Albums: New music from Circa Waves, Gaz Coombes and Margo Price, plus a re-issued classic from Fela Kuti
FELA KUTI – SHAKARA (50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION)
NIGERIAN Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti's 1972 album Shakara uses each side of the vinyl LP – newly re-issued by Partisan to mark its 50th birthday – to capture an immersive 13-minute performance.
Side A, Lady, is smooth and funky, a musical delight with singing trumpets and sultry sax layered over percussive guitar.
The second side title track sees Kuti criticise loudmouths and boasters in Yoruba.
Electric piano, guitars and brass take the forefront in a call-and-response form, and every listen gives you something new.
The Shakara remix leans into the electronic elements of the original, adding new drums, keys and guitar effects to complement the brass top layers, paying homage to one of the most influential Afrobeat albums.
This reissue also features a reimagining of the album by British jazz quintet Ezra Collective on a 7 inch.
CIRCA WAVES – NEVER GOING UNDER
LIVERPUDLIAN four-piece Circa Waves open their fifth album with its title track, a swaggering tour-de-force of guitar-laden rock which broadens the horizons of their indie palette.
Euphoric anthems Hell On Earth and Your Ghost seem destined to be belted back by fans on their upcoming tour, while singles Do You Wanna Talk and Carry You Home revisit their winning combination of feel-good dance numbers with heartfelt lyricism.
The worry, realised about the halfway mark, is that the eclecticism teased by their opening track has retreated into the realms of the comfortable.
Thankfully however, it is short-lived.
The deeply personal Northern Town and gloriously offbeat Want It All Today offer glimmers of the band's trademark probing of the boundaries of indie pop, but it is frontman Kieran Shudall's devastating lyricism and soaring backdrop of closing track Living in the Grey that feels like the catharsis they have been searching for.
GAZ COOMBES – TURN THE CAR AROUND
THE uplifting fourth solo album from Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes captures the highs and lows of modern life.
The atmospheric, piano-heavy opener Overnight Trains is full of wistful hope, a feeling that emanates throughout the record.
The art-rock groove of Don't Say It's Over demonstrates Coombes' talent for lyrical ambiguity, while
Long Live The Strange has the ability to bring people together.
Things take a turn for the spiritual on the acoustic folk song Not The Only Things, while the album's themes are concluded on sweeping closer Dance On.
Coombes' feeling of contentment with life ultimately shines through on his finest solo effort yet.
Turn The Car Around addresses the twists and turns of day-to-day life, while offering a reminder to take a step back and enjoy time with those close to you.
MARGO PRICE – STRAYS
SINGER-songwriter Margo Price is stomping through the American wild west with her latest LP.
She pushes aside notions of what is, and what is not, country music as she mixes rock, pop, rhythm and blues plus a little punk energy to give us what we did not know we needed.
On opening track Been To The Mountain, Price says she has "nothing to prove", which is also clear from her amazing lyrical ability and great guitar riffs.
The song also features vivid images of her as a "lover, queen and a drifter/a cowboy devil, a bride in a box/and a pilgrim and a thief".
Her single Change Of Heart similarly takes no prisoners as she tells an ex-lover, or anyone stupid enough to cross this woman, "If you break both your legs, don't come runnin' to me".
Throughout the album, it is clear Price is on a reflective journey as she faces loss, lies, failure and substance abuse.