Weyes Blood – Front Row Seat To Earth
Natalie Mering leaves the door to her soul wide open in a tentative chamber-pop record that’s decorated in a flourish of grand brass and antique folk intricacy.
At points, Front Row Seat To Earth plunges into ambiguity through complex and, often obscured instrumentation, only to coil back in a gust of flowing ballad-like chorale. The latter stages of Do You Need My Love epitomise this. Chaotic phrases of tangled strings and haphazard piano build towards harmonies that border on angelic.
Undoubtedly, what drives this album is an accomplished vocal performance. Mering balances dominance with vulnerability whilst swinging neatly from note to note in effortless fashion.
Kate Tempest – Let Them Eat Chaos
Let Them Eat Chaos is a hybrid of hip-hop, spoken word and fluent bars that, really, are poetry in their own right. They’re brought to life through gravelly beats that concrete the stark reality in the words that Tempest sprays with ease.
An unkindly critique of contemporary society isn’t the most palatable of topics for a passive listen, especially when brutally honest. However, Tempest thrives in demanding every letter of every word the attention it deserves.
Scepticism, wittiness and sheer bravado all mingle to mimic the truth. Few too many people will find this passage in Europe Is Lost familiar: “Bulls**t saccharine ballads/And selfies/And selfies/And selfies/And here’s me outside the palace of ME!”
D.D Dumbo – Utopia Defeated
Oddball instrumentation gallivanting into spectral art-pop melodies make Utopia Defeated an inevitably testing listen that, with diligence, becomes ultimately rewarding.
There’s an abundance of interesting songwriting themes to explore here but, for me, the most fascinating thing about this album is its constant reinvention of itself. Each track projects new soundscapes and, in turn, evokes new emotions.
Satan is a euphoric highlight. Glancing keys and slewing guitar work ride the rhythmic wave of the snare to perfection. Structurally, it’s undeniably tinged with an essence of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, diverting sonically in the form of what is seemingly an eccentric symmetry between pan pipes and atmospheric Asian chimes.