January 23, 2020

Ben Frost –Fortitude – Mute

FourScore
By Kristi Kates | Feb. 17, 2018

The Australian composer based in (appropriately) Iceland was the perfect choice for the soundtrack to the British psychological thriller television series. His chilly synths and electronic experiments set up a virtual wall behind the storylines of the show; and on its own, the album brings elements of the show in via repetitive and familiar themes and dialogue snippets. Standouts include “Mammoth Suite,” “Bear Alarm,” and a haunting cover of Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love.” ***

The Script – Freedom Child – Sony Music
The Dublin trio returns with a blend of their usual Irish pop newly infused with electronica, EDM, hip-hop, and rock elements for a collection that’s definitely different but occasionally missteps. “No Man is an Island” appropriates reggae in a mildly disjointed way, while “Rock the World” underwhelms, given its title. On the positive side, “Arms Open” is more of the reassuring vibe that the band are mostly known for, and “Rain” is a standout with its multiple metaphors and a beat that contrasts nicely with its melancholy subject matter. ** ½

Phillip Phillips – Collateral – Interscope
Teaming up with a shortlist of producers including Nathan Chapman (Taylor Swift), Dave Cobb (Sturgill Simpson) and Ryan Hadlock (Ra Ra Riot), Phillips, the 2012 Idol winner-turned-genuine-pop-folk talent, drives into this set in direct fashion, alternating earnest ballads (“Part of My Plan”) with more soul-inflected grooves (“Magnetic”). Phillips occasionally steps out into his funkier side (“Don’t Tell Me”), but it doesn’t always stick, and at times seems faintly strained; he’s better sticking to his root sound. **

Glen Hansard – Between Two Shores – Anti/Epitaph
Mosiac’d together in a relative flash in France’s Black Box Studios from old home demos, experimental ideas, and tracks left over from past recording sessions, Hansard’s latest might seem a bit haphazard on the surface but the threads of his voice and melancholy approach carry through to add cohesion throughout the album. He’s straightforward on tunes like “Setting Forth” and “Movin’ On,” upon which he makes it clear he’s quite done with you; on other tracks, he waxes more poetic (“Wheels on Fire,” “Time Will be the Healer.”) ***

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