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Music March Releases

Published on March 29th, 2018 | by voxx


5 March releases you may have missed


As opening lines on albums go, “The first time I tasted someone else’s spit/I had a coughing fit” takes some beating. Pleasingly, Virginia native Dacus’s second album is full of such arresting lyrics. While her impressive 2016 debut, No Burden, was recorded in a single day, Historian understandably sounds fuller. There are echoes of Angel Olsen’s songwriting nous – particularly on the irresistible chorus of standout ‘Addictions’ – and Sharon Van Etten’s powerful delivery throughout, but the likes of ‘Timefighter’ and ‘Next Of Kin’ find Dacus taking her influences into heavier territory. The only gripe here is that the odd longueur makes Historian solid rather than spectacular.


The heavy-legged In Dream from 2015 showcased a band who didn’t know what to do with themselves. Three years on, Editors have wisely given up trying to produce themselves, surrendering control to Wild Beasts producer Leo Abrahams and F*** Buttons’ Benjamin John Power. The results play to their strengths – the rumble of Sounds Of The Universe-era Depeche Mode; the intricacy of The National and Tom Smith’s fists-clenched vocals – with added surprises such as the unhinged guitar squall towards the end of ‘Hallelujah (So Low)’ and the humming which gives ‘Darkness At The Door’ its sprinkling of magic. There’s a lightness of touch here lost since An End Has A Start over a decade ago.


George Ezra’s debut, 2014’s Wanted On Voyage, was inspired by his travels around Europe and, perhaps hoping to replicate its chart success, he’s turned to travel again for its equally restless follow-up. The destination this time seems to be love, and the bouncy rock’n’roll of songs like ‘Paradise’ suggest he’s arrived. Ever-buoyant, even the insecurities of modern life get a rousing, twinkly-eyed punch on the shoulder in ‘Pretty Shining People’ and a determined cheek-turn on the joyous ‘Don’t Matter Now’. Ezra’s been open about loving Paul Simon’s Graceland (see the wispy, romantic ‘Sugarcoat’ and the rhythms of ‘Get Away’), but this isn’t an album that’s really imbued with the sound of his own travels. That said, it’s a warm, optimistic pop’n’roll record that is hard not to like.


With a stage backdrop that reads “Enjoy Yourself”, a bespectacled frontman and ramshackle shared living quarters, Brighton four-piece The Magic Gang have the air of a geeky, after-school club Libertines. Accordingly, their self-titled debut crackles with youthful brio. “Party drugs don’t do anything/I don’t know why I bother,” sings Jack Kaye in a rousing ‘Alright’. The intertwining guitars and soaring harmonies of ‘Your Love’, meanwhile, betray late nights, absorbing the classic song structures of The Beatles, Big Star and The Beach Boys. Melodically rich plaintive ballad ‘Take Care’ is a standout, and spiked with a sarcastic wit, it does what all great pop should – lift the spirits and stir the soul.


That the title of Moby’s latest record is plucked from Kurt Vonnegut’s war-torn classic Slaughterhouse-Five is revealing. In both its atmosphere and lyrics, this is the sound of someone surveying a world turning to ashes. In other words, anyone looking for upbeat club songs to soundtrack adverts may be disappointed. When ‘The Sorrow Tree’ affects a slight tempo shift it’s actually an unwelcome distraction from the slow-boil sadness elsewhere. This may be familiar territory for Moby by now, but as highlight ‘The Middle Is Gone’ proves, his macramé of whispered lamentations, trip-hop ambience and aching piano retains the power to entrance.

- By Jake White


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