CHVRCHES – The Bones Of What You Believe

After quite a few more ‘experimental’ releases recently, it’s nice to have two this month (this and Haim) that are decidedly ‘pop’. CHVRCHES, a trio from Scotland, produce excellent, energising electro-pop. The singer has a lovely pure, delicate-but-powerful voice and the backing is full of massive synths and spine-tingling builds. Good stuff!

Haim – Days Are Gone

This is simply great pop music. I love the fact that this band is made up of three sisters, obviously all highly talented musicians. Their style is quite throwback, with strong shades of Fleetwood Mac and even Shania Twain (in a good way!). The songs are catchy and the context of these girls being sisters lends them something of an intimate, confessional quality.

Oneohtrix Point Never – R Plus Seven

The oddly-named Oneohtrix Point Never is a synth-boffin of the most modern vintage. He takes scraps and oddments of sound from all sorts of unlikely sources (old commercials, VHS tapes, who knows) and combines them with synthesised noises into an unsettlingly neon-bright collage. There is more than a shade of ’emperor’s new clothes’ to this and I haven’t made my mind up yet. Most reviews online seem to love it but I can’t quite work out why…

Four Tet – Beautiful Rewind

Electronica stalwart Four Tet seemed to have a bit of a bee in his bonnet when he announced the release of this album, his first studio album since 2010’s excellent There Is Love In You. On Twitter, he ranted, “no pre order, no youtube trailers, no itunes stream, no spotify, no amazon deal, no charts, no bit coin deal, no last minute rick rubin,” as if to say ‘damn you if you expect something nice from me.’  There is a bluffness about the album, too, and initially I didn’t take to it at all. He uses some samples of aggressive-sounding MCs on pirate radio stations, which were what stood out on first listen and were too consciously hip for my liking. However, further listens revealed the contrasting light to that shade, the melodies and the structure to what is sometimes rather a ‘bitty’ album. I’m liking it more each time I hear it.

Darkside – Psychic

As this excellent, if quite long-winded review points out, “If the internet has done anything for music, it seems to me that it’s smashed the notion of genre into tiny useless pieces.” But, as I have mentioned before, I rather like the weird and wonderful new genres that can be synthesised to suit the purpose of describing music, using words that have plenty of attached-meaning. So, when I say this is like ambient-house-disco-blues, that’s evocative of something, at least – whether accurate or not! Either way, I really like this and it’s unlike anything else that I’ve come across. The tracks unfold gently and it has  a deliciously composed and produced combination of electronics, instruments and voices.