Twelve fresh songs arrive from Brit singer-songwriter on this set, with production by Steve Robson and songs penned by Blunt himself. People tend to be polarized regarding Blunts music, mostly due to the inescapable presence of his biggest hit, Youre Beautiful; but its not fair to hold that against him when he does have such skill at crafting indie-pop ballads. The jangling guitars of Stay the Night open the set, which movies right into the peppy (for Blunt) Dangerous and Ill Be Your Man. And those ballads are certainly present - the highlights being No Tears, Best Laid Plans, and the Americana-tinged If Time Is All We Have.
Old 97s - The Grand Theater Vol. 2 -
Rhett Miller and crews ninth studio set follows up The Grand Theater Vol. 2, which was released about a year ago; the new set, featuring over a dozen songs, further explores the thread set down on the first volume of tunes. The 97s trademark folk/punk/pop mix is still in well-produced evidence here, from the rocking Im a Trainwreck and the humor-laden White Port (with its pirate-accent references) to the equally peppy (but more poppy) The Actor and Perfume. There arent really any mellow moments here - the album pretty much keeps the energy level at at least 6 - but its a solid set that should translate well live.
Kaiser Chiefs - Future is Medieval - Universal
What should a successful Britpop act do after selling millions of albums and spending much of the past three years on tour? Why, get back at it in the studio, of course - namely their own studio that the Chiefs built in the basement of their London management office. Snagging Owen Morris and Tony Visconti to help them with production duties, the band has crafted another uber-catchy set that opens with the now-classic Kaiser Chiefs sound on Little Shocks and continues onward through the rhythm-anchored Things Change, the piano-dusted Starts with Nothing, and single-in-the-making Coming Up for Air.
Incubus - If Not Now, When? - Epic
It must be something about the Bs; Incubus frontman Brandon Boyd and producer Brendan OBrien have teamed up to craft Incubus sixth studio album, and its another solid, if somewhat surprising tempo-wise, set that showcases the bands tuneful capabilities and ways around an alternative-rock hook. Although its less complex than previous efforts as far as showing off the bandmates instrumental skills, this band love letter to the world, as the band puts it, is more mid-tempo than ever before, leaving more room for Boyds emotional vocals on tracks like the affirming Isadore and Tomorrows Food.