Album reviews: Tame Impala, Summer Camp, Huey Lewis and La Roux
The Slow Rush
AFTER five years Tame Impala are back with their fourth studio album, which caters for all. The group's 2010 debut InnerSpeaker delivered poppy tunes with punchy guitar riffs and just a tickle of synth: five years later, third album Currents showed a clear prog-rock influence coming in.
The band's latest offering, The Slow Rush, gives a bit of everything. Mainstream pop vibes remain, with songs like Borderline and Lost In Yesterday providing listeners with something to nod and sing along to, but are interspersed with more ethereal tunes.
In these the synth is laid on thick, creating heavy electronic soundscapes which both soothe and melt the mind. For those new to the band, they may come across a little self-indulgent and require some patience, but for more regular listeners it's a really nice balance.
As an album, TSR might not blow your socks right off, but it's a completely solid return for Tame Impala, and one that's well worth a listen – or two.
Huey Lewis and The News
HUEY Lewis has never been cool, but you don't get to sell 30 million albums without some serious talent. Still, it's hard to imagine there are many people waiting with bated breath for the Hip To Be Square man's first album of original music since 2001 (there was a covers set in 2010).
Weather opens promisingly with While We're Young, which mixes some ska touches to Lewis's usual rock, pop and soul sounds. But the next track, Her Love Is Killin' Me, is Lewis-by-numbers and just sounds dated.
Remind Me Why I Love You Again is an upbeat pop/soul song, and it's good, but it's not a patch on his 1980s classics The Power Of Love and Do You Believe In Love.
With only seven songs and a 26-minute running time, Weather is too short to outstay its welcome, but it's also not good enough to make you immediately press play again.
ELLY Jackson has got her groove back. The La Roux frontwoman returns with her most personal album yet, set to low-slung rhythms reminiscent of George Michael and Stevie Wonder.
The singer's piercing voice rocketed the duo's third single Bulletproof to the top of the charts in 2009. In the decade since, she clashed with her label and split with her producer/bandmate Ben Langmaid. Those quarrels colour the album but despite this, Supervision is a wildly optimistic ride.
Jackson's third outing under the moniker sees her exploring lower tempos and brighter, more textured musical palettes – those trademark synths are mostly absent.
Automatic Driver is full of vocal runs that burst forth in colour while Otherside features a hip-swinging rhythm that owes much to early disco.
La Roux's early years produced a flurry of hits. Supervision is unlikely to do the same but that is no bad thing. It's album that stands up on its own.
LOVE is in the air for married couple Elizabeth Sankey and Jeremy Walmsley of indie-pop band Summer Camp, as they return with their first album in five years. Or at least movie love, as Sankey sings on Barefoot In The Park: "I don't care if it's not real, I just can't help the way I feel... I wanna get married in a big white dress as the credits roll."
The album is a companion piece to Sankey's film of the same name, an exploration of the romantic comedy genre, and examines the distance between the cliches of kissing in the rain on London streets, and the more prosaic reality.
In single The Ugly Truth Sankey sings "if we never met it wouldn't bother me, but it feels alright" and album closer Run asks if "there must be something beyond this".
With nods to Motown and 1960s girl groups like The Shangri-Las, this is the perfect bittersweet Valentine's Day present.