Albums: New music from Frank Carter, Sam Fender and Joy Crookes, plus a classic from The Beatles...

Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes – Sticky


IT'S astounding that Frank Carter is still only a cult concern. After stints in hardcore punks Gallows and alternative rockers Pure Love, the frontman has settled into a fruitful creative partnership with guitarist Dean Richardson which has already spanned three albums and over six years of raucous live shows.

Despite being produced during lockdown, the band say Sticky is the antithesis of a lockdown record. Featuring guest slots from the likes of Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie and Idles frontman Joe Talbot, it channels the pent-up energy, anger and bubbling frustration felt by all of us over the last 18 months – often in the most garish, cartoonish way.

Go Get A Tattoo is a far cry from the deadly serious social commentary of Carter's time in Gallows, Bang Bang and Take It To The Brink have a thuggish swagger, while My Town reaches anthemic heights by portraying Britain at its worst – full of violence, dirty needles and dog poo.

Alex Green


THE 27-year-old from North Shields outdoes himself on his second album, rising above the only intermittent brilliance of his 2019 debut Hypersonic Missiles and casting off the weight of being named the Brit Awards rising star.

Fender has been hailed as the second coming of Bruce Springsteen and Seventeen Going Under does nothing to dispel this idea.

From the opening track, drums clatter at marching pace, a saxophone squeals and Fender alternates between soaring choruses and searing social commentary – all hallmarks of The Boss but executed with a unique swagger.

His songs touch on issues rarely addressed in mainstream rock: how working class people are the big losers in the culture war, the pressures of young manhood and the callousness of the state.

His mixture of remorse, anger and world-weariness is a potent one and when he sings "I see my mother / The DWP see a number" on the title track, it's clear this is an intimate pain.

Alex Green


SOUL singer Joy Crookes has been capturing hearts for the last few years with her unique tone and was nominated for BBC Music's Sound Of 2020 and the Brit Awards rising star award.

Her debut album Skin is a 13-piece experience that treats listeners to brass bands, an 18-strong string section, soothing lyrics and the 23-year-old's rich vocals.

The south Londoner, who is of mixed Irish and Bangladeshi heritage, has said the album is about her identity.

"It is an autobiographical body of work covering subjects from casual sex to generational trauma, abuse of power and mental health."

Trouble offers a joyful beat layered with smooth, rhythmic lyrics, while later songs, such as To Lose Someone and Unlearn You, deliver moments of reflection with gentle piano chords and luring violin strings.

The title track creates a cinematic experience with powerful vocals and a building orchestral accompaniment, leaving you wondering if she could take on a Bond theme one day.

Naomi Clarke


OFTEN referred to as The Beatles' break-up album, Let It Be will always be a source of fascination for fans.

This special re-release of the 1970 record features 27 previously unreleased session recordings and a four-track Let It Be EP, and has been freshly mixed by producer Giles Martin, son of 'fifth Beatle' George Martin, and sound engineer Sam Okell.

As with the original release, this new album is also accompanied by a documentary, this time titled The Beatles: Get Back and crafted by Peter Jackson. Paul McCartney has said the film serves as a "powerful reminder" of the "wonderful times" the band had together at the time of the album's release, a stark contrast to the traditional narrative of conflict and strife among the group.

The remastered and unreleased recordings show the songs in a fresh light and breathe new life into one of the most significant albums of the 20th century.

Tom Horton

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