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★★★★ ½

album reviews

GLASS ANIMALS

THE AMITY AFFLICTION Let The Ocean Take Me

ZABA

ALBUM OF THE WEEK

Wolf Tone/Caroline Not everyone would’ve heard of Glass Animals, but by now those people can certainly hear them coming – there was the recent whirlwind tour of Oz and a remarkable cover of Kanye’s Love Lockdown for triple j. Then, of course, there’s their own material, which has been gradually seeping into public consciousness over the last few months, with three astonishing singles – Psylla, Gooey and Pools – and a debut EP. So the scene is set for the quatet’s first album proper and for the UK band to live up to their obvious promise. Produced by Paul Epworth and released via his new label Wolf Tone, the band’s timely debut album is near-on the most flawless thing you’ll hear this year. Its glistening production of dark, deep electronics, seamlessly slipping through a jungle of sounds, alternative R&B flavours and hip hop-esque beats is simply irresistible, providing

Roadrunner/UNFD

a smorgasbord of flavours for tastemakers and audiences alike. Perhaps the only arguable misstep is the omission of Psylla as the opener, with Flip here instead, occupying identical sonic-space but forgoing the upfront familiarity. That’s minor nit-picking though, as the track does introduce the hypnotic repetition and spark of what can only be described as a feeling of sexual energy that ebbs and flows as the album progresses. While ZABA is stuffed full of 11 clanky stunners, it’s the way it plays out as a whole that’s the true triumph – utterly killer. Ben Preece

Frontman Joel Birch will happily tell you that this record is for him. Us fans got ours with The Amity Affliction’s 2012 LP Chasing Ghosts; Let The Ocean Take Me, instead, is his chance to purge, the screamer revealing more details regarding his personal battles than ever before. Whether he’s singing about neardeath experiences on Pittsburgh, the pressures of being an antisuicide advocate on Don’t Lean On Me or his own depressive ways on F.M.L., you’re swallowed by Birch’s emotions. Aquatic metaphors tie the lyrics together naturally, while the messages are delivered via genuine anthems, heard no clearer than on closing pair Forest Fire and Give It All. Recent addition Dan Brown (Confession) seems to have brought the best out of longstanding songwriters Ahren Stringer (bass) and Troy Brady

JACK WHITE

FIRST AID KIT

Third Man/Sony

Sony

Jack White is Jack White is Jack White. He has his distinct sound that he will play, album after album after album, and no one will complain because he is Jack fucking White and he can do whatever he pleases. Also that distinct sound? Love it. Lazaretto is an easy addition to his canon; it sounds like a Jack White album because it is a Jack White album, nothing more, nothing less.

There was a whiff of novelty act when these Swedish sisters singing country-tinged folk music with a YouTube hits-heavy cover of a Fleet Foxes song first appeared in 2008, but any cynicism quickly evaporated when people heard their songs and fell in love with those voices and harmonies. Three albums down the track and they’re still singing strongly, but they now sound very vanilla in the sea of folk-pop that has permeated the musical world.

22 • THE MUSIC • 4TH JUNE 2014

(guitar). And while there aren’t loads of surprises here – you’ll hear voices from Sunshine Beach State High School in choir mode, while orchestral production touches play on the epic nature of these songs and the dramatic themes behind them. – Amity have never claimed to be experimental mavericks. The Gympie quintet have a distinct sound, they do what they do incredibly well, and on Let The Ocean Take Me they’ve jacked up all those trademarks – the ruthless breakdowns, soaring clean choruses and emotional keyboard lines – to deliver a powerful record that adds to an already rock-solid catalogue. Benny Doyle

Stay Gold

Lazaretto

On this Record Store Day release, you see him back to the Americana of 2012’s Blunderbuss, including an organ jam-out and shrill guitar lines, starting out with opener Three Women. We’re immediately set on a path towards blues-rock with the jumping piano-line and White’s signature vox. Grooving bass on the title track helps it stand out as a step into newer territory. It’s the album highlight, combining aspects of his signature style with synth effects and a wailing guitar solo.

★★★½

★★★ Would You Fight For My Love? is the first to go full-kilter White Stripes in terms of vox and melody, with added haunting back-up vocals. Just One Drink has the female-male rockabilly vocal we’re now familiar with from that era, while That Black Bat Licorice harks back lyrically, and with the sounds and harmonies it’s alt-rock finessed and made pure. Lazaretto is an album that blurs – whether between blues piano lines and Americana guitar, or between songs of women lusted over and women conquered. There’s a lot to like here. Hannah Story

Stay Gold feels tame and reserved, safe in its ambition and its delivery. There’s a sheen that covers the album – polish that removes any grit and reality from the music in the name of production quality and market segment. On their earlier releases the acoustic guitar was more localised in the mix allowing the vocals to take centre-stage. Here everything is sucked into a vortex of strings and billowing reverb, clearly designed to take

★★★ them into the same market as The Lumineers, Mumford & Sons and the more indie-leaning sound of Of Monsters & Men. In that sense they’ve achieved their goal. For all its homogenisation there are still songs that fight their way through. Cedar Lane possesses a wonderful lilting melody while Heaven Knows is a fun, pop-fuelled hoedown with a screamed “straight to hell” in the middle that will surprise some listeners with its sudden display of emotion. There’s really little to dislike here, but in the hands of a different producer, one who might reinvigorate their sound, it could have been so much more. Chris Familton

The Music (Brisbane) Issue #41  
The Music (Brisbane) Issue #41  

The Music is a free, weekly gloss magazine of newsstand quality. It features a diverse range of content including arts, culture, fashion, li...