This week, we showcases impressive and memorable releases from the likes of Marlon Williams, Nothing But Thieves, Laura Marling, Acceptance and Boy & Bear. A diverse bunch of albums primed and ready to revisit – hit play!
LAURA MARLING – I Speak Because I Can (2010)
By Jack Cain
This album is the bible of being a woman, which is something I am not. I feel like as a man though, I learn so much about women every time I listen to this, and I listen to it often to remind me of the power that women possess. It’s an album of unreal self-awareness and strength. Laura Marling for me, is the Joni Mitchell of now when it comes to song writing. She goes largely in the same field as Feist and Cat Power whom I also hold in high regard lyrically.
With lines like ‘I speak because I can to anyone I trust enough to listen,’ just really highlighting the modern era of oppression. It’s both sad and awakening. And impossible to ignore, or forget. It’s truly a must listen for anyone in any situation, for anyone alone, for anyone in love, it’s the album of a young girls life, and its very much hers. But she makes it yours too. It’s an album that evokes change, its not curing cancer, but its helping one of the biggest human problems ever, and that’s a lack of self-awareness. I’ll leave you with a line from “Rambling Man” – “It’s hard to accept yourself as someone you don’t desire, as someone, you don’t want to be.”
ACCEPTANCE – Phantoms (2005)
By Jana Angeles
When I was fourteen, I wasn’t very much a social person and only music was what got me through my teenage years. One band in particular I hold close to my heart is Acceptance – a five-piece outfit formed in Seattle, Washington. Their debut album, Phantoms is a record I listen to every so often if I want to feel nostalgic or need a positive boost. The band has held an impressive legacy over the years and it was the only LP they released before disbanding in 2006. You could say that Phantoms is a ‘cult’ record and you might have heard of Acceptance through your days on Myspace or if you were lurking around the AbsolutePunk (now Chorus FM) reviews.
From start to finish, you appreciate the amazing chemistry the band has in tracks such as, “So Contagious”, “The Letter” and “Over You”. The album in its entirety is anthemic and gorgeous; they also nail a perfect alternative rock and pop sound. I’m not afraid to admit that they rock my world. It’s like Jimmy Eat World and Anberlin had a baby.
NOTHING BUT THIEVES – Nothing But Thieves (2015)
By Genevieve Gao
Put a killer live presence, bold yet often simple sonics and fully immersive songwriting process into a blender and what do you get? The melting pot that’s these English rockers.
The five-piece just dropped blistering new single “Amsterdam” off their upcoming second release Broken Machine – Yeah, their debut album’s been on repeat for weeks.
Nothing But Thieves is the kind of record that doesn’t mind taking a daring leap at times, while staying deftly within the quintet’s hard rock realm at others. Tunes like “Itch” and “Ban All the Music” are quintessential bangers, with the latter translating so well live. Definitely channelling Jeff Buckley.
Those hit you so strongly in the gut that they invite you deeper, where you’ll discover the rarer gems. “Tempt You (Evocatio)”, originally written as a hard-hitting rock track, was stripped back to create a unique, sensual layer bypassing even that of “Hostage” and “Trip Switch”.
Now “Drawing Pins” may seem like an odd stand-alone tune. Yet as vocalist Conor Mason asserts in the album’s Spotify commentary, it makes complete sense within the record’s context.
Speaking of the frontman, his dynamic vocals and fluctuating falsetto are one of the few that could give Matt Bellamy’s (Muse) a run for its money. Meanwhile, Philip Blake’s bass tones tie it all together, and Dominic Craik (guitars, keyboards) really knows when to crank it up or lay it down low.
So how would I sum it all up in the end? Complete synergy.
MARLON WILLIAMS – Marlon Williams (2016)
By Sosefina Fuamoli
Marlon‘s impressive 2016 album was what first drew me to the NZ singer. His vocals had the grace of an experienced choir professional, yet his lyricism and tone indicated something darker and more heartfelt lay beneath whatever ethereal gloss came over the surface. From the chaos of “Hello Miss Lonesome” through to the yearning of “Dark Child” and the chilling “When I Was a Young Girl”, Marlon takes the listener through a heart wrenching listening experience – one that instantly won me over.
BOY & BEAR – Limit of Love (2015)
By Ruby Niemann
The Sydney folk-rock quintet’s third album Limit Of Love cruises along easily, keeping a lively enough pace that it doesn’t sink into the doldrums. It is, in short, a solid and well played third album from a band that has garnered some well-deserved attention over the course of their career.
The tone of the album is quite moody and obfuscated – ‘Showdown is insistent, the low drums and bass sounding almost malevolent up against the choral sections and the highlights of steel guitar. It makes for an interesting album, the emotions a mix of dark and light that bring each other out well. It has texture and pulse. Limit Of Love is a solid, layered album that’s well worth checking out for fans of Australian music of all ages and genres.