Album Reviews: beabadoobee, Mary Lattimore, Touché Amore
beabadoobee — Fake It Flowers (Iloilo City, Philippines/London, U.K.)
Whether you're versed in all the trickled out releases or just hearing beabadoobee for the first time, it's hard to ignore how detailed and smooth the writing feels. In a record that dances between pop and rock with a punk sensibility, it's a listen that's just so fun to break down to every instrument. The atmosphere alone is enough to bring you to bliss on "Care" and the sheer euphoria of the choruses is almost too sweet to bear. However the weight behind the drums is what brings the most joy in "Worth It," while subtle echoes and Beatrice Laus' own hums keep it frantic and fun. The starry twinkles in the energy of "Emo Song" are wondrous, and the collapsing guitars take on a life of their own in this seemingly endless soundscape. Just as you're enjoying the simple hooks of "Together" the sheer jump in gain of every chorus just makes you want to riot, especially with the immediacy of Laus' emotive vocals.
Ace Frehley — Origins Vol.2 (Bronx, NYC)
So rarely do we see legends in their own right go back and honour their own favourites. In an all-out rocker full of classic covers, the legendary KISS member nails the energy of his choices more often than not. The instrumental finesse is unreal on "Good Times, Bad Times" and the drums are mixed so deliciously you'll have trouble avoiding just putting it on repeat. Frehley lifts the best, but often forgotten, early Beatles single with "I'm Down" screaming so excitedly all that's missing is that fiery McCartney yowl. The punch Frehley adds into "Politician" is even more sinister than early recordings offered, as his fleshed out production seems to double down on the message of the song. Even "Kicks" finds that balance between rocking and unsettlingly upset, to craft a song that feels all the more powerful on its choruses as a result.
Mary Lattimore — Silver Ladders (Asheville, North Carolina)
Sparse but filled with lush detail, Mary Lattimore crafts delicate instrumental harmony in her latest album. Minimal to make a point, the restrained arrangements really let each sound speak to a fine emotion. The flickering bounce on "Pine Trees" feels fleeting as if you're catching a flame going out, while the song's rhythmic plucking provides a kind of dance in itself. The layering allows Lattimore an eerie sense of scale on "Til A Mermaid Drags You Under" as the space between synth and harp disappear, and many shimmering tones begin to feel just as dangerous as they are beautiful. The isolation of the keys seems feels sad in a way on "Chop on the Climbout" with the waves of feedback serving as a dark force of nature that has struck someone down. Meanwhile there's an ancient vibe to the harmonies of "Thirty Tulips" that can feel both other-timely and otherworldly, leaving you mesmerized in their colour.
Troy Junker — The Juice (Prince Albert, Saskatchewan)
In his newest effort Troy Junker struts lyrically through blown out bass for a track that lets you in on his style. Mixing Migos-like shout outs and spritely keys, the production is catchy without taking over Junker's focus. While Junker isn't shying away from the boastful rapping many of his contemporaries pull out, he manages to float a lot more career-focused spirit. This all soars in the choruses as he starts playing a call-and-response with his producer, for satisfying drop. The flow is effortless and Junker shows a sense of fun in his delivery that shows promise for songs to come.
Touché Amoré — Lament (Los Angeles)
Roaring with a fine-tuned meaning, Touché Amoré have always had this appeal as a very melodic band that embraces hardcore aesthetics. The amount of raw energy and serene beauty mingled on this record could easily cross many fan-bases in the metal, punk and indie scenes that have yet to find the appeal of their friends favourite songs. "Come Heroine" brings out sunny guitars, whether glistening or burnt out, and lets both subdued and shrieking tones of the band create the perfect dynamic back-and-forth. "Lament" launches right into its dark riff onslaught, as it finds new ways to dial up the intensity to make its driving hook matter more. However it's the sheer joy to "Reminders" that will leave you grinning the most as it feeds into the power of simple love, and fighting your hard times with good people. The most intriguing listen here comes out of "A Broadcast" as the slow and drawn out verses sees the group really pulling a full rich set of tones from their instruments and letting their rough edges drive the song emotionally.