Album: Autumn Chorus
The Village To The Vale (Fading Records)
A gorgeous suite of string drenched post rock from Brighton quartet Autumn Chorus, with seven long tracks informed by the pastoral spirit of the Canterbury scene and, fittingly, Harvest Records. Italy’s Fading label have done a nice job with ‘The Village To The Vale’’s artwork, its rich rural imagery of rolling landscapes and low clouds complementing the sweeping, but controlled, grandeur of Autumn Chorus’ music. The progressive songwriting can be labyrinthine, so it’s simplest to just surrender to the flow.
Album: The Curst Sons
The Snake And The Money Jar (Curst Mountain)
On their fifth album, The Curst Sons trio continue to plough a furrow of good humoured, anglicised Americana. The familiar bluegrass sounds of washboard, mandolin and banjo are all present, but are struck with an energy that reveals The Curst Sons’ roots in 80s cowpunk and r’n’b. There’s a fair bit of good time hoedown going on among these 14 originals, but the band turn their hand to acappella chants and blues laments too, with some smart lyrical turns.
After wowing us at The Great Escape, Curxes really prove their mettle with their new single ‘Spectre’. Powered by the driving synths and crashing drumpads of Macaulay Hopwood, and led by the arch and powerful 80s-inspired drawl of Roberta Fidora, the single is an electrifying, almost industrial force that’s every bit as mighty as their live sets, with its pounding, growling basslines. Reminiscent of The Knife with more distortion and grit, Curxes are a duo on the ascent.
Album: Matt Finucane
Glow In The Dark (Light Crude)
A bit of a curious release from individualist songwriter Matt Finucane. Following last year’s debut ‘This Mucky Age’, album number two is a brave and entertaining collection of half sung, half spoken tracks, taking in Bowie-esque art rock, imaginatively bizarre sci-fi passages and muttered asides. Guitars are strummed lightly one moment, crashing into banks of fuzz the next, while lopsided percussion clanks and rumbles away beneath. Don’t confuse ‘Glow In The Dark’ with lo-fi rambling though, it’s strongly produced and impressively single minded.
Album: The Pure Conjecture
Courgettes (Armellodie Records)
There’s something of a Brighton supergroup happening here on The Pure Conjecture’s assured debut. Led by former Actress Hands frontman Matt Eaton, the 11-strong band includes plenty of familiar faces from the Brakes/Electric Soft Parade axis, and fits neatly alongside the White brothers’ recent work. Neat melodic songwriting in the Postcard vein is fleshed out with cool organ and sax work, with a couple of soulful covers (including Hall & Oates’ ‘Go Solo’) adding to the relaxed feel. Go and dig it out.
Album: Sleepin’ Giantz
Sleepin’ Giantz (Tru Thoughts)
Obviously we’d expect an album featuring the collaborative genius of garage producer Zed Bias and hip-hop heavyweights Rodney P and Fallacy to be brilliant, and this 11 track debut doesn’t disappoint. First single ‘Badungdeng’ is a 2-step, bass-heavy winner that’s rightly drawn a lot of praise online, but other tracks are equally deserving: ‘Raving Bully’ combines clever lyrics with a catchy chorus and a hypnotic bassline, while ‘Final Curtain’ featuring Jenna G is an epic, smooth anthem.
Album: Soft Arrows
All Through The Sinew (softarrows.bandcamp.com)
A fantastically frazzled debut from the Soft Arrows duo, available as a generous ‘pay what you like’ download. Rapidly recorded last Christmas – all instruments laid down one day, all vocals on another – but not shabby, ‘All Through The Sinew’ piles up waves of buzzing, crackling guitars, rat-a-tat drumming and muffled vocals, taking care not to bury the shimmering tunes beneath. Woozy DIY psychedelia with a seasick shoegaze undertow, it’s an unassuming little release with some vibrant, thrilling songs inside.