Albums: Little Simz follows Mercury Prize win with righteous fifth record, No Thank You

There are also new releases from Sam Fender and Carl Cox...

Little Simz album No Thank You
Little Simz album No Thank You


NO THANK YOU, the fifth album by Little Simz, dropped on a Monday in December. In the major label business, where the focus is on sales, this is taboo.

But the rapper, singer and freshly minted Mercury Prize winner isn’t known for following the crowd.

No Thank You is the closest the 28-year-old north Londoner has come to a concept album thus far in her career, a fearsome collection of rebukes to music industry suits, racism and the factors that conspire to degrade mental health.

On No Merci (a track title with a pleasing double meaning) she skewers those who have profited off her career so far, rapping: “There’s hidden agendas here we should unpack.”

On Broken she turns reflective and righteous, asking: “Why is mental health a taboo in the black community?”

Musically, this is her most cohesive record yet with regular collaborator Inflo’s beats sounding tailor made in a way they did not always on her last record, Sometimes I Might Be Introvert.

No Thank You is quite unlike any of Little Simz’s previous albums, sweeping in scope but cohesive in form, and suggestive of a new chapter free from external pressures and creative constraint.



SAM FENDER goes to new heights with this live album, a document of his sold-out show to 45,000 fans in London over the summer.

The rocker performs 16 tracks drawn mostly from his two albums Seventeen Going Under and Hypersonic Missiles.

His tenor voice excels here, as he delivers a belting vocal performance that’s second to none.

The track Saturday stands out as Fender effortlessly transitions to his falsetto and the guitar riffs build to a brilliant crescendo putting the crowd into a frenzy.

We see the same glorious harmony between Fender and his band in Howdon Aldi Death Queue, Mantra, Getting Started and Will We Talk.

Live From Finsbury Park is difficult to fault.



THE first album in 10 years from Carl Cox, the Godfather of UK dance music, is certainly an exciting prospect.

The Sussex-based 60-year-old, an enduringly jovial character known for his bear hugs and willingness to help raise up new talent, has released an incalculable number of singles and mixes since his rise to fame in the 1980s.

A relative rarity, Cox has managed to become an internationally recognised DJ both inside and outside of clubbing circles, all without embracing pop vocalists and commercial sounds.

Electronic Generations continues this philosophy.

It’s a sleek collection of dance floor weapons ranging from the glossy and propulsive acid techno of How It Makes You Feel to the funky breakbeat of Our Time Will Come.

The pace is fast and the beats unrelenting, although Cox tempers them with stabs of melody and distorted synths.



THE re-release of Bristol-based Idles’ first album is an opportunity to view the foundations they laid on their way to becoming one of the most important British bands of the 21st century.

Anger reigns supreme throughout the heavy-sounding record, which tackles a variety of themes, from mental health to women’s rights.

Political fury rages on Mother, while depression is confronted through 1049 Gotho and the mundanity of modern life is addressed on Exeter.

Despite the dark undertones, the band never shy away from humour, as evidenced in songs such as Stendhal Syndrome and Well Done.

Singer Joe Talbot’s honesty radiates across the record, but he proves at his self-deprecating best on the sentimental closer Slow Savage.

The digital version further benefits from a live recording of the album in full from the BBC Introducing Stage at Glastonbury, which shows the band at their brutal best.

Although originally released only five years ago, Brutalism is one of the great debut albums of the last decade, and well befitting a re-release.