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REVIEW: Albums of November – Alicia Keys, A Tribe Called Quest & GUM

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GUM – Flash In The Pan

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Flash In The Pan is a boggy swamp of wobbly psychedelic electropop. Sounds disgusting, I know. These synths are unexplainable. They’re bulging, soggy and rich whilst maintaining an edge of transcendence.

Australian multi-instrumentalist, Jay Watson, revels in his Tame Impala ties through a sugary re-imagination of the sonic attributes that acquired such vast acclaim for their 2015 LP, Currents.

GUM displays a similar Impala-esque deployment of escalating melodies that burst into reverb-plunged chorus. However, the climactic build of some tracks are occasionally trounced well before reaching the apex of their impact. Rares, for example, is a truly immersive piece of music cut agonisingly short by a garish fade out.

Largely stunning. Though, Watson should pursue his songs further towards ecstasy.

7.5/10

Alicia Keys – HERE

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2016 represents a timely rupture between expectation and outcome from America’s alliance of adept popstresses. Beyoncé and Solange have already astounded critics with an empowered brand of glossy neo-soul. Alicia Keys’ inspired addition, HERE, joins that coveted list.

Keys brandishes an 18-track goliath layered with velvet funk undertones, spoken word interludes and homages to female hip-hop harbingers like Lauryn Hill.

Comparably to the compositions of Beyoncé and Solange earlier in the year, HERE embraces the album format in a pop climate where single is king. She Don’t Really Care_1 Luv ­exemplifies this. Elastic synths melt into jazzy piano’s in an effort to accentuate Keys’ newfound musical liberation.

Refreshing stylistic change. Keys would undoubtedly benefit from further experimentation.

 7/10

A Tribe Called Quest – We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service
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After an 18 year wait, the illustrious A Tribe Called Quest titivate their emblematic formula for hip-hop with fresh, luxurious instrumentation.

Too many moments encapsulate the pure poetry of this album. From a cosmic 4 rapper bar trade-off on Dis Generation to quirky Elton John samples on Solid Wall Of Sound. Listen, I’ll call it right now. This is the best rap album of the year.

The personal highlight has to be Consequences silky verse near the twilight of Whateva Will Be: “I just wanna feel as liberated as lions in Liberia/’Cause recently my heart turned cold as Siberia/’Cause everywhere I go, bein’ cold is the criteria.”

Flaming old school hip-hop dipped in contemporary production methods. R.I.P Phife Dawg.

 9/10

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Finnian Shardlow

Music Editor 2015-17

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