September 22, 2020

Niall Horan – Flicker – Capitol

By Kristi Kates | Nov. 11, 2017

Anyone who’s heard Horan’s acoustic cover of Julia Michaels’ “Issues” knows that he’s more than just an ex-boy bander. From One Direction to his solo career, his distinctively understated voice is best heard on more pensive numbers like the bittersweet “This Town” and the quixotic title track. But he’s showing his potential to stretch, as well, on tunes like the uber-danceable “On the Loose,” with its carbonated bass line and the faintly eccentric  “Paper Houses.” A solid solo debut. ***

David Archuleta – Postcards in the Sky – Archie Music
Archuleta headed into the studio to work on Postcards after two years spent doing volunteer missionary work in South America, and the experiences he gained there shows through on this set. The music itself is anchored in heartfelt pop, but there are dashes of both country (“Say Me”) and synth (“Up All Night” and the title track) in varying measures, and the album digs deep into inspirational lyrical explorations — namely, believing in yourself and seeking a higher purpose in life. ***

Jets to Brazil – Orange Rhyming Dictionary – Epitaph
Indie rock fans will dig this project that brings together Jeremy Chatelain (formerly of Handsome), Chris Daly (Texas is the Reason), and Blake Schwarzenbach (Jawbreaker) to form this eclectic and ambitious punk-pop outfit, for which this reissue is a decent enough introduction. The lyrics are introspective if faintly dark, as the band prettifies its subject matter on tracks like “Hate Thyself,” “Peace Love and Empathy,” and “I Typed for Miles” with memorable, often haunting melodies. ** ½

Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga – Merge Records
Nope, it’s not a paean to the Lady herself, but a worthy reissue celebrating the original album’s 10th anniversary. Spoon fans will be thrilled to see that this special edition features the studio set on one disc, and the band’s rare Get Nice! EP on another; the artwork’s been updated for this release as well. Best of all are those tunes, among them “The Underdog,” “Don’t You Evah,” “1975,” and “I Summon You (Cool),” some of Spoon’s most renowned tracks to date. ***



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