Music Reviews – September 2016

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Deap Vally – Femejism

What’s the best way to avoid the cliche, lame-o questions of being women in a band? Name your album in a way that’s going to cause confrontation from the start, challenge that bullshit patriarchal thinking and make a record that jumps out of speakers as if it’s ready to burn down the whole fucking world. Until now, Deap Vally have mined the rock duo seam in a methodical, workperson way. A few good songs but never blowing minds. On Femejism, they break free of major label shackles and get themselves into a position where they can make an independent statement. It works. Gonnawanna plays like a red hot manifesto, kicking ass down to the fade out. Post Funk gets into a tight little groove, filling out every corner with greasy guitars. Teenage Queen has enough swagger to floor ISIS in one fell swoop. This is a serious artistic statement that packs enough surprises and songwriting succulence for most bands to feel ashamed at their own lacklustre attempts. Make no mistake, Femejism pulls no punches. Buy it. 5/5deapvalley

 

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Janet Jackson – Rhythm Nation

By 1989, Janet Jackson had already shown up her brother by releasing Control in 1986 and providing the true follow-up to Thriller. Something that Michael really agonised over the rest of that decade. After MJ had dicked around with making Bad, his sister knocked out Rhythm Nation in half the time with a concept album that challenged social issues in late-eighties America. Rhythm Nation pulses with the samples, synth basslines and plenty of new jack swing thanks to the producing talents of Jam & Lewis. There’s a glimpse into what the 90s would bring for R&B, this is the blueprint right here. It’s a real legacy record. It suffers a little from a lack of editing. No album ever needs to be longer than 45 minutes, right? And in parts, it sounds as dated as 1989 can sound. But still, Janet’s talent and credibility was in ascension just as her brother started a very slow decline. Plenty of talent in that Jackson family, this record is part of that gold standard. 4/5 janetjackson

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WYFOFBATH – Technique

WYFOFBATH pick up where Dammerels left off, eyeing distant stars as their psych rocket plows further into the deepest regions of ink black space. While they’re a band that need to be seen live, due to their immense sound, it’s fun to be in charge of the volume control and attempt to decipher the cryptic lyrics within. Eyetest opens at the farthest point from this dimension, crawling out of a wormhole, tendrils sticky wet as it prepares to invade your listening space. Sinister synth sounds are augmented by guitar and glorious lo-fi drums and you are sucked into a stereophonic repetition that takes you into the dark recesses of your own subconscious. These boys aren’t fucking around. It takes you further into the void and the creepy synths scream like tormented banshees, giving their edge to the music that no analogue instrument could. There’s a real sense of macabre and malaise in these songs that stick with you for hours, days, weeks after hearing them. WYFOFBATH stir up the mud in your mind and you never quite feel the same after experiencing them for the first time. I think they take quite a lot joy from that. Those magnificent, sonic bastards.
wyfofbath

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