Albums: Blossoms, Drive-By Truckers, Kesha and Marc Almond

Blossoms are back with new album Foolish Loving Spaces
Blossoms are back with new album Foolish Loving Spaces Blossoms are back with new album Foolish Loving Spaces


Foolish Loving Spaces

Alex Green


FOOLISH Loving Spaces could be a billboard advertisement for Blossoms 2.0. The Stockport quintet's seven-year evolution from hirsute Pink Floyd acolytes to spirited pop maestros is complete. Their third album is proof of this.

Gone is the shimmering albeit simple indie of 2016's self-titled debut and 2018's Cool Like You. Both records were cool amalgamations of Blossoms' myriad influences (from The Stone Roses to Abba).

Foolish Loving Spaces sounds different. It's an album that oozes personality. Blossoms are one step closer to being unique.

Their sound may still, at times, veer towards the derivative – My Swimming Brain has more than shades of Fleetwood Mac's Dreams. But it's hard to argue with delightfully straightforward pop gems like Sunday Was A Friend Of Mine.

And The Keeper sets the gospel experiments of Primal Scream on a collision course with the blissed-out pop of Spiritualized, to extraordinary effect.

Foolish Loving Spaces is the sound of a band hitting full stride.


High Road

Beverley Rouse


SIXTEEN tracks packed with energy, emotion and the F word – Kesha's fourth studio album bursts opens like the singer-songwriter is desperate to burn off some energy and has chosen music rather than a punch bag to clear her head.

Party song Tonight, anthemic My Own Dance and Raising Hell feat Big Freedia start the album with a series of songs about living life to the full.

Title track High Road pairs a melodic chorus with fast rapped verses, but there's still plenty of attitude in the biting lyrics about haters and betrayal even as things slow with Shadow and Honey.

Kesha's childhood in Nashville influences Cowboy Blues and Resentment feat Sturgill Simpson, Brian Wilson and Wrabel, while things turn saucy and fun with Little Bit of Love, Birthday Suit – scattered with arcade game bleeps – and Kinky feat Kesha.

You might not love every song but there's something for almost everyone.

Drive-By Truckers

The Unraveling

Padraig Collins


IT'S been three years, four months and one day since the last Drive-By Truckers album - their longest ever gap between records.

In the interim, singer/songwriter/guitarists Mike Cooley and Patterson Hood each struggled with writer's block. And Donald Trump became president of their country.

A look at the track titles – Armageddon's Back In Town, Grievance Merchants, Babies In Cages – shows how Trump inspired them to write again.

Thoughts And Prayers, about the witless words rolled out after every mass shooting in America, says "there's always someone to blame, never anywhere to hide". But angry words are never enough. It's also got a rock/country melody up there with anything they've done.

Heroin Again is a plaintive plea to people not to use heroin. While the lyrics might seem hectoring ("a judgment discrepancy, cutting life expectancy"), the song rocks and should be a fists-in-the-air monster when played live.

It's great to have Drive-By Truckers back. Don't leave it so long next time.

Marc Almond

Chaos and a Dancing Star

Matt George


NEVER knowingly understated, Marc Almond returns with a sprawling 13-track album that nods to all aspects of his 40-year career, apart from the synths and electronica of his Soft Cell beginnings.

Histrionic opener Black Sunrise ends with a lengthy guitar solo which I could have done without, while Fighting A War is built on a T Rex-style glam rock riff, and the piano-led Hollywood Forever is a counterpart to The Kinks' Celluloid Heroes.

Cherry Tree owes a debt to late 60s Scott Walker, as does epic seven-minute-closer The Crows Eyes Have Turned Blue, which showcases his voice, which is as strong as it has ever been.

The single Slow Burn Love is the most immediate, an 80s tinged ode to lasting love, a more optimistic contrast to other lyrics which tell of romances failing and worlds falling apart.