Writers' Choice: May 2013

Writers’ Choices – April 2013

There are some great Easter Eggs recommended by our team this month, including – fittingly – a classic by the Bunnymen…


CocknBullKid: Adulthood

In a time when pop music was saturated with lousy, faceless dance tracks (… wait, why am I talking in the past tense?!), CocknBullKid (Anita Blay) offered a fresh slice of Hackney harmony with her 2011 debut, Adulthood.  Blay beautifully interweaves emotive themes of self-pity, fear and confusion with a fulfilling and jaunty production, making for an ear-friendly and appealing atmosphere.  But despite this pop-driven machine, there is a profound sense of belonging – a soundtrack for adolescents everywhere.

Similar To: V V Brown, Lily Allen

Faizan Sadiq


Echo & The Bunnymen: Heaven Up Here

The sophomore outing of Liverpool’s second most famous band; Heaven Up Here finds the Bunnymen energetic and fresh following their 1980 debut Crocodiles, though bolder, more vehement and passionate than before.  Lyrically preoccupied with themes of hypocrisy, guilt, triumph and defeat; the album’s moods are all set against sharp and swirling pseudo-psychedelic guitar, ensuring the album remains shot through with a glamorously gloomy presence.  Heaven Up Here is (surprisingly) light on its feet, accessible and evoking, and makes a great case for the bands continued legacy.

Similar To: The Jesus And Mary Chain, The Teardrop Explodes

Jake Turnbull


R.E.M.: Reckoning

Delving into R.E.M.‘s second record is an experience akin to poring over a storybook: Reckoning is rustic and lyrically puzzling, but there is no denying the dazzling fragments of beauty interlaced within its mysteries.  Musically, the group’s jangly sounds ring through much more clearly this time around, providing tight but pleasantly breezy sounds beneath Michael Stipe’s cryptic ruminations.  From the magical ‘Harborcoat’ to the glistening arrangements of ‘Pretty Persuasion’ and ‘Camera’, Reckoning‘s sound is delicate in hue, but rich with rewards just waiting to be discovered.

Similar To: The Replacements, The Decemberists

Michael Perry


Justin Timberlake: FutureSex/LoveSounds

FutureSex/LoveSounds polarised the critics in 2006, but hindsight has, for many, canonised JT’s futuristic, Timbaland-produced sophomore in pop history.  A landmark in mainstream R&B, the LP’s visionary musical eclecticism is at its most stylish in the disco-funk basslines of ‘LoveStoned’ and ‘Damn Girl’, and the Prince-esque pop of ‘Sexy Ladies’.  Slick, cavalier and with lashings of sex appeal, FutureSex/LoveSounds washed off the cutesy, boyband residue clinging to Justified, providing a stepping stone towards the besuited, finger-snapping Justin Timberlake we know and love today.

Similar To: Prince, Beyonce

Sophie Monk


Elton John: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

From the first haunting notes of ‘Funeral For A Friend’, we know we’re in for a winner.  Whilst the first five minutes are essentially a rock opera overture, it sets a dramatic scope which the rest of the album duly follows.  Despite its dull title, ‘Grey Seal’ is a rousing, energetic number, and the timeless ‘Candle In The Wind’ is sung with Elton’s heartbreaking sincerity; which reappears on the title track (which I highly recommend singing along to while home alone in your pyjamas a la Bridget Jones.  With its excellent songwriting, soulful tunes and enlightening variety, this album should be intravenously fed to everyone who’s feeling slightly down on life.  (And since it’s exam time, that’ll be everyone.)

Similar To: Billy Joel, Rufus Wainwright

Francesca Peak


Modest Mouse: The Moon & Antarctica

Befittingly named, Modest Mouse’s third album depicts frozen isolation.  It tends to wounds of loneliness, abandonment and nihilism.  It renders discomfort in the world and discontentment with life.  It has the atmosphere of claustrophobia in an endless empty room.  Every other song is a reminder of your inevitable death and insignificance.  The songs kind of blur in the middle.  The album ends by screaming that human beings “ain’t made of nothin’ but water and shit.”  Listen to it some time.

Similar To: Neutral Milk Hotel, Andrew Jackson Jihad

Amel Mukhtar


Mos Def: Black On Both Sides

The artist formerly known as Mos Def – long before his cinematic sojourns with the likes of Michel Gondry – was at the top-table of East-Coast, perhaps even “all abroad international” fin de siècle hip-hop.  Black On Both Sides is the apotheosis of the Native Tongues’ legacy: enlightened lyricism, jazzy live-instrumentation and rich, cohesive production.  Mos goes fast; Mos goes slow; Mos spits; Mos sings; but above all, Mos wins.  If you only buy one hip-hop record… buy this one.

Similar To: Blackstar, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul

Christopher Sharpe

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