Arts

Albums: new music from Harry Styles, Liam Gallagher, Dehd and Boo Hewerdine

Harry Styles – Harry's House

HARRY STYLES – HARRY'S HOUSE

THE former One Direction heart-throb's third studio album is a self-consciously mature record, eschewing the epic melancholia of 2019's Fine Line in favour of something more restrained.

Late Night Talking is the Golden of this record, with an addictive hook, laid back bass and choir of Harry-on-Harry backing vocals. Elsewhere, whisperings of Falling-era Harry mix with brighter and lighter production and sunny pop melodies.

Styles finds depth in pairing conflicted and gloomy lyrics, like those of lead single As It Was, with upbeat and optimistic melodies. Other record highlights include the cynical/sexy Daylight and the imaginative Little Freak, which digs deep into his lust and fear. A 70s disco vibe is also introduced on tracks like Cinema to great effect.

Harry's House may lack the romance and drama of Fine Line but it offers listeners sophistication and a deeper look at the man himself.

Rating: 4/5

LIAM GALLAGHER – C'MON YOU KNOW

BETTER DAYS is no doubt set to be one of this summer's indie anthems, and if you're wondering where you've heard the drum beat before, then have a listen to Let Forever Be by The Chemical Brothers (featuring, cough, cough, his brother Noel).

Diamond In The Dark sounds very heavily influenced by Arctic Monkeys' Do I Wanna Know?, and alongside the Beatles-esque Oh Sweet Children, it's clear Liam is sticking to his roots.

However, there are three tracks on the album that are brilliant and unique in their own right.

Too Good For Giving Up is an instant classic and one that will no doubt be played at many wedding venues, and alongside World's In Need and the Dave Grohl-penned Everything's Electric – which is one of the songs of the year so far – they help make up an album worthy of a listen and an improvement on his previous two.

Rating: 3/5

DEHD – BLUE SKIES

CHICAGO three-piece Dehd found a winning formula on their last album, 2020's glossy Flower Of Devotion.

Their latest effort, Blue Skies, refines that sound – doubling down on its catchy choruses, earnest lyrics and brighter, more polished production.

Despite the band's slacker vibe, these songs are neat little packages: concise and to the point.

The interplay between vocalists Emily Kempf and Jason Balla is by this point so instinctual that at times they sounds like the same voice moving as one.

Their guttural howls and high-pitched yelps (such as on the single Bad Love) delight as much as their more stirring, tuneful moment (Memories).

Dehd are not one for indulging in cynicism and these songs are full of the heart-on-sleeve emotion that has characterised past albums.

Added to their potent combination of punk and surf rock, it's a recipe for success.

Rating: 4/5

BOO HEWERDINE – UNDERSTUDY

UNDERSTUDY, Boo Hewerdine's latest full-length effort, is a portrait of the singer/songwriter/producer at his most vulnerable.

Its 12 songs are dedicated to his late father David, whom he was unable see in his care home during lockdown, but spoke to most days on the phone.

Hewerdine also turned 60 during the pandemic and discovered a love of home life, a shocking prospect for one more used to the nomadic lifestyle of the musician.

Unsurprisingly, Understudy is an intimate album but not a pessimistic one.

Men Without A War reflects on the complexity of modern masculinity over swelling strings and a deliberate, unhurried beat, while The Day I Fell In Love With The World is a bittersweet ode to opening your eyes to the things that have always been there, but were previously ignored.

There's no better songwriter to codify the confusing mix of emotions we have all felt in the past two years.

Rating: 3/5

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