New Music Review – Suede, Hinds, Turin Brakes and Shearwater

We haven’t done a music review for a while so let’s get into 2016’s music scene right now. And we’ll start with … a bunch of 40-somethings.

Now I’m very unenthusiastic generally about “old” bands hanging on, but occasionally, like Blur last year, we have to recognise a band continuing to both make really good music and actually still progressing. Both of those plaudits apply to Suede whose album Night Thoughts is very good indeed. Brett Anderson’s voice is still distinctive but has more depth than it once did, and the song writing combines great tunes, chiming guitars and enough of an edge to keep today’s indie kids happy. There’s a confidence too – not many bands would start the album with a minute of so of orchestral music, before transforming into the mid-tempo ballad When You Are Young. There are perhaps a higher proportion of slower songs than once upon a time, but No Tomorrow is as anthemic as anything the band has ever done, and Tightrope is that rare thing, a rock waltz, with a Bowie-like hypnotic feel. A strong 8/10

 

Hinds, yeah, just another Spanish all female indie-rock band. They seem to come along every day! Or maybe not. Anyway, Hinds on their debut album Leave Me Alone don’t sound very Spanish, with their bouncy somewhat retro, slightly ramshackle guitar driven garage rock. It’s hard to define what makes this so much fun. The band sound like a bunch of mates messing around, like things are going to fall apart at any moment, and the singing is just about the right side of painful. And yet … it captures some basic rock and roll spirit, and they bring to mind bands from the GoGos to the Velvet Underground to the Vaccines as 12 songs zap by in 36 minutes or so. Put it this way, if my daughter was 17 again I’d be very happy if she was in a band like Hinds. 7/10.

 Turin Brakes are back with Lost Property. The band had top ten singles and albums in the early 90s, but have faded somewhat from the musical consciousness. At their peak, they fitted into the tuneful, semi-acoustic pop-rock genre along with bands like the hugely successful Travis and the slightly less so Starsailor. That is still very much their thing, and this new album is very enjoyable, bordering on the lovely in places (Martini), with an Americana feel at times, and in other places they sound strangely like Ed Sheeran is his more ballad-y moments. But there is enough going on in the songs to avoid them fading into the background music category; and I can imagine loving this as I drive back down the M1 late in the evening. 7.5/10

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