“Synths and electronic beats paint a top coat of groove across the record. “Don’t” has a serious late-night smoothness to it, while “Island” features a sound drop and summer-festival drift. The click-beat of “Three” revels in the movements of modern pop, but breaks into dreamy harp territory, as though Khan wants to prove the extent of her breathtaking range. If 10 000 didn’t convince you, Outro showcases Kahn’s fearlessness.” – Read the full review on Exclaim!
“When This Life Is Over conveys an authentic depiction of developing affective awareness. One of the realizations evoked by adulting is that life will force individuals to follow paths they don’t want to undertake. And the Kids see the aversion and in “Butterfingers” reflect on “a shitty life so they could have the best” and keeping “a shitty job so we could all hang out”. So often, wadding through the muck is the only avenue to actualization. At no point does the band wallow in defeat or ennui. Rather, they push listeners to conceptualize the uplift encased in life’s drudgery. The band’s belief in obtaining happiness is framed by music and the unrelenting need to “…sing loud / Hoping not to be sad / That’s why I sing loud / Hoping we could drown it out.” Much as “Butterfingers” pushes for triumph, so does the subsequent track “Champaign Ladies”. And the Kids provide the twin discourses, “Life is a bastard / It wants to kill you” and “Don’t let go / Doing wrong but feelin right.” There’s liberation in the realization that nothing is exact and the idea of what’s right is confined by subjectivity.” – Read the full review on Pop Matters
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“As Lennon tells Rolling Stone, the song’s dark lyrics document “the lascivious exploits of famed JPL rocket scientist Jack Parsons, the man who not only helped America get to the moon with liquid fuel technology, but was also a Magister Templi in Aleister Crowley’s cult, the Ordo Templi Orientis.” He added that Parsons “sadly passed away in a violent explosion during a secretive alchemical experiment at his house in Pasadena.” – read more in Rolling Stone
As an aesthetic reservoir, the ’80s continue to feed an abundance of nostalgia, from the American highway fantasies of the War on Drugs to Twin Shadow’s boy-meets-girl melodramas. Inhabiting characters from the past can lend a singer a certain gravitas; unburdened by modern irony, big emotions play bigger on a decades-old frame. But few artists have seized that retrospection as an opportunity to flip the power dynamics that governed pop culture 30 years ago. For Lower Dens, a neon palette serves as fertile ground for subversion. Hunter absorbs the range of gendered feeling from Billy Idol to Bonnie Tyler, emerging as a bandleader capable of flipping effortlessly between extremes of masculine aggression and feminine yearning. Read the full review on Pitchfork
When last interviewed for this newspaper in 2013, Laura Marling talked about retiring from the music industry. She was 23 and her feet hadn’t touched the ground since her astonishingly self-possessed debut album, Alas I Cannot Swim, was released in 2008. Three albums later she was being hailed as the greatest songwriter of her generation. But she was exhausted and took off for America, where she did indeed give up music for a while. For two years she wandered and applied for jobs in coffee shops. She hung out with “mysterious, fleeting people”: cult members, addicts, hippies and professional vagrants.
When Marling picked up her guitar again, the queen of the nu-folk scene channelled that strange and desperate energy by going electric. It’s a powerful evolution. It takes a rare rock guitarist to remind us that electricity is a potentially dangerous natural force but Marling’s new sound evokes the strange dark thrill of low skies before a storm. At times it sounds more like she’s plugged her guitar into a brooding thunder cloud than a man-made socket. Read the full review on The Telegraph