Fortnightly Shortbites - An Album Review Round-up (Jan 21st) 1

Fortnightly Shortbites – An Album Review Round-up (Jan 21st)

With so many new releases coming at us like an avalanche, it would be nigh on impossible to cover TWO weeks of album and EP releases, so for this edition of Fortnightly Shortbites, we are focusing on 21st January only. Once we have enough writers available to contribute to it, we will strive to cover as much as we can, two weeks at a time, but for now, here’s what was going on two weeks ago…everything here has been covered by me except the Eve Adams reissue that begins the piece, which was covered by Trev Elkin.

Eve Adams Metal Bird

Almost a year after its original self-release, the visionary label Basin Rock (home to Aoife Nessa Frances, Julie Byrne) has given Eve Adams’ delicate, understated folk-noir album a proper reissue, complete with limited Dinked vinyl bells and whistles. Not that it needed such embellishments to win us over. Metal Bird is not always an easy listen. It’s a grower and, oddly, feels both timeless and of a specific time. Sparse percussion, melancholy piano, dust bowl guitar and smokey saxophone refrains are the album’s shaky backbone, but things get interesting when it reaches out to us in other ways. Sometimes it shimmers like a 1930’s femme fatale, all silver screen leitmotifs and sweeping strings. Other times, it waltzes, carefree and alone, along sunlit avenues. But lyrically we’re never far from the haunting shadow of regret, misread emotions and grief. Adams’ dusky Oklahoman drawl breathes poetry into each oblique story, reminding us of both Hope Sandoval and Aldous Harding. Suspended in perpetual twilight, Metal Bird is the unsettling inflight soundtrack for “one more dreamer stuck inside a dream”.

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Gilmore Trail return with a new album, Impermanence, after half a dozen or so years but, you know what, it’s not really doing anything for me. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, per se, indeed the rock band’s brand of instrumental dramatics is probably better suited to soundtrack a Hollywood blockbuster and it’s quite feasible that I would enjoy it more in that context, but sitting here now in the cold light of day, completely sober and with nothing to…um…’enhance my enjoyment’, it’s a bit of a yawnfest for me. And yes, I know that’s probably harsh and it’s almost certainly better than that really, but hey, it’s been a long day and I have about a billion other albums to get through, so I’m afraid I will have to stick with my original rating of 5/10 even though I know deep down that it’s likely to grow on me and I’ll probably end up writing a letter of apology to the band…

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20 year old London rapper Scuti was one of several acts that we here at God Is In The TV chose for our Sound Of 2022 feature recently, and while I personally wasn’t one of those responsible for her inclusion, it must be said that there’s no denying her prodigious talents. On her Intoxication EP, over repetitive, minimalistic beats, her laid back tones throughout songs like her single ‘Kit Kat‘ and the musical marijuana cloud of ‘Eating‘ paint Scuti as the First Lady Of Poetic Rap. 8/10

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One album that stupefied me somewhat this month was Chris Church‘s Darling Please. Exactly why it surprised me so much, I don’t know, as Chris has put out a string of enjoyable albums, all decent at worst, and on Big Stir Records to boot, who have been remarkably consistent in releasing quality records in the classic songwriter vein – they’d have got my vote as Label Of The Year for 2021 – but Church seems to have upped it a notch here. The very nineties production – a huge wall of sound and seering guitars – made me misty eyed for bands like Buffalo Tom, Midway Still, The Gin Blossoms and even The Dylans, but there’s also a pretty prominent undercurrent of sixties jangle-pop reminiscent of The Byrds. ‘We’re Going Downtown‘ is a prime example, and anyone capable of writing a song as glorious as the CSNY-like ‘Nepenthean‘ is well worth celebrating, to my mind. 8/10

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William Russell Wallace‘s Confidence Man is an upbeat record that fuses together elements of Bruce Springsteen, Lloyd Cole and The Rolling Stones. The latter band is the most noticeable influence but it all makes for a heady mix of joyful celebration. It isn’t, let’s face it, ever going to win any prizes for originality, but sometimes it’s just nice to appreciate some pleasant feelgood melodies and that’s what you get here. My own personal favourite track is ‘The Timing‘ but it’s an easy listen throughout. 7/10

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Onsloow released their self titled debut album on January and if your thing is records that sound like Avril Lavigne‘s 15 year old sister eating chips on the beach, then this may well be for you. 4/10

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Fast Eddy‘s Take A Look is essentially AC/DC meets Status Quo with a view to sounding like Deer Tick but there’s just too much screaming on it for me to embrace it much. Oh no, hang on, that was me screaming. 5/10

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Hailing from Texas state capital Austin, Kady Rain‘s self titled album is an entertaining amalgamation of eighties synthpop, several genres of the seventies (‘Got Away‘ recalls The Runaways while opener ‘Crooked‘ is more Pointer Sisters) and the shiny pop sheen of artists like Moloko or No Doubt. But defiant in her rejection of categorisation, ‘Take Me‘ has more in common with present day contemporaries such as Carly Rae Jepsen. With so many different directions being taken, it’s actually quite difficult to fully embrace it, but such risk taking at least demands our utmost respect. 6/10

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Prolific composer Mat Andasun, whose work has featured in TV shows such as Horizon, Panorama and The Bridge, amongst others, released an intriguing curio in Full Circuit, a 22 track album of mellow electronica, the first half being narrated by Andasun himself and each track having been accompanied by animated video throughout January. The second half is essentially the same tracks with the spoken word removed. Andasun’s dreamy atmospherics conjure up images of 1970s dramas and his dreamy soundscapes are agreeable and calming. 7/10

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If you ever wondered what Bros would sound like if you trapped them in a bucket and poured water on them, look no further than Night Call, the new album by Years & Years. To be fair, the songs are pretty catchy, but so is Covid, and I don’t want that either. “Yeah but we’re number one on the album chart“, I can hear them saying, middle finger raised vigorously in my direction. Which is fair enough. But they still sound like Peter Andre knitting and yodelling at the same time. 3/10

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Water Your Garden by Magic City Hippies is an easy enough listen, recalling Barry White on spoken word opening track ‘Garden Fiya‘ and purveying chilled out, soulful retro vibes on numbers like ‘Queen‘ and ‘Champagne On The Rider‘, the latter of which has a feel not dissimilar to the Do Me Bad Things single ‘What’s Hideous‘. Thankfully Water Your Garden is far from hideous though, instead being akin to sitting in the garden on a sunny day, snoozing in a deckchair next to a water feature. So I guess the album title is pretty apt. 7/10

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LA based Michigan singer Anna Ash begins her Sleeper album with the lovely Emmylou Harris like ‘Favorite Part‘ and that sense of the soul being stroked gently is continued throughout the record. Interestingly there’s a track here called ‘Sgt. Pepper‘ that is NOT a cover of the Beatles classic but apparently back to Anna’s childhood and an account of a car accident she witnessed. And ‘Violently Blue‘ features some utterly lovely vocals that could have come from a time before the charts even existed. 7/10

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Multi-instrumentalists Bergur Þórisson and Pétur Jónsson make up the collaborative outfit known as Hugar. Even though none of the tracks on their new album Rift feature anything approaching classical piano, the panoramic immersiveness of the emotions contained within gives off that kind of warm, glowing effect associated with Ludovici Einaudi. You know that feeling, when you’ve just had a relaxing massage and feel like you’re on a higher plane while you’re in the post-massage tranquillity room (or whatever it’s called)? Well this is like the musical equivalent of that, and it’s quite lovely. 8/10

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Midwest US musician and LGBT activist (among many other things on a mightily impressive CV) Logan Lynn returned with the delightfully high energy album New Money. At times it sounds like They Might Be Giants doing disco (that’s a compliment, just in case you were unsure) and fabulous songs like the ultra-danceable ‘Rich And Beautiful‘ really are testament as to why Lynn has endured as long as he has. 8/10


Anxious‘s Little Green House is a decent enough stab at the screamo/emo genre but it feels about twenty years too late to me. But if you are a fan of that particular musical bent, I suspect you’re going to love this. It’s not something I see myself going mad for, but there’s no denying its commercially if, indeed, emo is still a ‘thing’. 6/10

Brad Barr The Winter Mission ARTWORK Hires

About as far removed from that as you can possibly get, the hugely talented Rhode Island guitarist Brad Barr comes across like a modern day John Fahey on ‘3, 4, 5…6‘, on the opening track of new album The Winter Mission, although the similarity ends very soon after, with Barr making his guitar sigh sleepily on ‘Your Dad’s Awake‘ and the sparsely cinematic ‘Baseball‘. There can’t be many musicians quite so adept at conveying a theme as Barr is. This IS winter. You absolutely think of winter when you hear it. But, crucially, the more romantic elements of that season rather than the seemingly endless bleakness of it all. Another reference point could be The Durutti Column‘s Someone Else’s Party, although while that was a more sombre affair due to its subject matter, The Winter Mission seems unflinchingly positive in its demeanour. 8/10

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To say that I was surprised by Miles Kane‘s new album Change The Show opening with the Monkees meets T. Rex by way of John Lennon procrastination of ‘Tears Are Falling‘ is something of an understatement. The fact that this is followed by a sample of a quote from Paul O’Grady sounding like Lennon himself on recent single ‘Don’t Let It Get You Down‘ – which calls to mind 999’sObsessed‘ – feels like a tongue in cheek attempt by Miles to mess with my head! Change The Show, for the most part, suggests that he has scrupulously studying the UK chart hits of the 1970s and putting his own up to date twist on them. The result is a roaring success. I enjoyed this record at least 100 times more than I anticipated I would. Simply quality songwriting. 8/10

Aoife ODonovan Age of Apathy

Aoife O’Donovan‘s new album is a pleasant, easy Americana offering that probably needs little else adding (hey, I’m tired OK?) so I’ll just give that a rating of 7/10, say thank you very much and see you in a fortnight.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.