Albums: New music from Bobbie Gillespie and Jehnny Beth, The Go! Team, Laura Mvula and Tyler, The Creator
BOBBY GILLESPIE AND JEHNNY BETH – UTOPIAN ASHES
PRIMAL Scream frontman Gillespie teams up with Savages singer turned solo artist Beth for a remarkable album chronicling a fictional marriage break-up.
Packing country ballads, screaming riffs, strings, brass and plenty more besides into just nine songs, Gillespie mostly takes centre stage though Beth – whose initial lyrics were developed into a finished product by Gillespie and Primal Scream guitarist Andrew Innes – gets her moments to shine, chiefly on the piano-led Your Heart Will Always Be Broken.
The haunting English Town is an early stand-out while Gillespie's spoken-word section – titled Self-crowned King Of Nothingness – to open You Can Trust Me Now is the album's most arresting moment.
Best of all is Remember We Were Lovers, the line "We abused this gift we've been given, again and again and again and again and again" given a jarringly euphoric singalong feel by trumpet flourishes on each repetition of "again".
THE GO! TEAM – GET UP SEQUENCES PART ONE
WITH their latest album, Brighton indie six-piece The Go! Team truly live up to their name in a series of barnstorming new tunes.
The July 2 release would have fallen shortly after the date originally pencilled in as Freedom Day, and the genre-spanning band will surely be disappointed their lively and uplifting new material will no longer be dropping straight onto packed dancefloors.
However that does not detract from the success of the album, which is filled with spirited songs worthy of any post-pandemic party.
Frontman Ian Parton has described the album as a "life raft" after he partially lost his hearing while working on the "upbeat" record, and it is easy to see how producing such a joyful collection of songs helped him through the difficult period.
While there are a couple of near misses, such as the country-tinged track A Memo For Maceo, the album is overwhelmingly fun and a great tonic for our times.
LAURA MVULA – PINK NOISE
PINK Noise, the Birmingham singer's bold third album, rejects the "classically trained" tag that has come to somewhat unfairly define her in recent years.
Gone is the jazz-classical fusion of her early work. Instead, we get 80s-inspired funk, soul and R&B delivered with an angular, contemporary flair.
Remedy is pure pop gold, while Magical delivers weightless yacht rock, complete with choppy disco guitars and references to "kisses in the Purple Rain".
Mvula may be hoping to step away from her classical roots but, thankfully, the musical complexity of her early work remains.
This time, however, it sits quietly in the background, revealing itself on repeat listens.
This is no slight to her earlier work – 2013's Sing To The Moon and 2016's The Dreaming Room were both top flight albums.
But with its inventive take on nostalgic sounds, Pink Noise may turn out to be both a critical and commercial success.
TYLER, THE CREATOR – CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST
AS THE follow up to 2019's Grammy-winning Igor, expectations for Tyler, The Creator's sixth album were high.
Call Me If You Get Lost sees the Californian rapper embody a new aggressive and controversial persona.
He kicks off the album with Sir Baudelaire, which introduces listeners to this new character – a sombre guitar melody mixed with heavy snares, energetic bass and a touch of jazz.
The rest of the album has features from Lil Wayne, Lil Uzi Vert, Pharrell, 42 Dugg, DJ Drama, Domo Genesis and more.
Call Me If You Get Lost is a solid conclusion to what could be seen as a trilogy of albums from the artist.
The project gives a view over the long journey that has seen Tyler, The Creator become one of the most controversial and talented rappers working today.
It gives us a deeper understanding of who he is and why he remains unapologetically himself.