Review: When Marie Davidson announced last year that she would be, "retiring from club music", many wondered what she'd do next. Renegade Breakdown, her first album recorded with a full band (L'Oeuil Nu), answers that question. It sees the Canadian artist and her new collaborators deliver suitably arresting, personal and ear-catching songs built on mixing and matching a surprisingly wide variety of musical inspirations, from Blondie, classic disco and mutilated heavy metal guitars, to Kraftwerk, Billie Holliday, Fleetwood Mac and Daft Punk. It's a big shift for the previously highly experimental artist, but thanks to her skill as both a a producer and performer, one that works magnificently well.
Review: Sam Eastgate might have made his name via Late of the Pier, but he proved solo abilities and then some with 'Inju', his own debut. He's now back with 'GENE', which sees him take individuality to greater heights by way of inventing, creating and playing his own unique instrument, which lends its name to the album. Throwing guitar licks, soft pads and compressed keys into the mix, the result is a psychedelic electronic explosion of colour and texture, along the lines of Neon Indian. Low slung glitch and piercing falsetto vocals build into a delicate but definite funk grooves, 'Open My Eyes' has an almost operatic quality to its chorus, underpinned with a techno-esque growling low end, and 'Rubber Sky' could almost be another David Byrne and X-Press 2 collaboration. Strutting, sparkling, rolling and crunching its way through three acts of innocence increasingly lost, this is electronic pop at its most impressive.
Review: Almost 40 years has passed since Danish duo Laid Back - they of "Sunshine Reggae" and "White Horse" fame - released their debut single. The pair is still going strong all these years later, offering up sun-kissed Balearic synth-pop shot through with gentle reggae rhythms and just the right amount of dub-wise special effects. "Healing Feeling", their first album for almost six years, uniformly hits the spot via languid, loved-up cuts that wrap their evocative, glassy-eyed vocals and jazzy guitar solos around horizontal grooves and sunset-ready synth sounds. There are occasional up-tempo missives scattered across the album - see "Enjoy The Vibes" and the AOR disco chug of their "House Of The Rising Sun" cover - but even these sound like they were recorded through a thick haze of ganja smoke.
Review: There are few signs of 'difficult second album syndrome' to be found on "Through Water", Lapsley's confident and assured follow-up to her critically acclaimed 2016 debut "Long Way Home". This time round the former teenage prodigy has written and produced pretty much everything on the album, delivering a suite of songs that effortlessly blur the boundaries between glacial electronica, off-kilter synth-pop, R&B and folktronica. There are some moments of real beauty scattered throughout - see the rather fine "Leeds Liverpool Canal" for starters - while the way her distinctive vocals are matched by inventive and enjoyable musical arrangements is mighty impressive. Sure, there's nothing as rush inducing as club hit "Operator", but what's here is every bit as alluring.