Review: Mum’s Smilewound leaves you grinning

ICELAND’S Múm seem more at ease with themselves on Smilewound than ever before in their lengthy history.
Expertly bridging the worlds of folky electronica and dream pop, this collection is more floaty, more airy, more upbeat, more relaxed and more polished than ever.
This means that there’s no doubt that this time out, the group – which has previously fratanised with oft-underground genres like post-rock and glitch – has put together a collection of pure enjoyable pop fare.
The Colourful Stabwound is a drum and bass tinged gem which deserves to grace the charts, and hell, there’s even a Kylie collaboration, Whistle, to close.
So although thematically there’s a jarring in the subject matter, which is often violent throughout, it’s sung in such an angelic way you can’t help but grin.

Review: April March And Aquaserge? [Insert Gallic shrug here]

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APRIL March And Aquaserge’s self-titled album is as French as French could be – only it’s not.
A Gallic bread and butter pop album, you would assume this was music created in a back room off the Champs Elysee, by musicians sipping red wine and smoking unfiltered cigarettes, probably in black and white.
But it’s not – this is the work of artists whose day jobs include psyche rockers Tame Impala and Melody’s Echo Chamber, Tortoise and ‘April March’ herself Elinor Blake.
And with their CVs, you’d expect a modern, interesting, psyche twist on the sound they’re channeling – but there isn’t nearly enough of this, it’s all pseudonyms and cool artwork and vintage sounds.
So instead, what was intended to be an homage, for the most part ends up as more of a pastiche.

Download: Make a swoop for a free Biggles Flys Again track

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NEW pop project Biggles Flys Again had its debut album out at the end of March.
And to mark the release of Remember Saturday, the group is offering up a free mp3 download of Old Pop Song.
A spokesman said: “Conor Deasy set out to make a pop album with traditional values and he didn’t leave anything to chance as many of the instruments used during the recording were of the antique variety.
“Allied to the BBC Neve recording desk, Hammond organ and Yamaha keyboards was a keen pop sensibility which has drawn comparisons to modern day bards like Badly Drawn Boy and more vintage mavericks such as Brian Wilson.”
To grab a free track click here – Biggles Flys Again – Old Pop Song.mp3

Review: Go wild for Dutch Uncles LP

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DUTCH Uncles have slowly become a familiar band, creeping onto the scene with their two previous albums – and January’s Out Of Touch In The Wild, the first truly amazing release of 2013, ought to see them join the indie top table.
The LP is a collection on avant-pop – it’s all easy on the ear, with the Hot Chip-esque vocals of Duncan Wallis and the arty orchestral goodness of the piano and strings mixing with the clean-cut twin guitar work of Pete Broadhead and Daniel Spedding, which echoes the classic work of the likes of Talking Heads.
However this is all arranged in a decidedly different way to standard pop fodder, eschewing verse-chorus-verse-chorus song structure – in fact, come the LP’s end, you would be hard pushed to remember a chorus at all.
And this is the Out Of Touch In The Wild’s strength, not a weakness – this is a maelstrom of musical wonder, full of interest and intrigue yet accessible and enjoyable throughout, out of touch but always within reach…

Albums of the Year: Buy George!

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CRIMINALLY underrated act Clean George IV’s God Save The Clean, at the time of writing, is yet to gather a single vote in the Album of the Year poll.
This is, as far as Sound Advice can see, complete heresy – this album is a majestic work.
God Save The Clean is a unique blend of skewed pop, stomping glam, insane electro and sneering rock all ‘throne’ together by the Scottish act, which has been working on this debut on and off since 2007.
It’s a mash of ideas – sometimes contradicting itself in the space of a song – but this unpredictability is what makes it such a thrilling, exciting listen.
Ladies and gentleman, please be upstanding for a clear-cut Album of the Year.
If it gets your vote, click on the poll below – and if it doesn’t, let me know in the comments!

Which is the top Album of the Year 2012

Review: Frusciantastic

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I, LIKE most people, will be aware of John Frusciante for his guitar work for the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
I also have a passing acquaintance with his solo work – so I thought I knew what to expect when I listened to his new solo EP, Letur-Lefr.
I was wrong.
Opener In Your Eyes sounds like Erasure produced by Aphex Twin, a mangled slice of pop genius, followed by 909 Day, which is dominated by about a minute of epic, anthemic synth.
It then takes another unexpected twist, first into Glowe’s skittering beats and on into hip hop/opera/jungle crossover territory with FM and finally back to the warped pop thing with In My Light.
It’s completely unpredicable throughout, but despite the incessant U-turns it remains ear-bogglingly good for the duration.

Review: In the Belly of the Brazen dull

WITH The Cribs’ new album, In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull, Ryan Jarman says his band is set to lay waste the mainstream musical landscape: “Now, we’re in pop hell. You can’t avoid it. When you watch TV there’s pop stars on adverts and TV shows – it’s everywhere.
“So maybe people will see us now as a counter-cultural band – we want to take on the mainstream.”
And how, prey tell – with a lot of bloody loud noise, that’s how.
However this aural assault which smothers every track here is in fact nothing but a lot of hot air – it’s akin to a fat music blogger wearing a baggy T shirt to obscure his unattractive barrel-like frame, a diversion.
Because all this shouting and feedback and overdrive and bluster is hiding the fact that a majority of songs here have little to them that actually sticks.
There are exceptions – such as the great Pure O and single Come On, Be A No-One.
But as a result of this approach, while actually listening to the LP it’s great – but as soon as the noise subsides, it’s hard to remember exactly what it was that you liked about it.