags, reviews so far seen for this album from Californian duo Bethany Consentino and Bobb Bruno have been a little lukewarm.

Banging like a vaguely Goth Indie band isn’t a great start, ‘Different Light‘, ‘black and white…different light’ – yerss, proceed to not quite ape Joan Jett on ‘Everything Has Changed‘, but then seem to feel safer in Belle & Sebastien territory.
The issue here is not that Best Coast touch lots of different styles. It’s that the songs don’t stand out ahead of the others out there, ‘Seeing Red‘ is a faceless Indie rocker, the Joan Jettisms are lost in ‘Make It Last‘s insipid chorus, other times there’s the lustrous emptiness of late 80’s chart Rock (for shame, ‘Graceless Kids’), although the bright Pop of ‘Wreckage‘ is a high spot.
Hit and miss, this, but when it hits it’s like Saltburn on Sea, when it misses, Mablethorpe. Somewhere in the middle; Whitby?

Out On Concord Music

Remedy Rating : 3/5 Mixed Results

Arbouretum – Let It All In

Oh yes, Arbouretum are well thought of, this album has been accorded full page reviews in some UK music mags, that’s big news. They want this US band to be an aching Folk Rock thing, to feed into a currently popular Indie niche.

And the mix allows every dust particle to be experienced, every string sweep heard, it has that organic love; ‘How Deep It Goes‘ tries acoustic picking and Crosby, Stills & Nash harmonies, a sweet Country Rock tune, deep Country infects ‘Headwaters II’ until a guitar solo unfolds and takes to a Southern Rock sound.

‘Buffeted By Wind‘, that’s what is expected, a Byrds chiming clarity and ignoring the ‘authentic’ dirge of ‘A Prism In Reverse, ‘No Sanctuary Blues‘ could have been the same but for the addition of a,cheeky clavinet, nice touch although it does go on a bit; now then, they shake themselves for a half jogging rooty title cut although in its 11 minutes it does tend to mine one seam as it pulsates, but they get it right with a good time, honkytonk ‘High Water Song‘, warming us with brass is a fine way to end.

Of course they’re darlings of the music press, this has a light Folk feel which hints at depths but has a playfulness amid a spectral frailty. It touches all the buttons and Arbouretum aren’t even trying to; this is going to be massive.

Let It All In? Why not, it won’t hurt ya and you might just love it.

Out On Thrill Jockey

Remedy Rating: 3.5/5 The Old Methods Work

SaintAgnes – The Family Strange

Saint Agnes delighted with their last album, ‘Welcome To Silvertown‘, they took the souped up Blues thing so many are doing these days and played with it, pulled it pushed it and produced something special. The cover of this ep is bloodsoaked and that’s followed with the music.

There’s a huge, bouncy, almost Dubstep feel to the electronic sounding ‘Daughter Of Lucifer‘, this is kicked up a notch for sure, the chorus is a bit Nu Metal to be honest, even Rage Against The Machine Zack De La Rocha vocally, but it fits. And that continues in an early 90’s One Minute Silence Big Rock backing and lyrics spat at you like accusations; ‘And They All Fall Down‘ bruises.

But there’s a Billy Eilish chart faux Soul delivery and ghostly synths at the back of ‘Meanest Little Kid In Town‘, entirely modern and ready to break out.

It’s all change for Saint Agnes. Whether this is just a diversion or a new sound, they pull it off with aplomb; this band are on the cusp of something great. Strange Family? Come and visit.

Out On Banquet Records

Remedy Rating: 4/5 New Techniques, Good Results

Pearl Jam – Gigatron

PJ grace us with another album? Let’s see which PJ turn up…

They can be almost wilfully confounding and whilst there isn’t anything wrong with that, it sometimes seems like a wilful choice rather than an organic shift; ‘Who Ever Said‘ is a serrated guitar and trashcan beat thing, Eddie Vedder’s voice wobbling dangerously close to Feargal Sharkey territory, it has groove and a beloved Neil Young feel, when it breaks down it touches Country Rock, the places it goes are more interesting than the place it starts.

The groovy, simple riff to ‘Superblood Wolfmoon‘ is more interesting, the Smiths ‘la la la’ more so, the stomping about in impotent anger by the end expected. But the needling synth to single ‘Dance Of The Clairvoyants‘ isn’t, neither is the guitar stabbing Vedder’s vocals, which become like David Byrne as the song progresses; rather brilliant.

Then they settle into peak anguish, fractured music, ‘Seven O’Clock‘, Americana anger too on ‘Never Destination‘, but if you like this, enjoy. And yet Pearl Jam have the GBGBs sensibility which turned so many off when ‘Vs‘ followed Grunge hit debut ‘Ten‘, now they’re more nuanced in their attack, ‘Take The Long Way‘ has that energy but steps a little to regard.

And they can always come from leftfield, the cowboy summer of ‘Buckle Up‘ even odd hooves sounds in the background, followed by Country acoustic ‘Comes Then Goes‘ which sounds exactly right and so does the accordion beckoning us to closer ‘River Cross‘.

So which PJ turned up? All of them. Isn’t that just the way when you’ve only got one packet of cheese footballs? More entertaining though…

Out On Monkeywrench/Republic

Remedy Rating: 4/5 Mixed Results

Lucifer III

‘II’ was a collection of wonderfully catchy Hard Rock, so a new release is very welcome.

And this takes up where that album left over, ‘Ghosts‘ heavy in intention but airy and accessible, 70’s Hard Rock in sound, memorable in effect, ‘Midnight Phantom‘ tells of a nocturnal naughtiness with menacing tones and deep riffs, but can’t help a simple, takeaway chorus. Want to encapsulate their appeal? Come on, cowbell, smudgy riffs, soulful break downs, fiery guitar solo; ‘Stay Astray‘ really has a go.

And then ‘Flanked By Snakes‘ could be Mororhead with a Pop wish, wonderfully rousing, whilst if you were waiting for ‘Pacific Blues‘ to be some sort of Yacht Rock track, you still won’t feel short changed by it’s busy, chunky standard Rock riffing and glistening chart vocal melody and yes, that is a goat bleat at the start of rollicking but smooth ‘Lucifer‘, what else would you use?

Lucifer have found a niche here, hard driving music with coaxing melodies that never soften the music behind it. ‘III‘ continues the brilliance, it’s more than a neat trick, this should make them absolutely huge. The cover is a painting of them chauffeured up beside a roller, soon they may be able to afford one…

Out On Century Media Records

Remedy Rating: 5/5 Perfect Patient