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Album Reviews – September 2021

Album Reviews – September 2021
Album reviews

Public Service Broadcasting: Bright Magic review – mood music, from Weimar to Bowie

by Phil Mongredien on 26th September 2021 at 2:00 pm (Play It Again Sam)Berlin is the inspiration for the band’s inventive if melancholy fourth album Continue reading…

The Specials: Protest Songs 1924-2012 review – genre-hopping calls to action

by Damien Morris on 26th September 2021 at 12:00 pm This selection of covers running the gamut from Bob Marley to Frank Zappa proves a satisfying stop gap for the perennial activists Continue reading…

Nao: And Then Life Was Beautiful review – soaring to new heights

by Kitty Empire on 26th September 2021 at 8:00 am (RCA)The Grammy-nominated Londoner takes things to the next level with this impeccably on point third album Continue reading…

Susana Baca: Palabras Urgentes review – a sumptuous celebration

by Neil Spencer on 25th September 2021 at 3:00 pm (Real World)In her 50th year in the business, the great Peruvian singer looks forward and back with equal aplomb Continue reading…

The Lathums: How Beautiful Life Can Be review – hearty 00s indie revivalism

by Rachel Aroesti on 24th September 2021 at 8:00 am Island RecordsThe Wigan outfit have risen fast by feeding the eternal appetite for jangly indie – but aren’t as lyrically sharp as their forebears Continue reading…

Maurice Louca: Saet El-Hazz review – transcendent beauty in an unholy racket

by John Lewis on 24th September 2021 at 7:30 am Sub Rosa/Northern Spy RecordsThe Egyptian musician teams up with an extraordinary Lebanese trio for a colourful tangle of sounds resembling a steampunk synth band Continue reading…

Schumann (Gerhaher Huber) Alle Lieder review – Schumann lovers will find it irresistible

by Andrew Clements on 23rd September 2021 at 4:22 pm Christian Gerhaher/Gerold Huber(Sony Classical, 11 CDs)Christian Gerhaher is front and centre of this impressive complete song project, to which he brings precision and attention to detail Continue reading…

Nao: And Then Life Was Beautiful review – joy and hope amid the pandemic

by Alexis Petridis on 23rd September 2021 at 10:30 am (Little Tokyo Recordings/Sony Music)Plenty of new albums are considering life with Covid, but few of them are as sensual and gorgeous as this Continue reading…

Lindsey Buckingham: Lindsey Buckingham review – the sunniest pop and its flipside

by Phil Mongredien on 19th September 2021 at 2:00 pm (Reprise)Exiled from Fleetwood Mac, the singer-guitarist’s sparkling latest album foreshadows his recent troubles Continue reading…

Tion Wayne: Green With Envy review – a bid for rap’s top table

by Kate Hutchinson on 19th September 2021 at 12:00 pm (Atlantic)The chart-topping MC tilts at the mainstream with mixed results Continue reading…

Lil Nas X: Montero review – a fearless cultural dial-shifter

by Kitty Empire on 19th September 2021 at 8:00 am (Columbia)The Old Town Road rapper grabs freely from pop, trap and rock on his full-length debut Continue reading…

Chick Corea Akoustic Band: Live review – a remarkable feat of virtuosity and rapport

by Dave Gelly on 18th September 2021 at 3:00 pm (Concord Jazz)The late jazz great’s trio are captured in all their unplugged brilliance in this live recording from 2018 Continue reading…

Quantic and Nidia Góngora: Almas Conectadas review – Colombian gold-panners go orchestral

by Ammar Kalia on 17th September 2021 at 8:00 am (Tru Thoughts)Pacific coast cantora Góngora’s nature-rooted compositions are given larger dimensions by British electronica producer Quantic Continue reading…

Employed to Serve: Conquering review – thrilling, gut-churning metal

by Harry Sword on 17th September 2021 at 7:30 am (Spinefarm)The brilliant Woking band get heavier than ever, causing motion sickness with their animalistic, groove-laden songs Continue reading…

Lil Nas X: Montero review – pop-rap at its proudest, biggest and best

by Alexis Petridis on 17th September 2021 at 5:30 am (Columbia Records)This blockbuster debut album matches its eclecticism and broad emotional range with high-quality hooks throughout – and all with the rapper’s sexuality front and centre Continue reading…

Il Vologeso review | Erica Jeal’s classical album of the week

by Erica Jeal on 16th September 2021 at 5:31 pm The Mozartists/Page (Signum)Ian Page’s live recording is a lively introduction to the music of Niccolò Jommelli, who, like the Bee Gees two centuries later, had an ear for a striking harmony Continue reading…

Drake: Certified Lover Boy review – trawl through a conflicted psyche

by Michael Cragg on 12th September 2021 at 2:00 pm (Island)On his sprawling latest offering, the rapper manages a few strong moments amid the navel-gazing and posturing Continue reading…

Manic Street Preachers: The Ultra Vivid Lament review – magic, melancholy and a debt to Abba

by Phil Mongredien on 12th September 2021 at 12:00 pm (Columbia/Sony)The Manics channel Benny and Björn in an album of mostly sparkling songcraft Continue reading…

Park Hye Jin: Before I Die review – forthright to a fault

by Kitty Empire on 12th September 2021 at 8:00 am Bedroom-dreamy and in-your-face all at once, the young rapper-producer’s debut album is an unsettling affair Continue reading…

Spiers & Boden: Fallow Ground review – a walk on the bright side

by Neil Spencer on 11th September 2021 at 3:00 pm (Hudson)The ace duo confound with a folk album featuring not one song about death… Continue reading…

Chick Corea Akoustic Band: Live review – a remarkable feat of virtuosity and rapport

by Dave Gelly on 18th September 2021 at 3:00 pm (Concord Jazz)The late jazz great’s trio are captured in all their unplugged brilliance in this live recording from 2018 Continue reading…

Quantic and Nidia Góngora: Almas Conectadas review – Colombian gold-panners go orchestral

by Ammar Kalia on 17th September 2021 at 8:00 am (Tru Thoughts)Pacific coast cantora Góngora’s nature-rooted compositions are given larger dimensions by British electronica producer Quantic Continue reading…

Employed to Serve: Conquering review – thrilling, gut-churning metal

by Harry Sword on 17th September 2021 at 7:30 am (Spinefarm)The brilliant Woking band get heavier than ever, causing motion sickness with their animalistic, groove-laden songs Continue reading…

Lil Nas X: Montero review – pop-rap at its proudest, biggest and best

by Alexis Petridis on 17th September 2021 at 5:30 am (Columbia Records)This blockbuster debut album matches its eclecticism and broad emotional range with high-quality hooks throughout – and all with the rapper’s sexuality front and centre Continue reading…

Il Vologeso review | Erica Jeal’s classical album of the week

by Erica Jeal on 16th September 2021 at 5:31 pm The Mozartists/Page (Signum)Ian Page’s live recording is a lively introduction to the music of Niccolò Jommelli, who, like the Bee Gees two centuries later, had an ear for a striking harmony Continue reading…

Drake: Certified Lover Boy review – trawl through a conflicted psyche

by Michael Cragg on 12th September 2021 at 2:00 pm (Island)On his sprawling latest offering, the rapper manages a few strong moments amid the navel-gazing and posturing Continue reading…

Manic Street Preachers: The Ultra Vivid Lament review – magic, melancholy and a debt to Abba

by Phil Mongredien on 12th September 2021 at 12:00 pm (Columbia/Sony)The Manics channel Benny and Björn in an album of mostly sparkling songcraft Continue reading…

Park Hye Jin: Before I Die review – forthright to a fault

by Kitty Empire on 12th September 2021 at 8:00 am Bedroom-dreamy and in-your-face all at once, the young rapper-producer’s debut album is an unsettling affair Continue reading…

Spiers & Boden: Fallow Ground review – a walk on the bright side

by Neil Spencer on 11th September 2021 at 3:00 pm (Hudson)The ace duo confound with a folk album featuring not one song about death.

Classical home listening: Anna Lapwood, Jeremy Denk and the best of Edinburgh

by Fiona Maddocks on 11th September 2021 at 11:00 am The organ of Ely Cathedral is put through its paces in Lapwood’s solo debut; and a new Mozart recording from Denk is not to be missed.

Pat Metheny: Side-Eye NYC (V1.IV) | John Fordham’s jazz album of the month

by John Fordham on 10th September 2021 at 7:30 am (BMG Modern Recordings)Metheny’s new trio, with the formidable James Francies on piano and Marcus Gilmore on drums, provoke rapture in this live set Continue reading…

Kacey Musgraves: Star-Crossed review – a tragedy of wifely strife

by Laura Snapes on 10th September 2021 at 7:00 am (Interscope/Polydor/MCA Nashville)The bliss of Musgraves’ Grammy-winning Golden Hour sours on this follow-up, with a breakup narrative that is a little too tidy Continue reading…

On DSCH: Shostakovich and Stevenson/Igor Levit | Andrew Clements’s classical album of the week

by Andrew Clements on 9th September 2021 at 1:42 pm Igor Levit(Sony Classical, three CDs)Pairing Stevenson’s Passacaglia on DSCH with Shostakovich’s equally epic 24 Preludes is a unique combination of rarity and virtuosity Continue reading…

Low: Hey What review | Alexis Petridis’s album of the week

by Alexis Petridis on 9th September 2021 at 10:30 am (Sub Pop)The veteran group continue the scorched digital manipulations of 2018 masterpiece Double Negative, but their vocals are left pristine and beautiful Continue reading…

Roxanne de Bastion: You & Me, We Are the Same review – risk meets reward

by Damien Morris on 5th September 2021 at 2:00 pm (Nomad Songs)The rising singer-songwriter’s ambitious second outing fuses psych, new wave and pure vocals, with a little help from Bernard Butler.

Rudimental: Ground Control review – the energy of a thousand leavers’ balls

by Kate Hutchinson on 5th September 2021 at 12:00 pm (Major Toms/Asylum)The drum’n’bass foursome blast their way out of lockdown with a kinetic sound-system joyride Continue reading…

Little Simz: Sometimes I Might Be Introvert review – soul-baring brilliance

by Kitty Empire on 5th September 2021 at 8:00 am (Age 101)Wordsmith Simbiatu Ajikawo unleashes non-stop killer cuts on her extraordinary fourth album.

Harvey/O’Higgins Project: That’s the Way to Live! review – giving tradition a boost

by Dave Gelly on 4th September 2021 at 3:00 pm (Ubuntu)This respected quartet do their accomplished bit to keep the custom of mixing standards and originals alive.

Classical home listening: Schubert Symphonies 4 & 5; Zacara da Teramo

by Fiona Maddocks on 4th September 2021 at 11:00 am René Jacobs and the B’Rock Orchestra fizz in youthful Schubert. Plus, the complete works of a Renaissance eccentric Continue reading…

Drake: Certified Lover Boy review – drizzness as usual

by Alim Kheraj on 3rd September 2021 at 4:28 pm Has hip-hop’s most self-pitying superstar finally grown up? The answer delivered by another album of toasts, boasts and dubious love songs is clear: you bet he hasn’t.

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