Albums: New music from Bugzy Malone, Avalanches, Japanese Breakfast and Frank Turner
BUGZY MALONE – THE RESURRECTION
LAST year Bugzy Malone was seriously injured after crashing his bike in his native Manchester. A recreation of that scene appears on the cover of his aptly named second album, The Resurrection.
This is a good idea of what to expect: Autobiography and brutal honesty. The Resurrection is equal parts posturing and despair. The self-titled opener addresses his troubled upbringing while the third part of his ongoing MEN series sees him turning his crash into a moment of pure swagger.
"I feel like Wolverine, like I smashed the side of the car up with my physique, and left a big boy dent in the concrete."
Biblical references abound. Tracks are accented with angelic choruses, heavenly strings and colossal-sounding drums. After 15 tracks, this sound palette wears a little thin, although Malone's lyricism keeps things interesting.
The Resurrection proves why he remains one of rap's most important figures.
THE AVALANCHES – SINCE I LEFT YOU (20TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION)
THE Avalanches' 2001 breakthrough album Since I Left You established them as hippest of hip crate-diggers, sounding like a wildly eclectic Fat Boy Slim, or a less po-faced DJ Shadow.
This 20th anniversary remix is a timely reminder that they were as capable as matching either in selecting beats that felt simultaneously authentic and bone-tinglingly cool. The squelchy groove of Electricity (Original Avalanches Demo) will put the listener in mind of Uptown Funk, while Thank You Caroline pairs gritty retro synth lines with a drum pattern that is undeniably phat.
As would be expected for an album of remixes, the rhythm is foregrounded here, even on the country-influenced So Why So Sad, which here becomes a sonic slab of West Coast sunshine.
The album builds to a mesmerising climax in Sinkane's remix of Radio, as the album moves away from its more introspective material to dancefloor-oriented vibes.
JAPANESE BREAKFAST – JUBILEE
JAPANESE Breakfast's Michelle Zauner is ready to usher in a new decade of hope with her latest album Jubilee. The third album by the Seoul-born, Oregon-raised artist explores fighting for happiness through joyful noise.
It moves from 80s-inspired pop pieces like Be Sweet, to mellow tones building to an intense guitar-riff crescendo in Posing For Cars.
It is an evolution from her 2016 debut album Psychopomp and 2017's Soft Sounds From Another Planet which grappled with anguish and loss during her mother's cancer treatment, and later her death.
"I want to be good — I want to navigate this hate in my heart somewhere better," she sings.
It is this aspiration for new beginnings which makes this a joyful album for a post-pandemic world.
FRANK TURNER – ENGLAND KEEP MY BONES (10TH ANNIVERSARY)
BEFORE this record, Frank Turner was a cult folk-punk hero. Within a year of its release, he'd was playing the London Olympics Ceremony pre-show and selling out Wembley Arena.
The title comes from Shakespeare, with Turner setting out to make an album about English national identity and his own roots, explained in Wessex Boy as "when I'm here I'm home". English Curse, about the death of William II, is Turner's voice alone, while in Rivers he sings "the only place that I'll lay my hat down is by an English riverside".
Standout track and live favourite I Still Believe is on his eternal theme of the redemptive power of music, with its chorus "now who'd have thought that after all, something as simple as rock 'n' roll would save us all".
This extras packed 37-track anniversary edition is mainly for Turner completists, but England Keep My Bones has definitely stood the test of time.