Review: Spacehog have grown

NOW Spacehog’s return was a comeback I wasn’t expecting.
But when a copy of their album, As It Is On Earth, landed on my desk – their first LP in a good decade – I was as happy as a pig in muck.
Because for me, Spacehog were a band that always deserved more.
They stuck their tongue in the cheek of glam rock before The Darkness made it cool, and then rubbish, to do so.
They were a great guitar-slinging band at a time when guitar bands ruled, yet they were plonked firmly in the back seat of ’90s rock, sharing an earphone and staring out of the window with the likes of Gay Dad and the Longpigs, while the likes of Oasis drove and Blur held the map up front.
And I reckon this might be a view shared by Royston Langdon and his band – there’s a huge slice of melancholy flavouring this album, and it makes for a stirring listen.
Because juxtaposed with the knowing rock numbers which fit with their previous oeuvre, such as the funky Oh, Dinosaur or the anthemic Sunset Boulevard, are simply beautiful offerings like the emotional Deceit, and the ethereal Cool Water.
This results are a more mature sound from Spacehog, which makes what was a great albeit underrated band all the more compelling.
Just don’t leave it 12 years until the next one, eh lads.

Review: Understated and underrated Grey Reverend deserves worship

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ACCORDING to, Grey Reverend, who is preparing to release his second album A Hero’s Lie, has a paltry 12,505 listeners.
By way of comparison, according to the music site, Michael Kiwanuka has 164,888 listeners, Ben Howard has 372,251 listeners, Jose Gonzalez has 1,223,562 listeners, Bon Iver has 1,478,963 listeners – you get the picture, Grey Reverend has a pretty small flock at present.
Despite high profile collaborators in the form of Bonobo and Cinematic Orchestra, Grey Reverend’s touching acoustic guitar compositions have slipped largely under the mainstream radar.
It is, quite simply, a travesty.
The Brooklyn singer-songwriter, real name L.D Brown, crafts compositions that are cathartic and emotional yet simple and understated.
And on this collection, produced by Grey Reverend himself, the added swells and production really bring the raw acoustic and crooning vocals of the music out of its shell – whether through the sweeping majesty of Postcard or The Payoff for instance, or the more subtle work like little piano touches on tracks like Everlasting.
Hopefully this LP will bring out a deservedly bigger congregation to hear the Grey Reverend in action.

Soundcast: Underrated albums of 2013 so far

AFTER a brief blog break – did you miss me? what? no? oh… – I thought it would be nice of me to put forward a quick recap.
And given the time of year, just past the half-way point, Father Time is begging me to throw together a collection of my Albums of the Year to date.
But rather than point out the big hitters that have been released in 2013 – your Kanye Wests, your Daft Punks, your David Bowies et als – I thought it would be nice to give some love to the lesser lights.
So here are my underrated albums of 2013, the collections I’ve loved that you may have overlooked, as a Spotify Soundcast playlist.