Album Reviews: July 9, 2019

Altin Gün – Gece (Amsterdam/Turkey)

Music is a language that everyone understands, so it's brilliant to find a band that not only transcend language but make it seem like an utterly trivial detail. For their latest album Altin Gün switch from overt rock to more experimental keyboard work for an album more focused on dancing than just grooving. Even with the hard-rock riffs of "Yolcu" you can hear a more ambient focus that sets the song apart from the band's previous work and enhances the already strong core of the track. You can hear a similar complexity in the textures of "Leyla" as the band's previous suave tones are really brought out in full force this time around. However they shift their approach to mix of electronic and punk on "Sofor Bey" to push things forward and create something intriguingly cross-genre in their album. Their newfound love of synth-pop also makes all the exotic melodies of Supurgesi Yoncadan" so intoxicating to hear as you're transported to well outside of what you're used to sonically on multiple levels.

Amecane – +Trois (Ottawa)

Through their constant work and repeatedly inspiring work, Amecane has shown a chameleon-like aptitude for production. With a little grit in the electronics of this latest record, the producer slims things down track-wise to make each track colourful and distinct. In the sludgy tones of "La Grande Main" there's a dive between a kind of Noir, French mystery and pure rock showmanship that collide well. There's a much stronger club drive to "2 Montagnes," that urges listeners to dance, and let the danger behind the production make that expression feel all the more necessary. Though the slow-drive of "The Seed" allows its samples to stand out and provide a message, this kind of moody interlude leaves the album done on an anticlimactic note.

Mark Ronson –  Late Night Feelings  (London, U.K.)

If Mark Ronson's Uptown Special was the party banger record with some progressive gems, his latest effort is more of a pop hits collection layered with the same production. Though it's not always gripping and punchy like his previous album, there's some tracks here that effortlessly get you moving. "Late Night Feelings" takes advantage of Lykke Li's smooth vocals for a track that is as seductive as it is sad, but with the disco charm to really take it over the top. YEBBA really shows off everything they've got on this record, letting loose on the groovy but strange "Knock Knock Knock" with some eerie layered vocals. However it's the abrasive country tones of Angel Olsen mashed into the silky tones of this record that give "True Blue" such an immediate, disarming charm that gets you lost in the music. It's Ronson's ear for talent that comes through well on the album, as the grimy jazz of "Why Hide" showcases both his and Diana Gordon's talents without ever stepping on each other.

O Neptune – Cosmic Silence (Ottawa)

Raw as it might be production-wise, there's a lot of funky riff writing and soul to O Neptune's newest release. "Deville" burns with a fire similar to The Balconies, as every groove ups the bounce of their lead vocals for an impassioned blues rock track. The slower simmer of something like "Green" really shows off the lyrical side of the band really well, and oozes enough suave charm to avoid sinking into the generic downer rock trappings it easily could. It's in the more spooky intros and breaks of "Take Me Away" that we see the potential for O Neptune to really get weird however, and take their clear talent in a direction that stands on its own. This said there's an excitingly unusual rhythmic approach through the likes of "Touch" that really ignites much of the band's spirit and show they're versatility as a rock outfit.

Avicii – Tim (Stockholm, Sweden)

Avicii was first and foremost a producer who could find a hit and make something more of it. While this posthumous release isn't a perfect reflection of Avicii's full talent, it still has some decent glimmers into why he was so loved. With the sprawling feel and vocals of "Peace Of Mind," there's a beauty in the scope of the orchestration that takes over for the familiar EDM tones. Though "SOS" struggles to stand out quite as much, Aloe Blacc's unique hooks do a lot to elevate the grooves of the track. "Hold The Line" uses a lot of these conventions with a surprisingly against-the-grain attack to the production, which lets the drops hit with an unusual subtlety. There's even a kind of acoustic beauty to "Freak" and its whistling riff that really stand out from the often synth-heavy production that Avicii was known for.