Review: Change lies at the very heart of "Carousel", the third and perhaps most-eagerly anticipated Clock Opera album to date. After all, it has been a long time coming. Spurred on by the personal experiences of Guy Connelly, if you're looking for something to buy loved ones as they enter parenthood for the first time, this may be it.
That's not a reference to dad rock or housewife pop. In the grand scheme of electronic music this is certainly at the safer end, informed by Brian Eno's ambience or "Homogenic"-era Bjork as much as sprawling, classically-informed science fiction. But it's anything but throwaway. Instead, it's the overarching themes that mark this one out as the ideal gift for those in periods of great transition. It looks at the challenges of newfound fatherhood, considers sacrifices necessary to alter behavioural patterns and asks what identity really means. Profound stuff.
Review: San Francisco electronic pop outfit Cold Beat make their debut on the ever-impressive DFA, one of the finest imprints in all of synth-dom. And what a triumph it is, polished and sharp and infinitely daring, making for more proof of what fans will have already known based on previous outings, including records on the rightly revered 1980s-inspired Dark Entries label. Think Eurythmics, Depeche Mode and Ladyhawke and you'll be edging toward the right ball park. There are moments of depression and stark moods, for example on "Paper", guitars juxtaposed with keyboards to create the wonderfully contrasting "Prism", and pedal-to-metal pace pushing "Gloves" forward to a destination that's some sort of future read through the past. Don't think that suggests pastiche, though - this is a record very much born from fresh ideas and a desire to explore pastures new.