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Album reviews: Le Galaxie hit bullseye with Le Club - The Irish News
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Arts

Album reviews: Le Galaxie hit bullseye with Le Club

Southern electronic outfit Le Galaxie – who have, incidentally, postponed their gig in Belfast tonight. A new date will be announced in January, they say

Le Galaxie

Le Club

Dublin electro band Le Galaxie have hit the bullseye with Le Club, an album that makes it virtually impossible to sit still while listening to it.

Lead singer Michael Pope has clearly listened to plenty of Human League records in his time, most notably, one imagines, the Sheffield group's multi-million seller Dare, as his monotone croon clearly apes that of Phil Oakey, but this is no bad thing.

Superb opener Put the Chain On sets the tone, all throbbing beats and dance grooves, but what gives Le Club an extra dimension is the band's use of guest vocalists, which works an absolute treat.

Fellow Irish vocalist Elaine Mai contributes to the excellent Love System, with South African singer Senita Appiakorang appearing on two highlights, Tell Me Twice and AM LA. Retro it may be, but Le Club sounds as fresh as the Human League did in the early 80s. Great stuff.

FOUR STARS

Kim Mayo

Beans On Toast

Rolling Up The Hill

Essex singer-songwriter Jay McAllister, aka Beans On Toast, has come up with the novel approach of releasing an album every year on his birthday – December 1 – and this year is no different.

Rolling Up The Hill contains 12 tracks full of his acerbic and witty lyrics, most accompanied by his trademark acoustic guitar. Think of a hybrid of Ian Dury and Billy Bragg with an extra dose of venom for good measure, although McAllister's wry sense of humour also shines through.

Superb opener, The Mudhills Crew about a misspent youth sets the tone, although it is on God Is A Cartoonist, about the futility of religion, where he really comes into his own.

THREE STARS

Kim Mayo

Foxtrott

A Taller Us

Foxtrott is the nom de plume of Montreal beat couturiere and mix merchant Marie-Helene L Delorme, an artist raised on hip-hop, but with a taste for catchy pop and an instinct to deconstruct its base form.

With her debut album on the One Little Indian label, Delorme splices and dices to impressive effect, chewing up chart convention and delivering an enriching, arresting sound, still packed with hooks, but emboldened by heavy bursts of bass, stealthy sampling, synths that fizz and practically sing melody.

With Driven and Shields, Delorme delivers a pair of icy, skewed but dancefloor-ready tracks. On the closing Heads Under Water, she throws in the kitchen sink, thumping bass bumping up against her own powerful vocals. One to watch, for sure, although Delorme is an already impressive performer.

THREE STARS

John Skilbeck

Lil Bub

Science & Magic

Lil BUB already has a million followers on Instagram, a book, a documentary, a web series and now an album under her belt. For a four-year-old feline, that's pretty unusual. But then again, Lil BUB isn't exactly your everyday moggie.

Her debut album, titled Science & Magic: A Soundtrack To The Universe sees BUB collaborate with meow-sicians Andrew W.K and Matt Tobey. The pair describe themselves as "creative vessels" for BUB's musical talents.

Yes, the concept is totally bonkers, but what does it sound like? Surprisingly, we don't hear a lot of Lil BUB's vocals. There are a few meows and purrs here and there, but the vast majority of the album is made up of science fiction-inspired synth, dreamy 80s keys and 8-bit inspired electronic blips.

You've got to be kitten if you think Science & Magic is going to make musical history, but this light-hearted combination of cool synth tracks and cat noises is surprisingly won-fur-ful.

THREE STARS

Claire Hubble

Troye Sivan

Blue Neighbourhood

Despite boasting 3.17 million Twitter followers, 3.7 million YouTube subscribers and sold out gigs around the world, you probably haven't heard of Troye Sivan, at least, not if you're over the age of 25.

That's because the 20-year-old doesn't owe his popularity to record label executives or televised singing competitions. The South African-born Australian singer found his place on YouTube, where he's been sharing regular covers, original songs and videos featuring fellow famous pals, like Zoella and Tyler Oakley, since 2007.

Sivan's hordes of loyal followers have been pining for a studio-length album for quite some time, and his debut Blue Neighbourhood certainly won't disappoint. One of the most captivating things about Sivan is the sincerity in his haunting voice, complemented by gorgeous harmonies and backing melodies.

Soft percussion, Eighties-inspired keys and oodles of synthisiser provide a hazy, melancholy backing track to songs about falling in love, navigating a relationship and nursing a broken heart. Standout tracks include WILD, an ode to first love in suburban neighbourhoods; DKLA, a ballad about trying to move on after a tough break up, and HEAVEN, a track in which Sivan debates whether God will accept his sexuality.

These are not just great pop songs they're pop songs with a gritty edge, written by an artist who is pouring his heart out to an audience he trusts.

FOUR STARS

Claire Hubble

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