Entertainment

Albums: New music from Lorde, The Killers, Martha Wainwright and Jim Bob

Lorde – Solar Power
Lorde – Solar Power Lorde – Solar Power

SOLAR POWER – LORDE

IN JUNE this year Lorde surprised fans with the release of the single Solar Power, which she also revealed was to be the name of her new album.

The single, co-written by Lorde and Jack Antonoff, went on to garner 30 million streams in its first five days – a sign of good things to come.

Following on from 2013's Pure Heroine and 2017's Melodrama, Solar Power is an absolute trove of one hit after another. From the easy opener of The Path and throughout, it's clear Lorde meant to come back with music to make people sit up and listen. Watch this space for a Dominoes and Mood Ring singles chart takeover.

This 12-track album feels like it's got more subdued melancholia running through it, which makes for a thought-provoking listen.

Lorde does things in style and this album is no different.

Rating: 4/5


Kathy Iffly

Jim Bob - Who Do We Hate Today
Jim Bob - Who Do We Hate Today Jim Bob - Who Do We Hate Today

Jim Bob – Who Do We Hate Today

BUILDING on the momentum of Jim Bob's excellent chart-invading 2020 album Pop-Up Jim Bob, Who Do We Hate Today finds him addressing the anxieties of our social media-obsessed, toxic masculinity-smeared and Covid paranoia-riddled age.

Combining the former Carter USM leader's trademark lyrical wit, bite and heart with a pleasing synth-flecked, garage rock sensibility courtesy of backing band The Hoodrats, it demands repeated front-to-back listens.

You'll chuckle at empathetic slice-of-life strummers Shona Is Dating a Drunk Neanderthal Man ("he's trash and belongs in the bin") and Karen is Thinking of Changing Her Name ("all Karen's aren't the same"), get misty over zoological ballad The Loneliest Elephant In The World, clap for carers to the stomping Song For The Unsung and do the Wuhan shake to The Summer of No Touching's grooving guitar pop. 

Who do we hate today? Anyone not playing these songs on the radio, for starters.

Rating: 4/5


David Roy

THE KILLERS – PRESSURE MACHINE

AFTER last year's tour for their album Imploding The Mirage was cancelled, The Killers – known for their anthemic chart-topping hits – set to work on an uncharacteristically brooding and introspective collection of tracks.

The band's frontman, Brandon Flowers, has said their new release is "full of songs that would have otherwise been too quiet and drowned out by the noise of typical Killers records".

Pressure Machine, their second album in a year, returns to Flowers' roots and aims to paint a picture of the hardships of life in Nephi, Utah, the small town where he grew up.

The change of pace suits The Killers. The new album shows a different side to the group as the usual driving guitar riffs have been replaced by gentle melodies from harmonicas and violins, but the band's gift for writing hits still shines through.

Rating: 3/5


Tom Horton

MARTHA WAINWRIGHT – LOVE WILL BE REBORN

FOLK singer Martha Wainwright makes a heartfelt return after five years with Love Will Be Reborn, on which the American-Canadian artist oscillates between wispy vocals and powerful belting tones.

The album's title track and first single balances poignant, reflective lyrics which hint at heartache with a sense of optimism for the future with a joyful beat. Wainwright revealed the song was written during a very dark time for her personally, and said: "I wrote the song in its entirety within 10 or 15 minutes. I was bawling."

Later she shows off her vocal range with stripped-back tracks Report Card and Body And Soul. Her Quebec roots shine through in the final track, Falaise de Malaise, where she sings in Franglais (a mix of English and French), which the artist noted was a first for her.

This addition adds a memorable moment to the album which otherwise rings a little repetitive, but undoubtedly folk fans will welcome her revival.

Rating: 3/5


Naomi Clarke