Album reviews: 80s and aliens are themes for Fickle Friends and Kim Wilde
You Are Someone Else
AFTER an endless stream of single releases, it seemed to be a long, distant wait for the arrival of Fickle Friends' debut album. You Are Someone Else is nostalgic for the past, for the 1980s, and it pays homage to genre-defining songs from the likes of Whitney, Tiffany, Shannon, and all the other major power-pop players of the decade. The tracks combine this with more current dance and trance sounds, heard in Glue and Bite, but overall this knows exactly where it belongs. With a primarily synth base, the album is packed with little touches and shows flawless production and is bound to fill any dancefloor. The most striking elements are the big, sing-along choruses, which are executed brilliantly. Whether your kind of music or not, it is intense, fast and erratic. It keeps you on your toes, and is an excellent, classic pop album.
Here Come The Aliens
KIM Wilde once warned you should Never Trust A Stranger; here is another public service announcement. The UK's green-fingered queen of 1980s new wave pop has cultivated an obsession with little green men, the strangest of strangers. "They're out there in the stars, maybe they come from Mars," she sings on 1969. Inspired by Wilde's own close encounter, the glam-rock stomp here sees Wilde as a girl, gazing starry-eyed at black-and-white broadcasts of the first Moon landing, before turning her thoughts to distant galaxies. Pop Don't Stop pays homage to Buggles classic Video Killed The Radio Star with its piano-led intro before bursting away on an inter-planetary path. Such pleasing allusions are scattered across the album where the highlight comes with Kandy Krush, the closest thing to Wilde's touchstone hit Kids In America. The real revelation here is that her 14th studio album might be the Chelsea Flower Show gold medallist's finest non-horticultural work in decades.
The Truth Is
ALEXANDRA Burke, who won The X Factor a mindboggling 10 years ago, is finally dropping her third studio album after a six-year wait. She's grown in that time as an artist and as a woman, particularly in the past year – what with her successful Strictly stint and the death of her mother – and is set on making her mark in music again. However, this effort doesn't feel like she's giving her best... yet. Nothing is particularly bad here: Burke is a powerful songstress – her voice is undeniably one of the best of her generation – and the production is fair enough. The power ballads are pleasant, if not a bit lacking in true heart. Moments of greatness come from her duet with Ronan Keating, Say We'll Meet Again, and the title track. This isn't one to write off, but perhaps to think of as a precursor to Burke's next release, which will hopefully see her flaunt her talents to the fullest.
DESPITE being on the fringes of the music scene for several years, Ady Suleiman's debut album has been a long time coming. Much of the delay was apparently spent getting out of a record deal with Simon Cowell's Syco label, and it's clear within the first few foul-mouthed seconds of opening track I Remember why they were probably never a good fit. Suleiman follows closely the template set by Amy Winehouse, matching foul-mouthed, brutally personal lyrics with a smooth, contemporary jazz backing; it's no wonder he has gained the approval of similar artists including Laura Mvula and Leanne Le Havas. He's not quite up to their standard, yet; some of the tunes aren't entirely memorable, and his blunt take on sex and relationships is tinged with a slightly unpleasant laddishness. However, when he lets his guard down, as on the gorgeous Longing For Your Love, it's easy to believe he might yet become one of the greats.
Where I Go When I Am Sleeping
THE second album from the Welsh melodic post-hardcore group. On this album Casey are unafraid to expose their physical and emotional traumas. More specifically, vocalist Tom Weaver recalls ongoing and past episodes of his life, which include a diagnosis of brittle bones, colitis, and suffering a heart attack – as well as manic depression. Weaver and his bandmates lay everything out in this raw, emotionally charged record. Sometimes this genre of music can be a little self-indulgent but Casey get the balance right, mainly due to the honesty and subject matter. One imagines the recording process for this album provided some form of cathartic release. There are no real standout tracks; it is a record best experienced as a whole.