You're Smiling Now But We'll All Turn Into Demons - Contact High Wit Da Demons (***)
The problem with naming your band You’re Smiling Now But We’ll All Turn Into Demons is that, even if you subsequently shorten it to ‘Demons’, you ain't leaving a word-strapped reviewer much space to write about the record. So I’ll be brief: fourth album Contact High Wit Da Demons is a continuation of the Portsmouth four-piece’s riff 'n' roll psych rock jams, and while proficient, its horizons are too narrow to turn the heads of anyone not frequently lug-deep in this kinda thing already. Lead track 2009’s title is a bit of a red herring - its raw feedback-drone, fret fiddling and drawled vocals sound anything but contemporary - but while you might have heard all of these sounds in roughly these shapes, Demons have managed to successfully squeeze a little more juice out of their vintage influences. A measured recommendation then, and with several words left to sp…
out september 21st
Damon & Naomi - The Sub Pop Years (****)
Following the demise of Galaxie 500, Damon (Krukowski) & Naomi (Yang) stuck together, lowered the volume and continued in a similarly dreamy mould. Specialising in serenely soporific lullabies, the only challenge to the tranquil calm they create is likely to be listeners’ attempts to muffle their heartbeats lest they drown out the subdued somnambulism. The Sub Pop Years draws from each of their albums with the label, from The Wonderful World Of and Playback Singers through their work with Japanese psychedelics Ghost and on to their San Sebastian live release (represented here by a sugar-sweet rendition of New York City amongst others). Their collaborations with Ghost are strongest – Judah and the Maccabees is teary perfection, while the oneiric Great Wall is eight drifting minutes that feels like two – and while their minimalism won’t appeal to everyone, this is an excellent introduction to the duo’s hushed charms.
out september 7th
Strike The Colours - Seven Roads (***)
To strike the colours at sea is to accept defeat, to surrender, to give up. As far as nom de guerre’s go, Reindeer Section alum Jenny Reeve has picked one laden with dramatic possibilities and inherent poeticism. Seven Roads builds on the successes of debut The Face That Sunk A Thousand Ships with ten enchanting narratives of love, loss and plenty more besides. On Cold Hands, Craig B (formerly of Aereogramme) provides an earthy counterpoint to Reeve's crystal cadence, but otherwise it’s her soulful delivery and cutting directness that shine brightest: the final syllable of the line “If I don’t belong to anybody, let my legs walk to the edge of the cliff” could stop you in your tracks. The only criticism to be made is perhaps of a lack of variety – tracks work individually but altogether it’s tough to comfortably digest. Nonetheless, Reeve once again proves herself a refined vocalist and composer who sounds anything but resigned.
out september 28th