September 19, 2020

Lord Huron – Vide Noir – Republic

By Kristi Kates | May 19, 2018

Taking its usual indie-folk sound and chucking in two healthy doses of grungy garage rock and ’70s cosmic-rock, Lord Huron’s latest is quite a departure for the group, although it’s tough to best the reputation for audio experimentation that it already has. The isolated feel of “Emerald Star” with its throwback sound and bleak choruses nicely contrasts the many-faceted “Moonbeam” and the more Vegas, showboat sounds of “The Balancer’s Eye.” All together, it’s quite an appealing potpourri. ***

Arctic MonkeysTranquility Base Hotel and Casino – Domino
Heavy on metaphorical allusions and Ziggy Stardust-esque imagery, the latest from AM is also more downtempo overall than previous efforts, the effect lending itself perfectly to the band’s oh-so-cosmic album theme. “Four Out of Five,” with its skulking bassline, is the most immediately impactful track; other standouts include the melodramatic “The World’s First Every Monster Truck Front Flip” and the faintly Far-Eastern inspired “Batphone.” *** ½

Frank TurnerBe More Kind – Xtra Mile/Polydor
Be More Kind is an apt title for this collection from former punker Turner, who became known for his sharp guitar work and energetic vocals. It’s not that his energy has waned, but he’s definitely funneled it into a different place on this set that’s less Sex Pistols and more Billy Bragg. The other change is that he pulls politics back into his musical fray after years of avoidance; but the topic suits him pretty well, especially with this calmer approach, on tracks like “Don’t Worry,” “There She Is,” and “Blackout.” ** ½

AlvvaysAntisocialites – Polyvinyl
Like some not-so-distant Canadian cousin of Belle and Sebastian, Alvvays is now on its second album of indie-pop — heavy on the guitars and festooned with frontwoman Molly Rankin’s slightly-this-side-of-wrong pitch and wistful phrasings. There’s not really a hit like “Marry Me Archie” here (the band’s first real breakthrough), but there are several interestingly direct slow burners that might appeal, among them “Not My Baby,” “Forget About Life,” and “Your Type.” ** ½







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