Album reviews: new releases rated
BAIO - MAN OF THE WORLD
VAMPIRE Weekend bassist Chris Baio's second solo album Man Of The World is a mixture of heady synths, Bowie-esque vocals and electronically experimental tracks that work their way into your soul, each one dotted with pleasingly produced euphoria.
The lyrics will get you thinking, too. Baio covers topics from climate change in Dangeroue Anamal, to paying taxes to a government that commits violent acts in Sensitive Guy.
But the songs are so easy on the ear, so uplifting despite these hefty stimuli. It's a confusingly dazzling amalgamation that both long-time fans and Baio neophytes will enjoy in equal measure.
Standout tracks include the ear-catching opener Vin Mariani and the title track, which appears to be a nod to both retro video games and Latin music. But really, honestly it's an album without filler.
MEADOWLARK - POSTCARDS
ON THE back of their beautiful EP Dual, the Bristol based duo Kate McGill and Dan Broadley have honed their sound. A blend of captivating pop melodies and melancholy highlighted by the haunting voice of McGill, reminiscent of Beth Gibbons from Portishead.
The pair have included previously released tracks Headlights, Eyes Wide and Satellite. But their progression as a band can really be heard in the final and title track of the album Postcards: on first listen it is just a beautiful song, on the second the lyrics really strike home.
There is something, like their music, rather simple and majestic about "finding love on a mountain top".
The production of this album is second to none, Spike Stent has brought the same feel to this release as his work with Haim, Chvrches and the ultimate 'Bristol band' Massive Attack.
This is an album perfect for summer evenings
LOD - FOLDER EP
GETTING people invested in your sound in just four songs isn't always an easy task. But Danish five-piece Lod have managed to do just that with their debut EP.
Following up on their debut single Folder was always going to be tricky. But single Sa Bla (So Blue in English) is a good, solid listen. And at just over nine minutes long, there's time aplenty to enjoy the chilled dance track.
Fans of the more upbeat Folder will know that, at 8:29, it too is the type of track that doesn't feel its length.
Admittedly this is not an album for anyone looking for a popular sound that appeals to the masses. If the Danish lyrics don't intimidate you and you're after something different and chilled, then give this a try.
LANY - LANY
LANY have the distinction of being Spotify Discover's most-streamed group, which is a very modern route to popularity for a band with such a self-consciously retro sound.
Ever since the cult thriller Drive brought it back into the mainstream, 1980s-style synthpop has dominated the charts, and although it can't really be said that Lany have anything new to bring to the table, it's easy to see how the group's blend of blissed-out keyboards and gentle but impassioned vocals has captured so many imaginations.
Breakout track ILYSB's 3.7million downloads is proof enough of their intoxicating powers.
Although a slightly overgenerous 16 tracks does lead to the album getting a bit samey, it's delivered with laidback charm, and with enough of a sense of humour to include a one-minute answerphone message from drummer Jake Clifford Goss's mother excitedly complimenting his new tattoo.