Albums: New music from Duran Duran, Biffy Clyro, Self Esteem and My Morning Jacket

Duran Duran – Future Past


AS ITS name suggests, Future Past sees Simon Le Bon and co looking both forwards and back with collaborators including Italian disco pioneer Giorgio Moroder, DJ Erol Alkan, Blur guitarist Graham Coxon, 23-year-old rapper Ivorian Doll, Mark Ronson and Bowie's go-to keyboardist Mike Garson.

The band are in fine fettle, toeing the line between their pop leanings and darker, more experimental instincts. Many of the tracks on Future Past deftly manage to capture both.

Give It All Up, which features Swedish singer Tove Lo, is a dark fantasy with a killer chorus, while the title track is a nostalgic anthem that conjures up images of pastoral England and distant decades.

This is Duran Duran's 15th album, but it also marks their 40th anniversary as a band.

Of their late career purple patch, it is perhaps their highest point.

Alex Green


HOT on the heels of the blistering A Celebration Of Endings comes another release from the Scottish trio intended as a counterpart to its predecessor.

Aside from the likes of understated opener DumDum and the skewed pop of Separate Missions, the album finds Biffy hitting hard and heavy and reflecting angrily on "the f***ing state we're in", as Simon Neil bluntly puts it on A Hunger In Your Haunt.

Recorded rapidly in their rehearsal room, it shows no loss of scale or power with Denier and Errors In The History Of God pushing the epic end of the scale while bizarre closer Slurpy Slurpy Sleep Sleep and the standout Unknown Male 01 top six minutes.

The latter deals with the mental health problems that affect so many in the creative industries, with a lyrically devastating opening two minutes – "The devil never leaves" – giving way to crushing riffs and Neil's plaintive roar.

Tom White


SELF Esteem's multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter Rebecca Taylor could have been forgiven for being slightly taken aback by the universal success of I Do This All The Time.

The first single from her second full-length studio album as a solo artist became something of a balm for those exhausted with misogyny, gaslighting and oppression, and earned Taylor the sort of radio airtime her previous offerings, unfairly, had not.

It would be similarly unjust to pigeonhole Prioritise Pleasure – a triumphant, riotous, pensive, despairing, celebratory record – as simply a response to the #MeToo movement.

Indeed, students of Taylor's career to date will be familiar with her unique sound, fusing varied musical styles with honest, witty, and, at times, deeply personal lyrics.

The truth is Taylor has been doing this from the riverbank of pop's mainstream for years. It's just that now, finally, people are truly listening.

An excellent and worthy follow-up to maiden record Compliments Please. Long may she reign.

Ryan Hooper


NOW on their ninth album, My Morning Jacket from Louisville, Kentucky, have moved a long way from their early days of sounding like Lynyrd Skynyrd fronted by Neil Young.

Though opener Regularly Scheduled Programming sounds as though it could have been recorded by Young's 1960s' cult heroes Buffalo Springfield with extra electronics, much of rest of the album is very different.

Love Love Love features a squealing guitar solo, but is heavy on the beats, with the vocals showing an 80s influence, while the lengthy In Color starts with gentle acoustic guitar and gradually builds into something epic.

The longest track, the nine-minute plus The Devil's In The Details, is the album's centrepiece, a rueful reflection on being an American adolescent growing up at the mall.

Complex has the heaviest sound, and while Lucky To Be Alive veers too close to novelty, My Morning Jacket are able to draw upon their classic rock influences while always sounding like themselves.

Matthew George

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