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ALBUM REVIEWS | the AU review
AU ABROAD

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ALBUM REVIEWS

Album Review: Adam Lambert - The Original High (2015 LP)

Adam Lambert, the runner-up for the eighth season of American Idol, returns; following the success for his first two albums For Your Entertainment and Trespassing and now, the commercial success of his latest single "Ghost Town". I take a listen to his third album The Original High.

Album Review: FFS - FFS (2015 LP)

If you’ve never heard of FFS fret not, because chances are you’ve heard of at least one half of them – Scottish alternative heroes Franz Ferdinand, or new wave pioneers Sparks. The two groups have come together to record this self-titled LP which had been in the works for over 10 years, although the finished product may not leave you feeling as though the wait was worth it.

Album Review: Desaparecidos - Payola (2015 LP)

Thirteen years ago Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes) came together with four other musicians in Nebraska under the name Desaparecidos (meaning 'the disappeared' in Spanish) to put together an album, Read Music/Speak Spanish. Read Music/Speak Spanish was a fuzzy, loud, angry emo-punk record that was fairly at odds with the sometimes-esoteric indie-folk Oberst was best known for. It was a good album – a great album – but pretty soon after Desaparecidos went their separate ways and it seemed pretty likely that the whole thing was done. Read Music/Speak Spanish became a kind of indie cred touchstone, and Desaparecidos seemed to fade away. Until this year, when, over a decade after their first album, Desaparecidos announced Payola.

Album Review: Wasted Wanderers "Goddamn Anything" (2015 EP)

I would open this review with a line like, 'I've known Wasted Wanderers frontman Dusty Stephensen for some years now...', but this could generally apply to anyone who has had even a passing interest in the Adelaide music scene at some point in the last few years. Whether it's been in his work with Valkyries, Skies, Angels of Gung-Ho or even Grannyflat (yes, admit you remember that far back), Stephensen has been a consistently working musician and songwriter who may have finally found the perfect groove with this current project.

Album Review: Slaves - Are You Satisfied (2015 LP)

I love British punk, maybe more than any other genre. The accent, the loud, fuzzy guitars, the angry post-Thatcherite values – I love it all. I was raised on The Clash and Souxsie And The Banshees, and it's just kind of lodged in my brain ever since. The British punk scene still seems – at least to an outsider – to still be going strong, probably even stronger under the new Conservative austerity measures (it's hard to not be mad when the Bedroom Tax is killing pensioners). I'm not entirely sure exactly what Slaves are angry about on Are You Satisfied? – capitalism maybe? - but whatever it is, it makes for a perfectly serviceable, aggressive Brit-punk record.

Album Review: Beast & Flood - Lanugo (2015 LP)

Sydney three-piece Beast & Flood float somewhere between alternative rock and post-punk, with some emo and post-hardcore feels in there as well. But they don’t fit perfectly into any of these labels, and as such their debut album, Lanugo, is an exciting prospect; an idea-driven, genre-fusing foray of surging musical bouts and super tight atmospheric jams. It’s an album bursting with elaborate instrumentation, where every arrangement is pushed to the brink and pulled off with seamless dexterity. This pedal-to-the-medal, all-in approach sees Beast & Flood reach some scintillating heights, but compelling throughout Lanugo is its visceral intensity and full-throttle sense of purpose.

Album Review: Citizen - Everybody is Going To Heaven (2015 LP)

Citizen has always been pretty renowned in this new generation of pop punk. While folks like A Day To Remember and The Wonder Years have their roots firmly in the world of relatability and catchiness, Citizen has always gone more for melancholy and…catchiness. Ok, so pop punk has never been the deepest of genres, and aside from a couple of outliers (such as the aforementioned The Wonder Years or Say Anything) there really isn’t much a band can experiment with in the genre after they’ve found their sound. Citizen had found their sound a long while back, stripped down and just generally a bummer. You wouldn’t expect much different from what is their third album Everybody is Going to Heaven - but you would be wrong.

Album Review: The Babe Rainbow - Self-Titled (2015 EP)

They’re all the good things. They’re pizza. They’re a cosmic swirl in your ears that’s going to radiate down your fingertips and shoot lasers out of your fingernails making space and time a bright place. Or at least, that’s what these guys would probably tell you they are – they’re The Babe Rainbow. The official self-titled EP has been released and they’re celebrating these four tunes with another killer tour starting in Brisbane and working its way down to Melbourne.

Album Review: Seth Sentry - Strange New Past (2015 LP)

When it comes to hip hop, lately I have been hard pressed to find an Australian album that I am content to sit the whole way through without skipping songs. Consistently it’s the same drawl, 90’s beats, recycled lyrics and a bogan Australian accent rhyming every second word with a curse word. That was, until I stumbled across Melbourne MC Seth Sentry’s Strange New Past with witty lyrics, amazing production and a barrage of emotions this album has gone far and beyond.

Album Review: Kill The Waves - The One That Could Have Been (2015 LP)

Kill The Waves is one of the many UK bands producing music at the moment that could be loved globally. Paired with a sound that only continues to improve they’re definitely one to watch this year. They have a unique sound that is a total game changer in Electric Indie Pop. Find out what I thought of their latest album The One That Could Have Been...

Album Review: The Getaway Plan - Dark Horses (2015 LP)

If there's one thing I admire about The Getaway Plan, it's their resilience that has brought them a successful and flourishing music career. Since the crowdfunding of Dark Horses started, it's pretty amazing to have seen so much support that was brought by their loyal fanbase. The band made a brave decision on leaving their record label because they felt like they weren't able to showcase material that was truly theirs. Comparing to their last two albums, 2008's Other Voices, Other Rooms and 2011's Requiem, Dark Horses is their most honest and profound record to date. The most remarkable aspect of this album is how it makes you feel something. A feeling that you can't necessarily put into words. It's a journey of using music as a solace for pain, depression and misery, showcasing The Getaway Plan's token of survival from their hiatus.

Album Review: Ta-Ku - Songs To Make Up To (2015 EP)

Within the first few seconds, Perth producer/entrepreneurial barber Ta-Ku has put you into a smoothly lush atmosphere. Displaying his power over composition, Songs To Make Up To is a blissful flow of samples and vocals that evolves so naturally that it goes beyond pleasurable listening. Eliciting such a level of emotion where only half the tracks feature lyrics shows what a well thought out production can achieve, and brings it to a fine art.

Album Review: Jones Jnr. - Step On Sleep (2015 EP)

Hip-Hop and Soul in Australia is currently in safe hands. On the back of absolutely massive releases from Australian acts in the past few years (Seth Sentry, Hilltop Hoods, Thundamentals, Illy), there is a new player in the game, and their spin on the genre has me excited. And after listening to their debut EP Step On Sleep, I’m sure you’ll also be pretty excited about Sydney/ Blue Mountains act Jones Jnr.

Album Review: Active Child - Mercy (2015 LP)

It’s been 4 years since Pat Grossi aka Active Child released his critically acclaimed debut album You Are All I See. 2013 saw him release EP Rapor, which exhibited a significantly more upbeat electronic feel and featured the likes of Ellie Goulding and Mikky Echo. His latest album Mercy takes a step back to the more acoustic elements of You Are All I See, and maybe even a step further into a new sound altogether for Grossi.

Album Review: Nate Ruess - Grand Romantic (2015 LP)

Has anyone checked whether Nate Ruess was a theatre kid? Every project he's involved with has been getting steadily more bombastic and theatrical since The Format. His solo album, Grand Romantic, is theatrical verging on ridiculous, but it's also weirdly charming. That might sum up everything Ruess does, actually.