Album Reviews: March 25, 2019
Ibibio Sound Machine – Doko Mien (London, UK)
With their unique mix of traditional sounds and strong dance music, Ibibio Sound Machine could've easily done the same thing over and over. Their latest release however sees the band expanding their grooves in every which direction while delivering some great driving music. "Wanna Come Down" is one of those tracks that becomes more exhilarating, the more you hear each part of its epic arrangements. There's a darker magic to "Tell Me (Doko Mien)" where the chaotic vocals elevate the dance hooks for a song that rarely settles down. Ibibio also hit a rare slow moment on "I Will Run," where they try to establish more connecting tissue in their music and writing as a whole. They also start becoming a pop melting pot on "She Work Very Hard" as they layers of funk, R&B and electronics become this evolving, groovy beast.
Mayfield – Careless Love (Ottawa)
While Ottawa is certainly full of pop-punk bands, Mayfield creates a depth in their music to set themselves apart. With a fiery rush and a uniquely organic production, "Do You Miss Me" never lets up sonically or energy-wise. Though their unrelenting spirit can be almost tiring at times, those looking for something to really ignite their souls will want to bounce to the stomps of "My Heart Gets Left Behind. Mayfield do offer more ambitious moments on "The Missing Piece," as they drift into a more light and emotive swing for a moment. Even as "Lost Eternally" fires off in its own explosive rage, there's a much more jagged approach this time that makes it feel direct and inspiring.
Lucy Rose – No Words Left (London, UK)
As so many acoustic songwriters try to define themselves in a sonically similar pack, emotional writers like Lucy Rose can stand tall. The overall feeling of the song and the record as a whole comes out distinctly on "Conversation," but Rose still manages to surprise you with some unusual shifts at the end. There's more of a dance to the delivery across "Solo(w)" where the interplay of instruments and vocals create a beautiful mesh of a song. Alternatively there's a constant spontaneity to "Treat Me Like A Woman" that can make it feel like a live track being heard for the first time. More colours come through in the composition of "Nobody Comes Around" as the rest of Rose's band open up in the song with a triumphant warmth.
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L.J.P. – Cathexis (Ottawa)
Whether it's tapping into a jazz or electronic core, there's something mesmerizing and fun to "Find You/Go Ahead" that sees L.J.P. just riding the wave of their music with glee. Within all the retro sheen of their music, L.J.P. also cuts out with a warmth and sense of pain in tracks like "Close To You." Though it definitely rises out of something more dance-oriented, the swelling production of "Animal Instincts" creates a unique mesh of noise and emotion. "Simple Man" on the other hand floats in its ethereal production and creates an ode to those just trying to find a way.
Wallows – Nothing Happens (Los Angeles, CA)
Up until this release, I'd admittedly found Wallows music more fun than interesting. Their latest album is a total evolution however, as they expand to new sonic frontiers and keep you guessing on the next turn their songs will take. As you settle into "Only Friend" you can hear Wallows' usual bouncy grooves covered in lush reverb and new textures, and their energy just pulls you in deeper. Through "Are You Bored Yet" Wallows can even enhance your listen by just pulling different instruments in and out of their overall sound. There's definitely a strong bass drive on "Sidelines" as the guitars take a more strong pop direction over the intoxicating grooves. If you'd rather take in a more beach-like tone, "Remember When" covers you in cold tones before letting you get lost in a dance.