Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Tame Impala: The Slow Rush - Album Review.

Tame Impala.

The Slow Rush.

Interscope / Fiction Records.

Vinyl/CD/DL all formats.


I don't normally use the word 'genius' about many people, however the cap fits with Kevin Parker. Having been a massive fan since Innerspeaker I've seen this guy grow in production stature like a fuckin beanstalk. The songwriting speaks for itself. Pulling from many genres he's done it again. but this is Tame Impala in it's own right. A funk psych fuelled wonder that hits the spot. 

I'd review this myself, however after reading this amazing spot on review by friend and fan Tommy Overington, lead singer of Southampton's finest The Rising I couldn't top it. He's kindly let me publish this. I defy you to read a better review....

Tame Impala - The Slow Rush - 9/10
So after a week of snatch listening (never a good way to really listen to and appreciate an album) and then giving it one full uninterrupted listen on the turn table and then 3 full listens in the car back to back driving to London yesterday I can quite honestly say the 5 years which have elapsed since “Currents” have been undeniably - worth it.
This album is nothing short of perfection. From the order of the track listing (very important when compiling an album - I’ve lost sleep personally about sorting my own out and making sure it flows) to the instrumentation and clever increments throughout. There is always a new sound or inclusion which pricks your ears up.
 Arrangement wise - it’s stunning. The songs move around so much and never tread water. No section is the same. The thing I love about Parker is that he’s never content to rest on his laurels. He is simply not satisfied to stand still. He seems to want to constantly evolve musically and experiment with different genres and styles. When I discovered “Innerspeaker” and “Lonerism”, like many, I anticipated “Currents” to be more of the same - modern psych, heavily influenced by the 60’s, shed loads of effect laden guitars and spacey, deep reverberated John Lennon falsetto vocals (see Lennon’s “One Day (At A Time)” for a perfect reference track) - but I think we were all thrown out by what we heard - a very 80’s sounding synth pop record - albeit with Kevin Parker’s now unmistakable delightful, trademark, falsetto Lennon vocal the only thing remaining. It took me a fair few months to really - A. Get used to it. B. Like it - and then C. Herald it as a masterpiece.
No such problem with “The Slow Rush”. We were teased with singles such as the effortlessly melodic soundtrack to summer (well, mine anyway) of “Borderline”, the Supertramp influenced “It Might Be Time” and the emotive, tear inducing “Posthumous Forgiveness” where Parker sings / gets off his chest his feelings of his recently deceased father. A beautiful bitter sweet ballad which leaves you feeling his pain and then his relief in his reconciliation / closure.
The lyrics in all of the songs - like all Tame Impala albums centre around a concept - Time being the subject matter of this particular LP. “It might be time to face it” and “You ain’t as young as you used to be” providing evidence of this along with the song titles “One More Year”, “Instant Destiny”, “Tomorrow’s Dust”, “Lost In Yesterday”, “It Might Be Time” and “One More Hour”. The songs seem to have a reflective nostalgic mood - but also - and more importantly - come with a defiant battle cry to embrace the now.
From the moment opener “One More Year” drops - the mood is set. An infectious tremolo effect throughout paves the way for the rest of the album tracks to merge into each other. “Breathe Deeper” sees Parker delve into hip hop beats and funk. The piano run reminds me of the synths on “The Message” by Grand Master Flash And The Furious Five and the short 90’s inspired dance floor filler “Glimmer” has a “Born Slippy” / Modjo (Lady) feel to it with a distorted Parker vocal pleading “I just want a glimmer of hope” (at least I think that’s what he’s saying) whilst album closer “One More Hour” again reveals Parker’s Supertramp progressive / soft rock influence via the keys. My personal highlight is the stunning, chilled out “Tomorrows Dust” with its Latino acoustic arpeggio guitar teleporting you to a tranquil, peaceful paradise beach and Parker’s beautiful vocals helping you watch the sun go down. Running a close second is “Is It True” with its catchy, funky melody and conga drums with a groovy Daft Punk kind of vibe. It’s insanely - and annoyingly- perfect.
You’d be forgiven for thinking after listening to this album that it was the work of several top musicians and producers - but no. Everything is Parker.
Do I prefer this album to “Innerspeaker” or “Lonerism”? The answer is probably no - not yet anyway - but it’s a welcome breath of fresh air and gives us another insight into Kevin Parker’s incredible mind. Buy this album. There won’t be a better one all year.
Tommy Overington - February 2020.

Words by Wayne Carey who writes for Louder Than War. His author profile is here.

Friday, 14 February 2020

Partisan: Mantras - new single and video!!

To anyone who’s into the underground Manchester live circuit, Partisan are no strangers. LTW’s Emily Oldfield reviewed them back in May 2018. I discovered them live last year at Jimmy’s and was blown away by how tight they were. The new single Mantras explains all.
In an era of bands in an era of shitstorms post Brexit, you need a breath of fresh air. The music scene is healthy as fuck right now and it’s hard pushed to find a shit live band around. No music genres allowed….
Partisan are a Manc band that sound fuck all like a Manc band. Think Teardrop Explodes, The Bunnymen, all the good shit that came out of a dodgy 80’s scene filled with dubious dross. They’ve already released a couple of crackers, with Oxygen and Turn Me On each track sounding too huge for the smaller venues. Mantras sounds like a huge 80’s anthem with a powerhouse chorus and songwriting masterclass. The partnership of Stuart Armstrong (vocals and guitar), Dan Albon (bass) and Leo Stanfield (drums) is perfect. After years of honing their skills they are finally creeping up on you unawares. Most great bands tread the circuit quietly in the background for years (take Slow Readers), then BOOM. The people get it. Listen to this and tell me I’m wrong….
Mantra will be released on Shoutback Records Friday 14th February.
For more on Partisan they are on FacebookTwitter and Soundcloud.

HMLTD: West Of Eden - Album Review

HMLTD – West Of Eden
HMLTD: West Of Eden.

Lucky Number Music
LP/CD/DL all formats
After what seems like a long wait since their EP release Hate Music Last Time Delete and some stunning live dates last year, the London quintet HMLTD unleash their weird and wonderful mix of theatrical new wave sparklers on us. Wayne Carey reviews….
For a band once named Happy Meal Ltd until fuckin’ Ronald Mcdonald’s henchmen stomped on them with a large clown shoe, been through the traditional ‘sign to a major and get fucked over scenario’, they got straight back up and dusted off those black leather keks. Down but not out they return with their lost debut album. To be perfectly honest the first time I’d heard of these was when they supported Shame last year at The 02 Ritz and they were exceedingly top as fuck due to the pure spectacle. I described them as Soft Cell meets The Prodigy back then and I’ll still stick to most of that statement. Although the album has a lot of songs that you may have heard live it stands well with some ambitious moves.
Tracks like the opener The West Is Dead kicks off with brooding lyrics about the impending doom of Western civilisation, where the Dalai Lama wears Dolce & Gabbana in vermillion red trundling in his robes to a smart bassline smattered with electro beats, which kick in with a top beat hazed in laser beams and erotica tinged vocals, repeating the mantra “The West Is Dead”.
Loaded is a live favourite. Top hip hop beat with those sexy vocals from Henry Spychalski. He sold his soul to the devil tonight, cos he was pretty poor, hooked to a nice guitar riff. Sounds like a dig at Sony here. Too right.
Next two tracks The Ballad Of Calamity Jane and To The Door meld into each other in proper spaghetti western tradition nodding to Morricone, especially To The Door which is a full pelted Mariachi hoedown at it’s best. Henry has a unique vocal that gives you flashes of Cave, Marc Almond, Lux Interior. The way the tune switches from upbeat into techno splurges and vocal madness is fuckin great.
Satan, Luella & I mellows the pace a bit, still flowing on the spaghetti western vibe with the Soft Cell torch song vocals. It’s theatrical sounding, hitting on the early 80’s ballad themes. The chorus is shit hot with those haunting backing vocals giving Henry’s angry camped up voice a great edge. Mikey’s Song just screams hit single. It’s fuckin brilliant. It’s Depeche Mode at their best, however it’s a testimony to how good they are a popping out a hit. Are Sony on drugs??? That’s another story….
Why? is a weird little number that could easily slide into a Flaming Lips set list. Strange distorted vocals with layered over violin and keyboards. Short but sweet. 149 goes all techno industrial and introduces us to some nice vocals from Tallulah Eden and some bat shit stuff from Henry yet again.
Next two tracks Joanna and Where’s Joanna? are pure murder ballad stuff. We know where Joanna is. In pieces. Dismembered. Check the lyrics. An insane number that mixes Cave with Lux Interior again and sounds like a old dance hall tune on acid.
Deathdrive is another top as fuck tune. Dark as fuck, melding Suicide with The Cramps. Stop starting with apocalyptic shit running through it. It’s goes fuckin dubstep industrial in parts. Mental. And it ends with an American car crash abruptly.
Nobody Stays In Love goes into Depeche Mode territory again. A proper eighties tinged electro number. Commercial yeah? Sort of, yet HMLTD are doing something on their own, melding great vocals with a massive backbone of electronica holding it all together. MMXX A.D is like a small snippet of futuristic hip hop for 49 seconds melding into the last two tracks Blank State and War Is Looming. Blank State is like a call to revolution. “Throw away your books, rally in the squares, the world is a blank state” harks Henry with this cracking youth anthem that harks back to that 80’s era of electronica again.
Closing number War Is Looming is a doom laden end to an album that touches on changing the face of masculinity, repression, getting fucked over, queer culture, irony. It’s all in there.This band have been through a lot to finally get this released. Ok, there will be naysayers out there who will cry sellout after the Sony debacle. Fuck them. I know a few bands who have been through this and let me tell you, when you’re young and naive and are promised the world by a bunch of suits the world, who want to brand you in their way to sell records for their benefit… Good idea? Depends what you’re after. HMLTD were never about that really. They don’t try to be working class. They talk posh. They create good music. They’re honest. That’s what it’s about. Creating music for everyone, not a cliched pigeonhole that the overblown corporate’s expect. Fair to play to them. Make your own mind up.
I say it’s a fuckin good debut that has eventually arrived and shows commitment to their cause.
Upcoming live dates 2020:
Feb 13th | Birmingham, UK @ Mama Roux’s
Feb 14th | Liverpool, UK @ Arts Club
Feb 15th | Edinburgh, UK @ Opium
Feb 16th | Glasgow, UK @ Nice N Sleazy
Feb 18th | Dublin, Eire @ The Sound House
Feb 19th | Manchester, UK @ YES
Feb 20th | London, UK @ Secret Venue
Feb 21st | Bristol, UK @ The Exchange