Category: reviews

Clairo’s enthusiasm shines on debut EP, ‘diary…

Clairo’s enthusiasm shines on debut EP, ‘diary 001′

Sarah Beckford

Clairo is one of the biggest, if not most relatable young artist whose name and art is the subject of cover stories, artists to watch lists, and on the lips of her fans, who know every word of her growing catalog. She’s graced us with her short and sweet debut EP, diary 001, a compilation of songs that acts as her official introduction to the world, released via the FADER label.

The EP opens with ‘Hello,’ a soothing song that mixes Clairo’s sound with house music tones and pop. Much like Billie Eilish’s party favor, hello opens with a ringtone and a greeting. It’s Clairo, allowing us to listen to her own internal conversation, which is much like the ep itself- an introduction, a time capsule of sorts as Clairo properly introduces herself to us. Rejjie Snow, a member of the same music scene Clairo is in, offers a quick bit of his talents as well. It’s an honest love song, one in which Clairo provides her insight and questions on the internet’s impact on her wondering about love and how real the love she has is.  ‘Flaming Hot Cheetos’ is, besides ‘Pretty Girl,’ is one of Clairo’s more notable songs. It reflects not only her youth but her trademark lyricism, which evokes nostalgia and youthful dreams, which makes for a soft but fun song. The song’s instruments also contribute to its light atmosphere as well, which is an even mix of light synthesized piano and percussion. After ‘Flaming Hot Cheetos’ is the upbeat ‘B.O.M.D,’ a light and airy track that’s an ode to Clairo’s boy of her dreams, and it’s a song that instantly radiates joy amidst the many questions that Clairo poses to the subject of the song. To her, it’s simple how wonderful this boy is, and she wants us to know how simple it is to recognize it as well.  

‘4EVER’ is the funkiest song on the EP, blending lo-fi with a disco and new wave vibe, and it’s a song that feels like it wouldn’t be out of place in a movie. After that is the song that brought Clairo into the spotlight, ‘Pretty Girl.’ This song is popular for good reason. It’s a song that simple in its construction, instrumentation, and lyricism, but still has its own distinct vibe that makes it special. This is Clairo at her most honest, and her honesty is real. Much like Soccer Mommy’s ‘Cool,’ it’s defiant and it’s Clairo saying that she is who she wants to be. Clairo’s debut closes with ‘How’, one of Clairo’s demos. It’s trancelike, and her vocals are far more prominent due to the hazy and layered backdrop that the song’s backing instrumentation provides.

Clairo’s official debut EP is a perfect self-portrait because of its simple and sweet honesty, though it does leave a little to be desired It features catchy choruses, sweeping beats, and simple, stripped-down storytelling that fits Clairo perfectly. With this introductory EP, Clairo is ready to move beyond the sound she has so far, and she most definitely is capable of growing even more.

The 1975 is bright but not entirely impressive…

The 1975 is bright but not entirely impressive on new song, ‘Give Yourself A Try’

Sarah Beckford

If 2016’s ‘I Like It When You Sleep, For You are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It’ wasn’t reflective and touching, then the 1975’s newest track, ‘Give Yourself A Try’, is nothing new. ‘Give Yourself A Try,’ The 1975’s first song since their hiatus, is interesting as best. The song is part of a trend though, as the other two groups of the seeming indie-alternative rock trinity, the Arctic Monkeys and the Neighbourhood, have released records that are deviations from their former sound, yet still within the vein of what they make. With ‘Give Yourself a Try’, Matty Healy is at his most reflective yet Bowie-like state visually and sonically, as he sophisticatedly and frantically pleads for the culture, and this generation, to go outside and get off their phones. He darts between a number of important topics, like drugs, STDs, and suicide, albeit too quickly for us to sit and reflect- which may very well be satire of our culture’s attention span. As Healy speaks on his own ongoing renaissance and experiences, as well as the wisdom he’s gained from the passage of time. Though the subjects he speaks on and the advice he gives is great, it’s drowned by the bustling guitars that make it hard to focus, making Matty sound like a melodramatic grandfather who wants us to actually run around his lawn for our own good. Though that description may seem harsh, it’s definitely hard to see how exactly this fits into the new music and era that The 1975 has started. Ultimately though, Matty Healy would just like for us to care a bit more about ourselves and attain some type of self-love and appreciation in the midst of all that’s going on, despite how saturated our culture can be with the opposite. So, quite possibly, there’s a metaphor to it, a despair in the message- because what happens after we give ourselves a try, does it matter anyway? It seems Healy and Co will tell us soon, or just leave the question unanswered.

Three Point Perspective: Arctic Monkeys Tranqu…

Three Point Perspective: Arctic Monkeys Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

Freda Looker

The long-awaited Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino graced us with its epic release last Friday. Without a single released prior to the Monkey’s first San Diego show at The Observatory North Park since AM’s 2013 release, fans were left with the question of what the new era would sound like. With Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino finally being released, there are several themes that are spread throughout the tracks such as the importance of cell phones in modern society, and the effects of fame. ‘Star Treatment’ kicks off the album with Alex reflecting on his past times before the fame. Followed by ‘One Point Perspective’, a much darker track which seems to involve questioning fame once again and how it affects the band. Both ‘American Sports’ and ‘The Ultracheese’ from the very first second consist of Johnny Cash and Bowie’s spacey vibes. There’s no surprise that the band decided to incorporate a tad of Bowie in their new album after The Last Shadow Puppets decided to cover Bowie’s ‘Moonage Daydream’ during their Everything You’ve Come To Expect tour. The title track and ‘Science Fiction’ are lyrically the most creative listens. With lines such as, “Jesus in the day spa, filling out the information form’, and “Reflections in the silver screen of strange societies, swamp monster with a hard-on for connectivity”, reminding me of how much more lyrically impressive Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino is compared to AM. The transition specifically between ‘Golden Trunks’ and what seems to be most fan’s favoured track ‘Four Out of Five’ is a definite pick me up from ‘Golden Trunks’ dark political lines, “Bendable figures with a fresh new pack of lies” and a person’s blind devotion ‘“When true love takes a grip, it leaves you without a choice”. When the album’s titles were released ‘The World’s First Ever Monster Truck Front Flip’ intrigued most. Assuming that there will be a heavy guitar riff or a similar AM ‘R U Mine?’ sound from the ‘roughness’ of the title was the complete opposite. What ‘The World’s First Ever Monster Truck Front Flip’ brings is the most Suck It and See throwback feelings. The chorus throughout ‘She Looks Like Fun’ being the most intriguing with Alex referring to modern society scrolling through their Instagram feeds, “Good morning/Cheeseburger/Snowboarding”. ‘Batphone’ continues this theme of technology and how individuals aren’t living in ‘the reality’. Overall, it seems that opinions have been split from fans of AM’s 2013 era, but I personally am completely lyrically blown away from Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino’s entirety. It’s almost like a continuation of Everything You’ve Come To Expect with similar sounds of ‘The Bourne Identity’ and ‘Aviation’, but minus Miles. With new the additions of the piano, and synthesizers I believe that they have enhanced the new direction that the Monkey’s have stepped toward and I already can’t wait for what they’ll decide to make next.

Leila Ricca

Four out of five stars on Arctic Monkeys’ comeback ‘Tranquillity Base Hotel and Casino’

After five years of silence, the Arctic Monkeys make their much-awaited return with surprising and hypnotic ‘Tranquillity Base Hotel and Casino’. Perfectly managing to avoid self-parody or stylistic repetitions, this new album appears as a startling reinvention, a meandering and puzzling journey beyond known territories. Just like mankind first set foot on the moon on the ‘Tranquillity base’ site, the Arctic Monkeys disembark in an unknown universe in which they reveal a new, unexpected aspect of themselves.

It would be difficult to distinguish a single in this album: unlike 2013 structured indie rock success ‘AM’, ‘Tranquillity Base Hotel and Casino’ appears as a puzzle, a tangled enigma with no apparent solution, the value of which precisely resides in this sophisticated lack of clarity. As the album opens with the bewitching track ‘Star Treatment’, one is confounded in disorientation, before eventually letting the album settle a logic of its own. Some songs appear nearly unconstructed, yet simultaneously refined and complex, echoing the way in which the lyrics present a dense yet also elliptic unique form of prose, like a stream of consciousness, melodically unfolding itself. Turner’s deep and captivating voice strongly reminds of Gainsbourg’s early 70s half-spoken verses, sometimes erudite and poetic, sometimes full of derision, such as on the opening line of the album: ‘I just wanted to be one of the Strokes’. A sense of irony, or at least of strong self-awareness emerges throughout the tracks of the album, reflecting a conscious decision to move away from an older musical style that it would make no sense to replicate, in order to engage in a necessary and well-executed new path.

‘Tranquillity Base Hotel & Casino’ however seems to reflect Turner’s personal evolution more than it presents a real fruition of the Arctic Monkeys as a band, and the instrumentals, although displaying intense and elegant arrangements, create a harmonious echo to the vocals rather than they truly establish the band’s presence. The addition of the piano accompanying Turner’s reflective vocals partially replaces Helder’s vibrant drums that helped define the band’s early albums and marks a notable shift, both asserting a form of musical maturity, and avowing the forfeiture of a constitutive element of the band’s sound. ‘Tranquillity base hotel & casino’ seems to retain a sense of continuity with Turner’s side project The Last Shadow Puppets, and particularly of their 2016 album ‘Everything You’ve Come to Expect’, although it appears to be more intricate and subtle in many of its aspects. Final song ‘Ultracheese’ captures the best this album has to offer, presenting a rich and magnetic journey in this captivating new universe.

Despite its obviously divisive aspects, this album undeniably presents an extremely successfully crafted creation, a melodic and truly bewitching masterpiece. ‘Tranquillity Base Hotel & Casino’ reflects the Arctic Monkeys’ ability to transcend genres and provide their audience with impressive yet always effective transformations.

Sarah Beckford

The year is 2018 and the Arctic Monkeys have returned. To celebrate their return, they’ve given us their sixth record, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino. And yes, though it’s 2018, this album feels like it belongs right in between vinyl copies of the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and David Bowie record. With this record, one has to remember this album isn’t the sequel to AM, nor it should it be viewed as its heir. This is a record that’s beyond its years that also dwells in the time before it, and it’s more conceptual than full story sometimes- nonetheless, it’s still a record.

The album starts with ‘Star Treatment,’ a glittering Bowie-esque opening that’s chock full of jazz tones, vocal effects, and piano. Here, Alex Turner plays the reflective celebrity, singing in whispery echoed tones about how he wishes he was one of the Strokes, or just someone unforgettable. Peppered with pop culture references and metaphor, ‘Star Treatment’ is sultry and mysterious, as if Turner’s singing in dim light surrounded by fog and old-school movie lights.

After ‘Star Treatment’ is ‘One Point Perspective,’ has an opening much like the opening piano notes of Panic! At the Disco’s ‘Nine in the Afternoon,’ but has a much different mood than the aforementioned. This song instrumentally blends classical elements with lounge music and is reflective like the blues as Turner, or at least the song’s character laments former dreams and youthful aspirations. The music helps fill in the gaps on this track a great deal, as there are a number of instrumental breaks. The album then abruptly shifts into the spoken-word like ‘American Sports,’ is a veiled commentary on the similarities and differences between the fictional society described in the album and present-day- “Breaking news, they take the truth and make it fluid…A montage of the latest ancient ruins/Soundtracked by a chorus of “You don’t know what you’re doing”.

Billie Eilish and Khalid soar on new song, ‘lo…

Billie Eilish and Khalid soar on new song, ‘lovely’

Sarah Beckford 

Billie Eilish has returned with a soaring new song, a collaboration with Khalid, entitled ‘lovely’. ‘lovely’ is a reflective and solemn duet that perfectly suits these artists’ voices. This song is markedly different from Eilish’s other songs, but she still demonstrates her ability to be vocally versatile while still emotionally connecting with her listeners. The song opens with Eilish, who sings of trying to find a way out the dark feelings that she has. Eilish and Khalid then join together on the chorus in perfect harmony, as they both try to gain their bearings through what seems to be a dismal emotional climate. Billie then takes the first part of the second verse, using the higher register of her voice, as she’s prone to do in some of other songs, executing it perfectly. The profound thing about ‘lovely’ is how different it is, in terms of its structure and what it accomplishes. Eilish and Khalid are both artists evenly matched in their ability to connect emotionally with their listeners in a way that’s poignant but vibrant as well. This duality between the sorrowful and the joyous feelings that are in their music is remarkable, considering that both are considered to be artists destined for even greater success. Their ability to use instrumentation not often prevalently found in popular music, like the prominent piano and violin sounds used as the main part of the song’s melody, is worthy of applause. So yes, it is lovely that these two artists have collaborated to make a song that’s masterfully reflective and filled with depth. Billie Eilish and Khalid, in this song and their own respective discographies, have proven that they’re worthy of the praise that they’ve garnered, and that much more.

Yellow Days is reflective on new song, ‘The Wa…

Yellow Days is reflective on new song, ‘The Way Things Change’

Sarah Beckford 

Yellow Days, much like his fellow breakout artists, is young, yet his vocals and style is well beyond his years. With that said, Yellow Days isn’t just some young musician, he’s a visionary and artist in his own right. The 19-year-old has already made a name for himself within the past year, releasing his record ‘Is Everything Okay in Your World?’ just last year, and having one of his songs appear in Donald Glover’s show Atlanta. Now, Yellow Days is expanding on the success he’s achieved on his newest song, ‘The Way Things Change’. The song begins with warm guitar tones, paired excellently with a simple stripped-down drum arrangement that provides an opening to his vocals. He sings as if the world is on his shoulders, yet there’s a tiny sliver of hope as well. What’s interesting about Yellow Days is that he’s often characterized as a lo-fi pop artist, but the arrangement of his songs plays out in a very jazz-soul fusion. ‘The Way Things Change’ is casual in its morose but lively reflection of the passing of time, and it’s certainly relatable. At most, it’s quite the trip sonically because it’s remotely psychedelic in its styling. The song itself isn’t halting, but much like its lyrics, it’s Yellow Days reminding himself- and us- to keep going in our lives.

Underoath is renewed on new album, ‘Erase Me’

Underoath is renewed on new album, ‘Erase Me’

Sarah Beckford 

Underoath has returned with their new album, Erase Me. The metalcore six-piece, newly signed to Fearless Records, has triumphantly returned with their eighth studio album, their first record in eight years. Erase Me spans eleven tracks, and each one is direct and passionate, much more than any Underoath record we’ve heard. This an album that shouldn’t be listened to without any reservations, because it doesn’t have any. This isn’t your older sibling’s Underoath, it’s an Underoath we know and love, but grown up.

Erase Me starts off with ‘It Has to Start Somewhere,’ a song that’s packed with Aaron Gillespie’s masterful percussion and backup vocals, as well as lead vocals from Spencer Chamberlain, who really exercises his vocals on this album. A theme on this record is the separation of church and music, namely, the band’s divorce and marked separation from their previous Christian roots. This album has wisps of religious lyric imagery, but it’s regarded as a thing of the past, not something that’s a present and welcomed element. ‘It Has to Start Somewhere’ somewhat echoes this, as it depicts this battle between one’s present thoughts and former ideology. The album then switches gears in ‘Rapture’, which doesn’t focus on religion, but love. It’s a song that’s asking to be taken on a journey, knowing the risks that this journey holds.

On My Teeth, the album’s lead single serves as Underoath serving notice that this new era is going to be different. It’s explosive, defiant, and is as about ready to combust, like a dying star giving way to something new. ‘On My Teeth’ is Underoath almost wondering why they suddenly feel more found than they’ve ever been. The song’s sudden profanity and direct lyrics have upset fans, but Underoath’s made it clear- they’ve grown, and we should follow suit as they put their raw feelings into this song and this record. On ‘Wake Me,’ Spencer is asking to be made alive, and his plaintive cry is passionate, as he sings “Open up my eyes and show me salvation/Wake this body up cause I’m tired of sleeping”. After ‘Wake Me’ is ‘Bloodlust,’ which opens with a piano sequence and gains momentum as it experiments with vocal tones and structure. This song is cyclic, drifting between the quiet and raw desperation, a longing that can be felt in a way that’s almost palpable. It’s a song of desire and wanting to be one’s own.

The album then moves into ‘Sink with You,’ which is one of the more experimental songs on the record. The instruments on the beginning of ‘Sink With You’ act as a type of clarion call of something to come, just before the guitar signals that what we’re waiting for is here, and we have to pay attention. ‘Ihateit’ is the most passionate song on the album. This song visits the group’s wanting to be their true selves and not being stuck in what’s made them feel unworthy of themselves. Hold Your Breath opens with static that fades into what’s the most scream-heavy song of the record, and is the straight-up, no-holds-barred Underoath that we remember. On this song, Aaron and Spencer bring back more of their vocal dynamics that’s easier to notice than other songs. This song’s chorus has a totally different sonic dynamic that’s unexpected, but fits perfectly, easing the song along.

No Frame is the experimental track of the album, and its lyrics are somewhat abstract. Despite this, however, it’s interesting because the instruments, sampled vocal introduction, muted screams, trancelike chorus, and lyrics make the sound itself sound multi-dimensional. After ‘No Frame’, the next song on the album is ‘In Motion’. ‘In Motion’ is the anthem of Erase Me. There’s not too much to say for it because it deserves nothing but praise. Aaron Gillespie’s drums are riveting, and each member contributes an instrumental aspect that rounds out the song. This is the song that says, ‘This is who I am, without apology,’ and the breakdown sequence cements that.

Erase Me ends with ‘I Gave Up,’ which is one of the slower and emotional songs on the album. This song is simple in its beginning lyrics and instrumentation, and for good reason. It’s a journey of realizing that one has to come clean and be one’s self. The song begins with the initial regret with making that choice, but as the song moves on, its instrumentation and rising volume shows the eventual acceptance of that choice.

This album is vibrant with sound and energy. Erase Me isn’t asking for a complete erasing of what’s familiar, but it’s taking the past and becoming renewed. Underoath has changed, but through this record, they’ve shown that they have grown. This rebirth is on their own terms, and this change is theirs to navigate and for us to listen to.

Melody’s Echo Chamber makes a grand return aft…

Melody’s Echo Chamber makes a grand return after 5 years

Freda Looker

It’s been a long wait for fans of Melody Prochet, with the album’s release coming to a halt last year due to Melody being hospitalized. Following her accident, she then suffered from a brain aneurysm and broken vertebrae. After one year of healing with the support of family and friends, Melody has returned to release ‘Bon Voyage’ with Domino Records this coming June 15.

Nearly 5 years later, after Melody’s self-titled album was released, Melody’s Echo Chamber enchants us once again with her recent, and short single Breath In, Breath Out. The single doesn’t step far from her 2014 ‘psychedelic pop’ roots, but still shows a new wave of experimentation near the end of the track. The track kicks off with a generic shoegaze introduction and as the track progresses there would gradually be a layer of more instruments added, but then would all come to a break with soft samples, simple vocals, and tambourines. This fragmented experimentation could be a trend within Bon Voyage since it is also apparent throughout last year’s single Cross My Heart. What was unexpected was the appearance of the 2014 single Shirim. Melody has expressed in the past that the single was not to be on her next album, which is a wonderful turn of events.

‘Bon Voyage’ is stepping into a new, experimental, and Alice Coltrane jazz-influenced direction. That was curated alongside Nicholas Allbrook from Tame Impala, Fredrik Swahn, Gustav Ejstes and Reine Fiske of Dungen. Prochet describes this album as playing a large part in her self-discovery. In the spur of the moment, Melody decided to move Sweden in 2016, where she took residence near a “majestic forest”. There Melody would lose track of time recording with Gustav and Reine in her basement. Melody would then go for long walks near the trail to greet deer and pick berries, which helped her “breath and soothe me in times of anxiety”.  

Although it took some time with the release and making of ‘Bon Voyage’, it’s evident that Melody has grown both as an artist and individual. By truly finding her sound after dismissing the incomplete album alongside Kevin Parker, with life throwing unexpected circumstances, and having talented collaborators, ‘Bon Voyage’ marks a triumphant accomplishment for Melody’s Echo Chamber.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra kick off the springti…

Unknown Mortal Orchestra kick off the springtime bloom with ‘Sex & Food’

Tony Fink

Unknown Mortal Orchestra kick off the springtime bloom presenting their fourth LP release Sex & Food. The consistent thread through the UMO catalog remains strong; frontman Ruban Nielson spins a soulful vocal over a backdrop of melodically rich music and slick rhythm. This album builds on many of the synthesizers and sampled drum textures introduced on the previous breakout LP Multi-Love in 2015, but offers a different ride. The entire album was covertly previewed in SB-05, the 2017 installment of a Christmas day instrumental/ambient track released digitally for free. Upon first listen, Sex & Food reveals each song in its full form, a pleasant surprise.

“Major League Chemicals” and “American Guilt” stand out in their delivery as the UMO brand of heavy rock hinted at five years ago in “Faded in the Morning” and “No Need for a Leader”. Apart from these songs, the record sounds like the chronicle of a drug-induced fever dream, for better or worse.  The tracklisting alternates between upbeat yet subdued disco cuts “Hunnybee”, “Everyone Acts Crazy Nowadays” and “How Many Zeros” to wispy guitar compositions that are musically unique, but a test of patience on a digital listener’s skip reflex. The ballad single “Not in Love We’re Just High” builds an infectious crescendo to arrive at a final chorus that lasts all of 30 seconds, leading into the comedown of a closing track. A handful of listens reveals this album to lack the consistent focused, dynamic grip that Multi-Love takes on with almost every song.  

Once again Nielson’s lyrics sweep from personal relationships to societal unease. The slightly aimless tracks appear to be tied to themes of postmodern dysphoria, which may be at the heart of the statement Sex & Food. The UMO lyrical approach provides a poetic perspective on the world in contrast to the Tame Impala journey further inward or King Gizzard’s quests to la-la land.

The recording notably took place in six countries including New Zealand, Vietnam, South Korea, the US, Mexico, and Iceland. The journey around the globe may be vaguely apparent through the words, barely at all in the music and clearly only in the credits. The trademark production is consistent with Multi-Love, an exotic work as is; the self-produced group is made up of two Kiwis and an American. Nielson has already hinted in the album release press lap that the worldwide recording sessions yielded an additional LP worth of krautrock material that was in the can by the time Sex & Food hit shelves and could be out before the end of the year. Any UMO release is worthy of anticipation.

Overall the album delivers a good batch of songs from a group that indie and modern psychedelic music fans should expect as much from. As an album it doesn’t live up to the experience of Multi-Love, nor does it contain the single like “So Good at Being in Trouble” that will cross over into the general music consumer sphere. Sex & Food might not change the world but it keeps us interested.

Kali Uchis hits the ground running with new al…

Kali Uchis hits the ground running with new album ‘Isolation’

Thomas Nell

Long anticipated has the 23-year-old’s debut album been, yet the wait has been every bit worthwhile. Featuring a plethora of star-studded collaborations from artists such as Tyler, the Creator, Jorja Smith and funk legend Bootsy Collins, the album is as variegated and diverse as it is cohesive, with Uchis’ signature self-assuredness and calm composure shining through on every track.

Born Karly-Marina Loaiza in Pereira, Colombia, Uchis was raised in Alexandria, Virginia, where her shining career in music began. Learning both the piano and the saxophone whilst in high school, Uchis first rose to prominence with the acclaimed mixtape ‘Drunken Babble,’ an agglomeration of reggae and R&B. In 2015, her first EP ‘Por Vida’ was released to further critical and commercial success, with its lead single ‘Sycamore Tree’ being used in a 2016 teaser for the prominent TV show ‘American Horror Story.’ Since then, her eminence has only grown, culminating in her most recent tour with world-renowned alternative artist, Lana Del Rey.

The album opens on the Bossa Nova masterpiece ‘Body Language.’ During a Reddit Q&A, when asked what the overarching theme of the album was, she replied ‘finishing your dry martini, enjoying views of the water as a beautiful woman dives in,’ and this track invokes exactly that image with the first beat drop. After that, the album flutters between genres through the hard-and-fast R&B track ‘Miami,’ the beat-driven collaboration with Steve Lacy ‘Just A Stranger,’ and the dreamy ballad ‘Flight 22.’ She flows through each medium with ease, rejuvenating it and making it her own as she goes. Pop hits like ‘Tyrant’ brush shoulders with the funk triumph ‘After the Storm’ and the Winehouse-esque closers ‘feel like a fool’ and ‘killer.’ There’s something for everyone on this album, yet at the end of it all, no matter your tastes in music, there will be only one name on your lips; ‘Kali Uchis.’

A 15-track album is no small project, and it’s often hard to keep an album of this duration cohesive and consistent, yet not only does Uchis pull it off, she does so effortlessly. Each song brings a new element to the album, and she knows exactly which strings to pull for maximum anticipation, whether it’s the dramatic beat change in ‘Coming Home,’ or the ‘oohs’ that slowly reverberate and come into focus at the beginning of ‘Dead to Me.’ Kali’s remarkable trait is her confidence – she has no qualms about telling people to go to hell if they make her unhappy. This dismissive attitude towards issues is what makes her music so refreshing, as it passes the ethos of confronting one’s problems rather than shying away from the listener, emboldening them in the process.

‘Isolation’ in this context represents believing in yourself more than anyone else does, not being afraid of being alone and being able to live without the people who drag you down. It is evident that Uchis employs these themes in ‘Isolation’ in her own life, which has no doubt only aided in her success thus far. Having a large role in every aspect of her music’s production, from the songwriting to the melodies to directing her music videos, this album is the vision of a woman who knows exactly what direction she’s going in, has her hands on the wheel, and is taking us along for a breathtakingly brilliant ride. ‘Isolation’ represents the birth of a legend and a very successful career in the forefront of music.

Hinds return with a new album for you, ‘I Don’…

Hinds return with a new album for you, ‘I Don’t Run’

Leila Ricca 

After their 2016 debut album ‘Leave Me Alone’ and the release of three singles in the past weeks (‘New for you’, ‘The Club’, and ‘Finally floating’), Hinds reveal this second record and its outstanding genuineness. With their distinguishable sunbathed authenticity, the Madrid-based four-piece uncover a new, sometimes more reflective side of their music, while further asserting their distinct lo-fi unpolished sound.  

Guitarists and vocalists Ana Perrote and Carlotta Cosials join their lively, rough, yet sometimes surprisingly harmonious vocals in a symbiosis that could be vaguely guessed in previous tracks and truly establishes itself as a central element of this new record. Through reflections and echoes, exchanges and overlapping lines, their voices create a form of complementary duality, pushed to its climax in tracks such as ‘Echoing my name’. Surprisingly melodic ‘Linda’ creates a nostalgic halt between more energetic songs, and reflects the range of emotions and moods Hinds manage to convey without ever losing their central uniqueness.

In this record, Hinds gain a stronger voice, and a richer instrumental composition. Bassist Ade Martin creates an essential yet evolving musical structure to the liveliness of the record, and drummer Amber Grimbergen truly affirms her fundamental contribution to the band’s sound in ‘Finally Floating’. Opening track ‘The Club’ appears as the quintessential Hinds song, a perfect inauguration of the record, and encloses the listener in the dazed atmosphere of Hinds’ universe: ‘From now on, it’s our presentation card’, said the band. Contrastingly, the final song ‘Ma Nuit’ unearths a more vulnerable side, mixing the usual English lyrics with their native Spanish as well as some French verses, which create a universal subtlety to this touching track. By exposing the difficulty of intertwining the shared world of touring, and the intimacy of personal stories, this songs discloses a new sense of melancholy perhaps unseen in Hinds’ earlier work.

In fact, this second album seems to have an additional dimension, a deeper, more intense aspect that confirms Hinds’ musical identity, while at the same time revealing a new complexity of their sound and lyrics. Without the pretentions of innovating, their authenticity and the clear effort put in the creation of this record is an exact image of the band’s musical truthfulness.