September 19, 2020

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Who Built the Moon? – Caroline International

By Kristi Kates | Dec. 16, 2017


While Gallagher is revered for his ability to craft a Beatles-esque sound without merely copying, he steps out with some impressive efforts to sharpen his craft even further by experimenting with scrapbook edits and some expansive instrumentals. But of course, we’re all here for those optimistic Brit-pop songs, and Gallagher delivers, from the crashing “Black and White Sunshine” to the pretty acoustic closer, “Dead in the Water,” which is just Gallagher and one guitar. *** ½

Tom Chaplin – Twelve Tales of Christmas – Interscope
Singer Tom Chaplin has been through quite a journey that’s likely spawned many tales of its own, from touring the world as frontman of Brit-rock sensation Keane, to succeeding in his battle against substance abuse. He channels much of those highs and lows of emotion into this beautifully delivered Christmas album, which ranges from a cover of The Pretenders’ somber “2000 Miles” to his own towering “Midnight Mass” and the hopeful “London Lights.” *** ½ 

Thom Yorke – Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes 
Yorke (the genius frontman of Radiohead) is perhaps best known for his most popular solo album, Eraser, but this eight-song collection is sure to run right up to Eraser’s audio heels. Even more experimental than his prior effort and a bit darker, Yorke has a knack for making the unusual and abstract still catchy, with the hooks for tracks like “A Brain in a Bottle” and the broken-piano riffs of “Guess Again!” left ringing melodically in your ears for days afterward, in spite of a first impression of inaccessibility. ***

Squeeze – The Knowledge – Love Records
’80s outfit Squeeze just keeps cranking out the records at a remarkable rate, as its dual frontmen, Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, just won’t quit (thankfully). Each album includes the same components for which fans have grown to love the band — most notably Difford/Tilbrook’s vocal harmonies and sly, wordy turns of phrase. Highlights this time include the pop nostalgia of “Albatross” and the bubbly refrain of “Two Forks.”  ***





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