Expatriate - In the Midst of This
The Sydney based indie rock outfit released their debut album to a fair amount of hype amongst the Australian music community. Since then the band have succumbed to mixed reviews and a somewhat average response from the fans. Front man Ben King is an efficient vocalist even if he's virtually still unknown. The interplay of the guitarists is an integral element to the band's sound. "Crazy", "Shooting Star" and "Get Out, Give In" display the band at their best. "Only Wanna Love Ya" is clear ambition for commercial success with it's many hooks. It's not that this is an entirely bad record, it's just rather dry, patchy and applies the same methods throughout, leaving the listener a little underwhelmed and bored. Not to worry though as there are hooks aplenty and there's only hope that this band will take their sound to a more interesting destination next time.
Idlewild - Make Another World
Another album in for the Scottish rock and rollers adding a brand new batch of tracks to their catalogue. There's no beating round the bush the band are accomplished at what they do, but they just don't seem to have what it takes to evoke world wide acclaim. I mean i'm sure they seek it but they just haven't seemed to have found any. Make Another World may not be their strongest statement but they sure do a great job of entertaining us, from disco rocker "No Emotion" the catchy "Everything (as it moves)" and showing the power of their songwriting talents in the title track. Wearing their influences on their sleeve with the R.E.Mesque "Once In Your Life" and "Ghost In the Arcade", it'll be a surprise if no Michael Stipe comparisons are made. The album keeps a consistent flow throughout, though the main problem is that most of the tracks are forgettable. In such a huge calendar of music every year Idlewild seem to get lost in the crowd.
Field Music - Tones of Town
Consisting of past members of the Futureheads and Maximo Park comes the second album from Field Music. The Brewis brothers bring us a collection of over 30 minutes worth of fine crafted pop sounds. Not as popular as the former mentioned bands but clearly have themselves a somewhat distinctive sound, slightly reminiscent of 2006's Guillemots. They employ are vast array of instruments and sometimes use them to full effect, but usually the execution could be better. Sometimes Tones of Town just doesn't go anywhere, leaving the excitement out the door on most occasions. It's a fair effort just a little lacklustre.
Athlete - Beyond the Neighbourhood
Continuing in the same fashion of their previous effort "Tourist". Athlete return with the next set of coldplayesque songs. Continuing with their balladry, Athlete seem to forget that there is an audience that has to listen to it, and why listen when there are better models out there? I was optimistic of this album, hoping they would employ a better direction from the likeable Tourist. Though what we have here is a lifeless affair with constant monotony. Appearing earlier on the record "Hurricane", is the most energetic track here but still quite uncaptivating. Athlete are in the shadow of thier contemporaries Coldplay, Travis and Embrace. Athlete seem to be always looking for that uplifting effect in every moment. Lacking in most areas that count, this is a pure disappointment.
Pagoda - Pagoda
Featuring in Gus Van Sant's "Last Days", up and coming actor Michael Pitt takes his performance art in a different direction with the release of his debut album, released on Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace! record label. Pitt travels back to the early 90's employing all the Seattle grunge rock ethics, not entirely a Nirvana rip off but if you're open to hear something similar this will be your fix. Instead of coming off like the 100s of terrible post-grunge bands of today, there is a rawness and certain amount of credibility within, and it occasionally works. "Lesson Learned" is a solid lead in track, the intro laden with strings bursting into patterns of palm muted guitars. The album continues in the same raw fashion, guitar riffs plucked from the past with the occasional string work which provides an interesting back drop. Pitt pulls it of as a competent front man, the album on the other hand is no way near perfect but it's worthy of your time.
Charlotte Hatherley - The Deep Blue
The former Ash guitarist steps into the limelight with her sophomore effort after leaving her band to pursue her solo career. No doubt there is a touch of originality and sensuality scattered all through the album, her soft sweet distinctive voice provides the blueprint for the music. There is definitely something very majestic about The Deep Blue, from the elegant beginnings of "Costeau" all the way towards the end even if it drops off a little. "Be Thankful", "Again", "Wounded Sky" and"Behave" all swirl with pop delicacy, here she crafts some of the finest songs of the year, quirky and charming. Keeping things interesting she employs her more devilish side with the more rock orientated "Very Young" and anthemic " I Want You to Know". It's clear she played an integral role in her old band, but now it's her time to shine. The Deep Blue is evidence Hatherley is on already her way to a bright career.
The Noisettes - What's the Time Mr Wolf?
Following in the paths of band's like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, comes the debut album from the London rock band. The music involves the angsty feminine vocal delivery, sometimes seductive and the sharp and decisive rock riffs. These guys will probably stand in the shadow of the similar sounding artists but clearly have the upper hand in that the quality and catchiness of the songs are unmatchable in comparison to acts like the Gossip. Riff rocker "Don't Give Up", searing melodies of "Bridge to Canada" and bass driven "Scratch Your Name" give evidence of a young band at the heights of their ability. Straight to point the Noisettes get the job done, though where's the hype?