Peter Perrett – Humanworld
Having made a glorious return after a very long absence with How The West Was Won in 2017, this second solo album is even better. There's something unique and rather moving about The Only Ones frontman and his history. Responsible for one of the greatest ever pop songs – Another Girl, Another Planet – and now 40 years on, playing with his two sons Peter Jr (bass) and Jamie (guitar), who had previously been in Babyshambles with Pete Docherty, it seems an unlikely renaissance after he his wife and former Only Ones manager Zena (they were sweethearts since 16) could easily have not survived after decades of heavy drug addiction. Yet these 12 tracks are all great examples of how to do catchy, concise, powerful, emotional, storytelling pop-rock, from Walking In Berlin's fabulous strolling riff, to the power of Master of Destruction to the soft beauty of Heavenly Day, and the raw honesty of Once Is Enough. Threading through it all is Perrett's distinctively nasal, but tender voice, one that expresses a wealth of raw and tender experience with redemption and hope. Long may it continue. Out on Domino.
Peter Perrett – Once Is Enough
The Divine Comedy – Office Politics
After 2016's Foreverland, and a triumphant greatest hits tour in which the charming Neil Hannon dressed as Napoleon, the catchy pop and clever humour continues with 16 songs centring about office life and "infernal machines", the music infused with synthesisers alongside regular instruments. Again this is full of mischief, fun, and ridiculously catchy pop. The songs focus on everything from ignoring traffic lights and general oneupmanship and competitiveness (Queuejumper), wistful, repressed, tragic love (Norma and Norman), bitchy-talking electronica (Office Politics), atmospheric jazzy lounge (You'll Never Work In This Town Again), forensic robotic oddity (Psychological Evaluation) to funky social annoyance (Life And Soul Of The Party), all of which captures the absurdity of modern life and workplace. Out on Divine Comedy Records.
The Divine Comedy – Queuejumper
Vanishing Twin – The Age of Immunology
This eccentric synth-folk-pop album from the London and Margate four-piece fronted by Cathy Lucas is filled with bouncy squibbles and boings as well as beautiful smoothness and quirky retro sounds. From the lounge jazz with bird chirps and an exotic drumbeats of the opener KRK (At Home In Strange Places) to the more anxious Cryonic Suspension May Save Your Life, this is lovely, otherworldly work. Out on Fire Records.
Vanishing Twin – Magician's Success
Wovoka Gentle – Start Clanging Cymbals
After a series of singles experimental three-piece from London, comprised of William J Stokes and twins Imogen and Ellie Mason, release their debut LP, a colourful, rich palette of psychedelic soundscapes that echo the late 60s, particularly The Velvet Underground, as well more contemporary experimental pop and sampled collage; here there's layered guitar playing added to a variety of analogue synthesis. Key tracks include 1,000 Opera Singers Working in Starbucks, Peculiar Form of Sleep, Sin is Crouching At Your Door and Tell'em Makoto. From the slow. rich and layered to the clever, quirky and perky, this is a refreshingly excellent release. Out on NUDE.
Wovoka Gentle – Sin Is Crouching At Your Door
Mattiel – Satis Factory
Her debut album only came out last July, and already, while still continuing her other job as a designer for MailChimp, the Atlanta singer has managed to release this follow-up to any even higher level of strong, catchy garage rock pop, packed with witty lyrics and bright energy, spearheaded by that soaring, powerful voice. Out on Heavenly and ATO.
Mattiel – Keep The Change
Aurora – A Different Kind of Human: Step II
The Norwegian singer Aurora Aksnes has a high-energy, breathy style of pop that slips between the anodyne and ethereal, and this second album is a mixture of both. Still only 22, she has still spent several years knocking on the door, having also sung on TV ads and on three tracks on the latest Chemical Brothers album. But this is not really lightweight candyfloss pop, as her topics include ecological disaster (The Seed), male suicide rates (The River) and outmoded gender roles (Daydreamer) with a style stretched between bouncy more beautiful, with influencers from Florence Welch to Fever Ray Massive Attack to Bjork and Kate Bush, with a propensity for complex vocal overdubs. Out on Decca.
Aurora – The River
Pixx – Small Mercies
The 23-year-old solo artist Hannah Rodgers, from Chipstead, south London, returns with her second album after 2017's The Age of Anxiety, with an absorbing and at times brilliant series of songs, examinations of love across the experiential spectrum, from micro self-love to the macro type – more devotional faith-inspired love, and for the planet, across a range of electronic pop and grungy guitar rock. Her voice has a depth with something of Siouxsie Sioux about it. Out on 4AD.
Pixx – Disgrace
Jake Xerxes Fussell – Out of Sight
Gentle and rather beautiful folk-country songs decorate this third album by the North Carolina singer who collects and performs old classics and obscurities. The difference this time is a bigger sound with band comprising pedal steel, violin and organ, making for a laid-back, sunny porch-swing feel, giving new life and perspective to songs such as Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues, previously performed by Pete Seeger, or Jubilee or Drinking Of The Wine. Perhaps most lovely is the fishmonger’s cry that sounds like an astral lament on The River St. Johns. Out on Paradise of Bachelors.
Jake Xerxes Fussell - The River St. Johns
Plaid – Polymer
Now the tenth studio album by the cult electronic duo of Ed Handley and Andy Turner who have been ploughing their own furrow since the early 1990s, now with what might be their most accessible to date, from bright pop-ish tunes to wobbly, woozy electro-psych to banging, complex dance beats, they remain a credit to the Warp label and contemporaries such as Aphex Twin. Out on Warp.
Plaid – Maru
Younghusband – Swimmers
A fresher sound since their last, 2015's Dissolver,perhaps comes from band's move to their own studio in Greenwich, built by singer and songwriter Euan Hinshelwood in an old barn. This is bright, indie-pop, with a heavy dash of Teenage Fanclub. Out on Opposite Number.
Younghusband – Modern Lie
This week's selection is by The Landlord.
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