January 23, 2020

The Orb – No Sounds Are Out of Bounds – Cooking Vinyl

By Kristi Kates | July 14, 2018

The English ambient/EDM pair are back for album No. 15, and for this one seem to have decided to throw a collaborative party, considering that Roger Eno, Andy Cain, Youth, Jah Wobble, Roney FM, Guy Pratt, Gaudi, Brother Culture, and more (whew!) show up to throw vocals into the ring. Emma Gillespie kicks things off with the synth-’70s vibe of “The End of the End,” with Eno’s contributions to “Ununited States” surfacing right on the heels of “The End”; while standout “Soul Planet” features subtle vocals from Mary Pearce in a wraithlike soundscape. ** ½

Jupiter and OkwessKin Sonic – Zamora
A deft and enthusiastic blend of grungy rock and traditional Congolese music, this is an unexpected mix that doesn’t succeed only because of its uniqueness but also because the resulting music is impressively good. Scratchy guitars crank alongside the snap of hand drums; spoken word segments interrupt and improve (“Le Temps Passe”); “Musonsu” calls to mind Paul Simon’s bubbly Graceland album; and tunes like the high-spirited “Ofakombolo,” the horn-festooned “Pondjo Pondjo,” and the balletic poise of “Hello” will stick in your head for days. ***

Manic Street PreachersResistance is Futile – SD
Fusing rock and pop in equal measure, the latest from the Preachers — its 13th overall – is spiked throughout audio-wise at unexpected moments with a little sharpness from the band’s early days, most notably on such tracks as the dark “Sequels of Forgotten Wars.” But not all is pointed and doom-laden here; funnels of anticipation also work their way up through the set, from the tinkling guitars of “People Give In” to the spry, flourishing choruses of “Hold Me Like a Heaven.” ***

American AquariumThings Change – New West
With frontman BJ Barham back from his brief venture into a solo career, the new American Aquarium is back, having added some new members who then cranked through some recording studio sessions last December in Oklahoma. The result album is remarkably not as haphazard as this rush work might have you anticipate; instead, it’s thick with determination, from the muscular chorus of “The World is on Fire” to the earthy “Tough Folks,” and personal commentary on tracks like “When We Were Young Men.” ** ½



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