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March 2021 album reviews

March 2021 album reviews
Album reviews

Serpentwithfeet: Deacon – a swoon in the Californian sun

Poppy, life-affirming ode to gay domestic bliss is a paean to black people ‘living their damn life anyhow’

Sarah Moule: Stormy Emotions – an unerring tribute to Fran Landesman

Moule captures every nuance of the late great lyricist’s words, beautifully set by Simon Wallace.

Tune-Yards: Sketchy review – agit-pop punk sweetened with deep grooves

Themes of climate disaster, gender dysphoria and fighting privilege bubble up through a discomfiting but enjoyable sonic deluge.

Charles Lloyd & the Marvels: Tone Poem review – heady ideas from a celebrated jazz elder

The third album in this partnership sees the tenor saxophonist deftly occupied in takes on Ornette Coleman, Leonard Cohen and the Beach Boys.

Mahler/Cooke: Symphony No 10 review – one of the finest recordings of a final masterpiece

Part of his cycle of works by Mahler, Vänskä’s stoic approach pays dividends in the composer’s unfinished work, with unswerving instrumental detail.

For Those I Love: For Those I Love review – an exorcism of grief on the dancefloor

A eulogy for a dead friend, David Balfe’s stirring debut combines lyrics on class, death and despair with clubland highs and hope.

John Dwyer et al: Endless Garbage review – one for completists

Chaos is the overriding vibe as the Osees maverick and his virtual cohort free-associate.

Loretta Lynn: Still Woman Enough review – a spirited victory lap

Fifty albums in, the country star and guests are in the mood to celebrate.

Justin Bieber: Justice review – tone-deaf pop posturing

Bieber hits a new low with this tone-deaf set of gushing love songs overlaid with the words of Martin Luther King Jr.

Lana Del Rey: Chemtrails Over the Country Club review – bold and beautiful

On her strikingly assured seventh album, Del Rey reflects on fame, love, loneliness and the solidarity of fellow female songwriters, from Joni Mitchell to Weyes Blood.

Joseph Szigeti: The Complete Columbia Album Collection review – a phenomenal violinist

Full of immediacy – and star turns – these remastered recordings make for a compelling time capsule.

Ainsley Hamill: Not Just Ship Land review – glossy Scottish torch songs of strong women

Possessed of a big and intriguing voice with a touch of wildness, Hamill has real crossover potential.

Czernowin: Heart Chamber review – distinctive composer’s opera on love is aurally sumptuous

Chaya Czernowin’s work has four singers portraying a couple and their inner worlds, but it’s her luminous orchestral writing that excites.

Tiggs Da Author: Blame It on the Youts review – a master of hooks takes centre stage

Tiggs’s mix of genres and African sounds driven by lush arrangements make for a thoroughly uplifting debut.

The Anchoress: The Art of Losing review – giving voice to her grief

The Welsh multi-instrumentalist navigates a small battalion of sorrows on this richly wrought second album.

Valerie June: The Moon and the Stars review – psychedelic Memphis soul

The Tennessee singer-songwriter’s bittersweet country soul with an astral bent fares best when it’s kept simple.

Ninebarrow: A Pocket Full of Acorns review – the Dorset duo say it with trees

A deep sense of place informs this lyrical fourth album, released in tandem with the planting of an entire woodland.

Witch Camp (Ghana): I’ve Forgotten Now Who I Used To Be review – magical sound of the marginalised

Sung in little-spoken Ghanaian dialects, these haunting, spontaneous songs by women accused of witchcraft are unlike anything you have ever heard.

Ligeti: The 18 Études review – profound understanding reveals music of dazzling originality

Driver’s recording of Ligeti’s virtuosity-testing Études is full of insight and exuberance.

Adrian Younge: The American Negro review – a profound undertaking

This impassioned dissection of modern America is a challenging work well worth every second.

Kings of Leon: When You See Yourself review – not much to look at

Drama and daring are swamped by wearying country rock on the Tennessee four-piece’s eighth outing.

Arab Strap: As Days Get Dark review – less callow, more crafted

The caustic duo forge existential stories from tinny beats on their first album in 16 years.

Tommy Flanagan: In His Own Sweet Time review – a masterly touch

He played for everyone from Ella Fitzgerald to John Coltrane, but solo the pianist is a truly captivating force.

Digga D: Made in the Pyrex review – bravado, paranoia and laughs from exiled drill star

A legal gag may have censored the lyrics but this ambitious UK rapper’s second mixtape proves talent can’t be held back.

Jane Weaver: Flock review – triumphantly twisting pop music to her own ends

Having earned a cult audience for her psychedelia, Weaver makes her version of a pop record, where Kylie-level hooks are set against hallucinatory backings.

See more music reviews at Guardian Music

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