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Bombay Bicycle Club / Grimm & Co / Juniore / Spinning Coin / The Orielles / Zoe Mc Pherson

Bombay Bicycle Club / Grimm & Co / Juniore / Spinning Coin / The Orielles / Zoe Mc Pherson
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Bombay Bicycle Club - Everything Else Has Gone Wrong

After announcing their hiatus in 2014, Bombay Bicycle Club began to pursue solo projects. Their individual efforts ranged from albums to masters degrees.

To fans, it seemed like they would never make a full-length LP again. The release of Everything Else Has Gone Wrong defies that belief. The group originally intended to reunite for a ten-year anniversary, but these plans manifested into something far greater.

[a] brave new direction

Title track 'Everything Else Has Gone Wrong' is reminiscent of early Tame Impala singles. The electronic synths add depth to Bombay Bicycle Club's catalogue of work, which has earned the group status in British indie music as the genre is slowly becoming more inspired by techno. 'People People' contrasts passionate lyrics with hypnotic synths. This juxtaposition is a new direction for the group, who have arguably played it safe in the past. Thankfully, the risk pays off and the track demands just the right kind of attention.

Some tracks seem out of place on such a synth-heavy LP: the production on 'Good Day' is far too simple when compared to the MGMT feel of 'Let You Go'. But the high points here far outweigh the odd misplaced song. Unlike other nostalgic indie bands, the brave new direction that Bombay Bicycle Club have taken with this album guarantees they'll not be forgotten as the genre enters a new electronic era.

Sarah Bennett

Various Artists - Grimm & Co: Lyrical

Based in Rotherham, Grimm & Co is a charity that encourages young people in Yorkshire to write creatively. The summer of 2018 saw the organisation host free songwriting workshops with writers, musicians and story mentors on hand, before the creations were shared with performers who set the lyrics to music and recorded the results.

The magic of Lyrical is - perhaps unsurprisingly - in its lyrics, which cover topics from Alice in Wonderland to whoopee cushions and crabs called Carl. The innocence of the content is refreshing and proclaims a child-like joy behind the writing. You can only imagine the fun the young people had writing these songs, and the subsequent fun of the performers working with a whole new genre of lyrics.

You can only imagine the fun the young people had writing these songs

The idea of children writing to be professionally produced and listened to is a largely unexplored concept outside of the occasional child sensation, but hearing Yorkshire's own young community is stirring. Listening to the album means engaging not only with the imaginative lyrics but also the varied melodies, genres and voices.

The spoken word of the eleventh track, '(Untitled)', set to music by Fay Hield and Jon Boden, works in sharp contrast to the hard rock of David Eagle performing 'Death Race' or the acoustic pop of 'Eye Spy'. Abrupt movement between genres shapes the listening experience, establishing it as active and engaging rather than passive and restful.

At the core of the album are the thought processes of our community's young people, the music giving the listener a sense of the personal within our region.

Eve Thomas

Juniore - Un Deux Trois

Some albums are really hard to date-stamp. If you asked a random person to guess what year this French beauty was produced, you'd expect an answer ranging across six decades.

Following appearances on soundtracks including Killing Eve, it shouldn't surprise you that this album resembles a self-produced film soundtrack to a yet-unmade iconic piece of cinema. Beginning with the sultry 'Soudain', it makes its way down country backroads before putting the foot to the floor for the uptempo, gritty shaker of 'Grave'.

delivered with clever brilliance and expertise

'En Solitaire' is one of the standout moments as it takes you on a dreamy and beautiful choral, a string-laden journey to bliss. As an all-female group, much of the album's lyrical content explores the importance of counterculture and being independent with humour and poetry. 'Bizarre', complete with infectious whistle and organ, has a simple but playful breakdown just past the midway moment. In songs like 'Tu Mens' there are brief flashes of inspiration from bands like The B-52s, Stereolab and 1960s surf pop, all delivered with clever brilliance and expertise. The haunting melodies of 'Walili', along with what appear to be Arabic horns, work well as an interlude before we tip back into the funky pop bassline of 'La Vérité Nue'.

For most on this side of the Channel, French music seems an untapped barrel, with many listeners not dipping deeper than Gainsbourg, Air or Tellier. Yet there's a rich lineage of hazy, psychedelic pop that Juniore have contributed a remarkably fine vintage to.

Andy Tattersall

Spinning Coin - Hyacinth

On their 2017 debut album, the well-received Permo, Spinning Coin wore their influences on their sleeve.

Buoyed by an appreciation for the history of Glasgow's music scene and the creative melting pot within the city, they produced an entertaining and engaging quasi-tribute to their forebears. Over half a decade since they first began playing together, they're back with their second album, Hyacinth.

Now a four-piece split equally between Scotland's biggest city and Berlin, songwriting and singing duties are once again shared between Sean Armstrong and Jack Mellin. This time around, however, Rachel Taylor makes her first contribution in this area and the charming 'Black Cat' turns out to be one of the highlights of this sophomore record.

a rich, eclectic, elegant album

Not only does Hyacinth feel like more a group effort, but it demonstrates the growing maturity and confidence which brims within Spinning Coin. While their influences are still present and correct, they now linger in the background, allowing the band members' own personalities to come to the fore. They have found their voice and they have something to say.

Building on the solid foundations of their debut, Spinning Coin have crafted a rich, eclectic, elegant album which sounds both fresh and grounded in the past. Songs like 'Ghosting', 'Never Enough' and 'Feel You More Than World Right Now' mix playfulness with a message and mark a group whose talent is now finally coming to fruition. Spinning Coin are a band whose star is very much in the ascendency.

Rob Aldam

The Orielles - Disco Violator

With the dust barely settled from their debut, The Orielles are back with their second record, titled Disco Volador. After returning from touring their critically acclaimed 2018 release Silver Dollar Moment, the Halifax four-piece were never prepared to rest on their laurels.

Opening with 'Come Down On Jupiter', the key themes of astrology and universal vibes are present throughout. 'Bobbi's Second World', released over a year ago as a single, is by far the best song The Orielles have ever recorded and will be filling indie dance floors in the not-too-distant future. 'Memoirs Of Miso' is a 70s inspired deep funk track with saxophone and groovy bass in the middle.

demonstrates a greater level of ambition and musical experimentation

This track showcases the band's experimental side, showing that they're not afraid to mix sharp dance hooks with progressive symphonies. 'Whilst The Flowers Look' is a sedated, more melodic track including a metaphorical spoken word ending stating: "Life is holistic / Remember, we aren't endless."

Despite the members being in their late teens and early twenties, the group have been together for over ten years and are going from strength to strength. Their ability to broaden their horizons, both musically and lyrically, is nothing short of outstanding.

It was always going to be tough to match their stunning debut, but this record demonstrates a greater level of ambition and musical experimentation perfectly. Disco Volador delivers on the promise and exceeds expectations - rarely seen from a difficult second album.

Daniel Atherton

Zoë Mc Pherson - States of Fugue

Following the success of 2018's audio-visual experience String Figures, interdisciplinary artist Zoë Mc Pherson returns with a purely auditory but no less experimental release.

States of Fugue opens like a horror soundtrack, with quietly disturbing harmonies from an ambient choir slowly seeping into your psyche. Four minutes pass before you're upended into deconstructed club, the pounding bass coming in staggered rhythms, layered beneath industrial noise.

Scrambled percussion figures are variously buried and uncovered by processing, not least on 'Exile', which sounds like a glitching typewriter struggling to gain sentience. This feels like true machine music, where technology has come to life and fully embraced the human avant garde.

true machine music

'Kada' follows a similar theme, adding a dash of LP5-era Autechre, while 'Tenace' shows a more subtle approach, sounding like dark minimal techno from someone who's confused 'four-to-the-floor' with 'four tabs of acid'. 'Taste' contains the album's first partially accessible beat, but even then the sultry bass tones gradually unfold into experimentation via mangled samples and lively percussion.

Making sure no-one gets too comfortable, Mc Pherson takes us on regular descents into the well of pure noise. The horribly disorientating 'Get It?!' is like a scrambled SOS call from an alien's captive. Although 'Learn Your Language' takes things back to a more straightforward dark club vibe, with some excellent freeform bars from Elvin Brandhi, 'Power Fluids' and 'Du' go all out in combining big beats with unrestrained experimentation.

Even without visuals provided, States of Fugue will have your mind's eye fully warped.

Richard Spencer

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