New Music Releases 29th April 2016

Plants and Animals – Waltzed in from the Rumbling

The Boxer Rebellion – Ocean by Ocean

Plush – Please

Melt Yourself Down – Last Evenings on Earth

RM Hubbert – Telling the Trees

Meadowlark – Paraffin

Jaye Bartell – Light Enough

Travis – Everything at Once

Wrong – Wrong

The Jayhawks – Paging Mr. Proust

Brian Eno – The Ship

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Nonagon Infinity

Haken – Affinity

John Doe – The Westerner

Spookyland – Beauty Already Beautiful

Museum Mouth – Popcorn Fish Guinea Pig

Lera Lynn – Resistor

Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid

Pity Sex – White Hot Moon

Kyle Craft – Dolls of Highland

Britta Phillips – Luck or Magic

Rogue Wave – Delusions of Grand Fur

Dowsing – Okay

Holy Ghost! – Crime Cutz

Mo Kenney – In My Dreams

Tim Moxam – Soft Summer

Dal Niente & Deerhoof – Balter/Saunier

Fog – For Good

Rob Zombie – The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser

Wake Island – Out

Say Yes – Real Life Trash Mag

 

New Music Releases 15th April 2016 #MusicIsEverything #NewMusic

Greater Pyrenees – Greater Pyrenees

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – PersonA

Solids – Else

Eskimeaux – Year of the Rabbit

Kevin Morby – Singing Saw

Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop – Love Letter For Fire

Ashley Shadow – Ashley Shadow

Jenny Berkel – Pale Moon Kid

PJ Harvey – The Hope Six Demolition Project

Sturgill Simpson – A Sailor’s Guide to Earth

Suuns – Hold/Still

Bear Hands – You’ll Pay For This

Blaqk Audio – Material

Free Cake For Every Creature – Talking Quietly of Anything With You

Cate Le Bon – Crab Day

Horse Latitudes – Primal Gnosis

Lush – Blind Spot (EP)

John Carpenter – Lost Themes II

Santana – Santana VI

Har Mar Superstar – Best Summer Ever

The Coathangers – Nosebleed Weekend

Dave Harrington Group – Become Alive

Mr. Lif – Don’t Look Down

J Dilla – The Diary

Surgical Meth Machine – Surgical Meth Machine

 

 

 

Gig Review: @Telemanmusic & @Oscar_Scheller at @ThePortlandArms , Cambridge, 9th April 2016 #Teleman #MusicIsEverything

Teleman, The Portland Arms, Cambridge, 9th April 2016

I had been waiting for the opportunity to see Teleman for two years (almost to the day!), since I first heard “23 Floors Up” on BBC 6 Music in April 2014. The fact that the opportunity came in the form of a photo pass for their gig at an unusual, delightful local venue almost floored me. I was ecstatic that I could finally see one of my favourite new bands, whose debut album “Breakfast” is virtually perfect and who have just released album number two, “Brilliant Sanity”, which is definitely giving the first a run for its money!

Up first was the perfectly matched support act, Oscar, whose music is elevating and striking. Oscar Scheller delivers his rich, sonorous bounty with a swagger and a seemingly everlasting grin. Reassuringly warm guitars couple with a deep sincerity conveyed in the meld of melancholy and rapture, and the entire set was sprinkled with conversational drum beats, to the point bass sounds and tantalising keyboard effects. Blissful.

At last, it was time for Teleman. Setting their own gear up, they took approximately a nano-second to arrive on stage for the start of the gig, which was quite surreal. I was elated that I was seeing a quality band in such a tiny venue.

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There was a discerning, largely mature crowd present (apart from the young teens standing next to me with their parents – after a lengthy chat with them, I came to the conclusion they were possibly the band’s biggest fans!), entirely composed of genuine music lovers who were extremely vocal in their appreciation from start to finish.

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The configuration of the audience is no surprise when you really feel the sense of advancement with this band. They have a confidence that you generally find in bands who have been around much longer – these guys are serious about what they do, there is absolutely no denying that.

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From the get-go, Teleman were tight, together and perfectly locked into each other’s musicality. There was an almost magical, intimate wash of gentle sound and pastel colours throughout their live performance that brought to mind the incredible paintings of Georges Seurat.

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Teleman didn’t waver once during the entire set, which was composed of their well-known and much-loved songs such as Cristina (during which the band’s devotees caused a moment of amusement by getting a bit over-zealous with the lyrics when the baton was passed to them!), 23 Floors Up and Steam Train Girl alongside tunes from their new album, with the distinctly breath-taking songs Glory Hallelujah, Tangerine and Fall in Time among others.

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My companion last night is someone who knows what it’s like to be in bands and to tour extensively. He was equally as enthralled as I was for the evening, commenting that it’s an incredible skill to have the restraint that Teleman show in their music, holding back from letting the songs run away with them and still keeping the listeners hanging onto every note and word. This, to me, is particularly true because singer Thomas Sanders doesn’t quite engage with the band’s onlookers, but it just goes to show it’s the music that reaches out and not banter.

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Shrouded in something akin to a Valium haze, the gig was full to overflowing with lilting, hypnotic moments of dream-like joy. I departed afterwards feeling completely content and lifted following an evening of sublime live music.

Set list:

Strange Combinations

Skeleton Dance

Brilliant Sanity

23 Floors Up

English Architecture

Tangerine

Cristina

Fall in Time

Drop Out

Glory Hallelujah

Steam Train Girl

Encore:

Dusseldorf

No control

New Music Releases 8th April 2016 #NewMusic#MusicIsEverything

Frightened Rabbit – Painting of a Panic Attack

Teleman – Brilliant Sanity

Woods – City Sun Eater in the River of Light

Zakk Wylde – Book of Shadows II

Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals – Call it What it is

Holy Fever – The Wreckage

Peter Wolf – A Cure for Loneliness

The Lumineers – Cleopatra

Tim Hecker – Love Streams

Ben Watt – Fever Dream

Eliza and the Bear – Eliza and the Bear

Summer Flake – Hello Friends

Youthless – This Glorious No Age

Colin Stetson – SORROW

Hayes Carll – Lovers and Leavers

Deftones – Gore

Filter – Crazy Eyes

The Dandy Warhols – Distortland

Andrew Jones – No

Katerine – Le Film

Gallant – Ology

M83 – Junk

Parquet Courts – Human Performance

A Place to Bury Strangers – Kicking Out Jams

Lights – Midnight Machines

Mayer Hawthorne – Man About Town

 

Gig Review: @TheCatEmpire at @O2InstituteBham 2nd April 2o16 #TheCatEmpire

Black Peaches

Whoever supports The Cat Empire has to be a band with enough colour and vibrancy to get their crowd up and dancing –  basically, to get them in the party mood!

I don’t know who found Black Peaches and hadn’t heard of them before, but it was an inspired choice of support act. The lead singer looked like he was ready for a day at the seaside, and everyone loves a day at the beach, right?!

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They started playing and were immediately impressive – a dignified groove interspersed with shocks of prog rock, complete with two keyboards and at one point a theremin played by the excellent guitarist.

The audience were mostly well into it – it was just a shame about those who chattered throughout the set, for them mostly as they missed a treat!

Sublime bass, bongos and other percussion enhanced the drums throughout. Their set finished with honky tonk sounds on the keys, a flourish which met a sudden end, all of which was met with very approving cheers and applause from those listening. I bet I’m not the only one trying to find out more about this band post-gig!

The Cat Empire

One of the reasons I go to gigs is to find that moment in time where I am so lost in the music and the atmosphere that I forget about the drudgery and stresses of life. It’s a rare occurrence, but every now and again the band and the audience merge into one being and everything outside those four walls ceases to exist. That happened at the O2 Institute, Birmingham when those eminently cheerful Aussies The Cat Empire graced the stage as part of their “Rising With the Sun” tour.

From the very start of the gig, every single person in the place was moving, even if they were seated. The Cat Empire’s music is infectious; it gets into the veins, causes bodies to dance and voices to sing – if this was a disease, it would be the very best kind!

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The horns section is so SO good – bright and beautiful like a chorus of birds on a summer’s day. The three guys prove this during their relay – ever decreasing circles both musically and physically, culminating in a fight for the microphone and a brilliant onslaught of brass!

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The keyboard style of Ollie McGill reminds me of that of Rick Wakeman – psychedelic, man! His solo was absolutely relentless, with a constant beat behind it. He later appeared on stage alone for the encore and went into notes immediately recognisable as the beginnings of The Wine Song. Suffice to say the crowd went wild!

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Felix and Henry were both the life and soul of the party, especially the ever-smiling Felix, who I think wanted to be in the audience as he could see the rapturous looks on their faces. He ensured he made them part of the show by giving them access to his microphone so that they could be the band’s voice for a while.

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Will’s drum solo was like an incoming thunderstorm complete with lightning effect (the lights were superb all night, by the way) – holy shit, that was loud! The master of the decks, Jumps, was on fire too – he had his solo moment of glory, and never before have I been impressed by someone’s ability to scratch records – his hands almost appeared to be invisible they moved so fast!

For the entirety of the night, the crowd seemed to be moving as one, like an ocean wave ebbing and flowing from and to shore. There was a pregnant lady standing next to me, and I have a feeling her baby was enjoying it as much as the rest of us – judging by her facial expressions, I’m sure he or she was joining in on the dancing!

 

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This gig had its own intricate pattern, constantly and seamlessly changing like a kaleidoscope image, like the ones depicted all evening as part of the stage backdrop. The band merge effortlessly between genres and provide a warm glow comparable only to the best hug of your life.

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I reckon every night’s a party for this band and they don’t need drink or drugs to have their high jinks! The guys were enjoying the simple yet all-encompassing love for music along with their audience. I could feel the joy and love emanating from every breath each individual took. It’s almost like a religion, but so much better – worship of music is something I’d definitely sign up for.

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Rarely have I been so genuinely happy and comfortable on my own at a gig, and also felt free to let go, dance and have much-needed jollity. I didn’t wipe the smile off my face the whole night, and truly was lost in the music, as is my aim.

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It always has a lasting effect when music fills a room so completely, like a heart fills with love in the most romantic of moments. Music is indeed the language of us all.

Album Review: @Telemanmusic – “Brilliant Sanity”@moshimoshimusic #Teleman #BrilliantSanity #MoshiMoshiRecords

Teleman caused quite a stir with their debut album “Breakfast” in 2014. Kooky melodies and fluent harmonies co-starred alongside tender, emotive compositions, and in its entirety became an irresistible, intricate creation.

Although I adore that album, I have nevertheless been keenly anticipating something new from Teleman for some time now. I was, therefore, overjoyed when their new album “Brilliant Sanity” landed in my email inbox. There was also a slight amount of apprehension – I hoped that this new album would at the very least match the endearing qualities that “Breakfast” possesses, but also that it would show progression and growth.

Written in their Homerton studio and recorded in South London with producer Dan Carey (who has worked with artists such as Bat for Lashes, Kate Tempest and Nick Mulvey), Teleman approached “Brilliant Sanity” from a different angle, with the desire to bring songwriting to the fore being the motivation for the album. Carey brought a new perspective, too, encouraging the band to incorporate the fundamental synthesiser sounds of the Mellotron, the Roland Jupiter and the Korg Trident. This new outlook and opportunity to experiment was grasped immediately, providing the guys with the ability to be uninhibited in turning their vision into something tangible.

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Album opener “Dusseldorf” has whimsical, eccentric pop moves reminiscent of the likes of A-ha, and shoe-horns in a Pet Shop Boy here and there. It’s almost disorientating in its electronic dreaminess.

This takes us effortlessly into the next track, “Fall in Time”, which consists of curious, poetic lyrics sensitively placed within an understated, elegant tune and wistful harmonies.

The standout track from the album for me is “Glory Hallelujah”. A rousing but ever-so slightly dark tune coupled with a certain bitterness and regret lyrically. Very clever, and definitely my kind of thing.

Collectively, these songs give me an image of Weezer fumbling around a synthesiser shop whilst co-existing with New Order and harnessing a sanitised 21st century Gary Newman sensibility. At the same time, they’ve yet again skilfully avoided coming across as twee or nursery rhyme like, which is always a risk with sweet sounding vocals and music.

“Tangerine” is another work of genius – keyboards emanating Ancient Chinese sounding music (I like to think they had a Guzheng in the studio) with a sumptuous, rich bassline and perfect interjections of electronica. Sublime.

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“Brilliant Sanity” is chock full of lush soundscapes, with snifters of Kraftwerk at times and sounds sentimentally akin to Sgt. Pepper’s era Beatles at other points. In their recording breaks, Teleman made for the roof and used Dan’s telescope to set their eyes upon the night sky. “It had,” Sanders says, “a very calming and settling influence.” This is evident in the new music, where there is both an angelic innocence and a mature space surrounding each song. It has met, nay exceeded, all of my expectations.

“Brilliant Sanity” will be released on 8th April via Moshi Moshi Records, and you can pre-order it here with an instant download of “Dusseldorf” and “Fall in Time”.

Teleman are currently touring – click here to grab tickets to one of the following shows:

2016 UK Tour
Saturday 2nd April – Wardrobe, Leeds^
Sunday 3rd April – Think Tank, Newcastle^
Monday 4th April – King Tuts, Glasgow^
Tuesday 5th April – Gorilla, Manchester^
Thursday 7th April – Sugarmill, Stoke^
Friday 8th April – Rainbow, Birmingham*
Saturday 9th April – Portland Arms, Cambridge*
Monday 11th April – Open, Norwich^
Tuesday 12th April – Bodega, Nottingham^
Wednesday 13th April – Old Market, Brighton^
Thursday 14th April – Koko, London^
Friday 15th April – Marble Factory, Bristol^
Monday 18th April – Point Ephemere, Paris
Tuesday 19th April – La Peniche, Lille
Friday 22nd April – Paradiso, Amsterdam
Saturday 23rd April – Molotow, Hamburg
Sunday 24th April – Vega Ideal Bar, Copenhagen
Monday 25th April – Privatclub, Berlin
Tuesday 26th Aprlil – Strom, Munich
Thursday 28th April – Chelsea, Vienna
Friday 29th April – Tender Club, Florence
Saturday 30th April – Covo Club, Bologna
Sunday 1st May – Splashdown Festival, Pesaro
Tuesday 3rd May – Ziegel Oh Lac, Zurich
Wednesday 4th May – La Graviere, Geneva
19 – 21st May – The Great Escape, Brighton
27 – 29 – Scarborough Scarborough Fair Arts & Music

* Oscar supports
^ NZCA Lines supports

You can follow Teleman on Twitter and Facebook.

Gig Review: @wolfalicemusic by @jenbren1976 , O2 Forum, Kentish Town, 27th March 2016

Wolf Alice must have been feeling the weight of lofty expectations and quite a lot of pressure on night 2 of their sold-out 4-night residency in the O2 Forum, Kentish Town. This is their home territory, a 4-night sell-out and alas their bass player Theo Ellis was sick-noted due to a swollen elbow.  This resulted in a last-minute change to the support line-up where Kent duo Slaves were drafted in. Mercifully myself and my fellow attendee deliberately arrived too late to see them and got to the venue in time to see the final support act Bloody Knees. The young, grungy Cambridge quartet had no problem pleasing the crowd and filling the cavernous venue with their dirty guitar sounds amongst highly dextrous melody.

Thankfully the stage times and tour staff were quick and efficient in clearing the stage and the gap between BK and WA was very short, enabling Ellie and the boys to enter stage at precisely 9.30.   Strobic torch lighting was used beautifully, giving lead singer Ellie Rowsell a suitably iconic rock n’ roll silhouette.  Despite Theo’s absence, Gengahr’s bassist John Victor did a sterling job at standing in and there was no loss in power or audio quality. In fact, WA were impressive audibly, particularly drummer Joel Amey who performed superbly throughout.

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The first track performed was “Your Love’s Whore”, a staggering, climatic and mature track from a band who are unfairly labelled as “youth-only”.  It sets the scene nicely for those who are unfamiliar with the band’s work (as my partner-in-crime was).  If I was to generalise their sound, anyone familiar with sub-grunge bands of the first half of the 90s such as Belly, Lush, Veruca Salt, Breeders et al would be on to a good starting point. However, Ellie Rowsell’s lyrics and vocals show a sophistication and maturity as well as confidence beyond her years.  Her effortless stage presence is impressive – it almost feels as if the very idea of her being anything else other than her calm, ethereal self is ludicrous, no Gallagher-style uncouthness, no need to flash flesh – just sing or scream the songs and thank the audience.

Curiously, the band commence their set with 3 of their most popular tracks, following up with “You’re A Germ” which is a daft few minutes of screamy but enjoyable mosh pit nonsense – admittedly it’s my least favourite WA song and I was relieved to see them get this out of the way early. Wonderful summery Madchester-style pop followed in the form of “Freazy” – gloriously self-referencing the band name in its own chorus. Who needs marketing gimmicks when the music can do the talking? And indeed, as the song marvellously states – “You can hate us all you want but it don’t mean nothing at all”.

The set appeared to zoom by, only lasting an hour due to the band having one album’s worth of material.  However, this was an hour full of confidence, hypnotic and layered guitar sounds and the always-judgemental mosh pit were clearly in full approval. Mellow moments ensued during “Swallowtail”, crooned by drummer Amey and Ellie was happy to take a backseat at this point, again showing zero ego issues apparent within the band. The encore gave us a truly sublime version of “Turn to Dust”, an opiated softly strummed, hypnotic yet tender reflection on mortality, all the more touching from the mind of one so young.  Ellie’s vocals became more soprano-esque at this point and didn’t once waver. The final track was their previous set-opener Giant Peach which hugely satisfied the crowd, and towards the end the big guns were pulled out which confirmed Wolf Alice’s soon-to-be-mainstream status – the confetti guns, that is. This now appears to be not-so-secret record industry code for bands who are about to embark on the Big Time so no doubt arena tours will beckon once 2016’s festival season concludes.

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Overall, an incredibly impressive and quietly confident show where Wolf Alice have proven themselves to be a band who let the music do the talking.  I’m not known for my predictive skills but the US would no doubt welcome this band with open arms. World domination awaits… you have been warned.

Set List:

  1. Your Love’s Whore
  2. You’re a Germ
  3. Freazy
  4. Bros
  5. Lisbon
  6. 90 Mile Beach
  7. Silk
  8. The Wonderwhy
  9. Storms
  10. Swallowtail
  11. Fluffy
  12. She
  13. Moaning Lisa Smile

Encore:

  1. Turn to Dust
  2. Blush
  3. Giant Peach

 

New Music Releases 1st April 2016 #NewMusic #MusicIsEverything

Woodpigeon – T R O U B L E

Kyson – A Book of Flying

John Congleton – Until the Horror Goes

Explosions in the Sky – The Wilderness

Mungolian Jet Set – A City So Convenient

John Kaada & Mike Patton – Bacteria Cult

Cheap Trick – Bang Zoom Crazy… Hello

Ash Koosha – I AKA I

Yeasayer – Amen and Goodbye

Trembling Bells – Wild Majestic Aire

Tacocat – Lost Time

Mogwai – Atomic

Bibio – A Mineral Love

Terrace Martin – Velvet Portraits

Moderat – III

Mike & The Melvins – Three Men and a Baby

Laura Gibson – Empire Builder

Hammock – Everything and Nothing

Bankruptcy – For the Future

Audacity – Hyper Vessels

Pet Shop Boys – Super

Andrew Bird – Are You Serious

Three Trapped Tigers – Silent Earthling

The Last Shadow Puppets – Everything You’ve Come to Expect

Starwalker – Starwalker

Operators – Blue Wave

Moonsorrow – Jumalten Aika

Graves at Sea – The Curse That Is

Autolux – Pussy’s Dead

Weezer – White Album

Tombs – All Empires Fall

The Heavy – Hurt & The Merciless

Frankie Cosmos – Next Thing

Black Mountain – IV

Leon Vynehall – Rojus

Com Truise – Silicon Tare

Bleached – Welcome the Worms

Teen Suicide – It’s the Big Joyous Celebration, Let’s Stir the Honeypot

iamthemorning – Lighthouse

Album Review: Meilyr Jones – 2013 @meilyrjones #MusicIsEverything

 

Meilyr Jones – 2013

I get the feeling that Meilyr Jones doesn’t care what anyone thinks. Like most people, he’s had his fair share of heartache, but he’s gone away, created exactly what he felt inclined to and has come back brighter. With an entire album in tow. That’s no mean feat when you’re dealing with the sorrow surrounding both a band and a relationship breakup.

“2013” is Meilyr’s debut album (out now on Moshi Moshi Records) and has been released following a string of notable support slots and a few festival dates, for which he has received much positivity from punters and pundits alike. Incidentally, I saw him when he supported Richard Hawley in Cambridge – I had never heard of him before that night, and was absolutely mesmerised by his musical versatility and struck by his genial manner and his humour. I went away knowing I would be procuring his music.

I could make all sorts of comparisons about Meilyr to a variety of musicians past and present, but the truth is that this gentleman is altogether unique. He has produced an album which could easily be transferred to theatre or film as the soundtrack to a story of love, heartbreak and the return to a healed mind and heart. The album in its entirety has a dramatic structure and a storyboard in which I became immersed from the very first note.

I’m struggling to write about this music without showing my emotions. I can identify with so much of what Jones sings about, to the extent that I was reduced to tears whilst listening to “Love” and “Featured Artist”. I don’t know whether it was his words, or his heartfelt manner, or the fact he is entrusting us to listen to his innermost thoughts with no fear and without a murmur of wanting anything in return but whatever it is, this music has evoked sentimentality in my ice cold heart.

Jones’ music is indefinable. He enlisted an orchestra and recorded live with them, bringing in extra breadth by including a harpsichord and a recorder in the mix.

He also experiments on “Rain in Rome” – stunning vocals that conjure an image of being on a Hawaiian beach are rapidly overcome by the sounds of a thunderstorm, which is met with rapturous cheers and applause by a crowd we didn’t even know was there. This could have been considered a bit twee and unnecessary, but I think it provides an insight into just a few moments of Meilyr’s time in Rome. Without wanting to read between the lines too much, maybe he’s telling us about something beautiful which can quickly meet with disaster, but that we can see beauty and amusement within the things that don’t go our way. Maybe it’s ok for me to believe that, even if I am over-thinking things. After all, perception of art is a very personal thing.

I’ve been waiting for someone to come along who isn’t afraid of doing something a little bit different to express themselves. A new perspective is inspirational in itself, and if we can all learn something from the way Jones dealt with his difficulties, then perhaps it can be as simple as the words he beings with in the uncommonly eloquent “Refugees”:

“Get up, switch off, switch off your television.”

Album review: Lust for Youth – “Compassion”. @Lust4Youth #MusicIsEverything

Lust for Youth – Compassion

Scrupulously clean synths with those fashionable in the 80s thick, suppressed vocals – think Dave Gahan, Jaz Coleman, Bernard Sumner… if that’s your thing, then maybe, just maybe, Lust for Youth will be right up your street.

With their new album “Compassion”, they somehow manage to fuse ambient, post-punk and dance music whilst simultaneously veer between feelings of ecstasy and melancholy.

Easing us into the album, “Stardom” is an effortless listen reminiscent of a time when music was shocking in its unprecedented uniqueness. This band is undeniably influenced by the likes of New Order and M83, and there are definite nods to these celebrated masters of all things electronica.

“Sudden Ambitions” feels delicate and weightless, but on the other hand is brooding and profound lyrically. The vocal layers are beautifully put together, and are positioned carefully amongst buoyant yet ethereal melodies.

The bewitching “Better Looking Brother” resonates with my every day thoughts, and the wistful tones of “Display” is a veritable pillar of strength.

“Compassion” is a single shining star on the darkest of nights.