September 19, 2020

The Strumbrellas – Rattlesnake – Glassnote

By Kristi Kates | April 20, 2019

A bubbly, bouncy stir-up of a set, this collection from The Strumbrellas also proves to be a little illusory; behind those zippy tunes are lyrics that are often far less than happy. It’s interesting seeing how the band balances those two components on tracks like “The Party,” where shuffling drumbeats and a calming acoustic guitar defy a story of romantic heartbreak. “I’ll Wait,” one of the album’s few lyrically uplifting tracks, echoes the catchy sounds of Mumford and Sons; and “Running Scared (Desert Song)” showcases the band’s way around a folk-pop melody. ***
Foals – Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Warner Bros.
As Foals delve further into experimental territory, this sort-of concept album skews a portrait of an apocalyptic world and leans into dance-pop territory. While those sound like wholly divergent ideas, the approach works quite well. The dark, grooving “Exits” and the equally heavy yet poignant “Sundays” set the pace, while the side roads, so to speak, of tracks like “In Degrees,” with its carefree beat; the Muse-like “Cafe de Athens,” and closer “I’m Done with the World (and it’s Done with Me)” offer equally entertaining distractions. *** ½
Mansionair – Shadowboxer – Glassnote
With three years of production under its glossy cover, Mansionair’s debut set is already a critical hit for the Australian trio, which has opened for the likes of Chvrches and Florence and the Machine. A danceable yet brooding set, it’s a mix of styles that hasn’t quite yet coalesced into something definable, but with tracks like the retro nerd-pop of “I Won’t Take No for an Answer,” and the faint echoes of emo buried in the undeniable hooks of “Astronaut (Something About Your Love),” it doesn’t seem like it will be long until you’ll be seeking out “the Mansionair sound.” ** ½
Bad Suns – Mystic Truth – Epitaph
For this album, it sounds like Bad Suns was inspired by, well … adulthood. The Los Angeles band’s sound is a familiar concrete trilogy: scorching guitars and pianos with arena-ready vocals, but it delves deep into growth, from first single “Away We Go,” with its upbeat take on the process, to “A Miracle, A Mile Away,” a look back on all the childhood memories that came before that leap to an older age. As the band brings in additional topic like relationships and responsibilities, more complex tracks like “Hold Your Fire” and “Love By Mistake” unfold. **


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