This week in New Music: the xx glacier begins to melt on album number three, a surprise EP release from Of Montreal, teen rock rebellion by Declan McKenna on “The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home” and classic indie guitar rock from Diet Cig,
the xx – “Say Something Loving”
On album number three, the xx (above and right) appear to be expanding their sound from the dark, insular production evident on earlier work. In fact, the album opens with a horn fanfare which is jarring enough for fans that they might think they clicked play on The 1975 in error.
Not to worry though, this is the xx through and through.
The album opens with “Dangerous” – an upbeat track continuing with the horn theme – and is followed by “Say Something Loving,” the closest the trio of childhood best mates have ever come to a pop song and it really is wonderful.
There would appear to be an actual theme running through the album as suggested by it’s title. It’s all about intimacy and expectation but not just sex. It’s also not an album of love songs, closing as it does with piano-led track “Test Me” on which Romy Madley Croft worries “you look but you never see, let’s take it out on me, it’s easier than saying what you mean, test me – see if I break, tell me if this time you’ve changed.”
While the sound remains aloof and glacial, the detachment of youth is slowly warming.
Happily, the first big album of 2017 is one of the best in many months.
Of Montreal – Rune Husk
The four tracks see Kevin Barnes in perhaps slightly more introspective mood than on last album Innocence Reaches. In the sense at least as introspective as he can manage.
“Stag to the Stable” is practically glam rock. “Widowsucking” is a classic Of Montreal hot mess. “Island Life” is creepy brilliance that might make your skin crawl.
In other words, brilliant.
As the EP doesn’t appear to be available anywhere online, have a listen to “Let’s Relate” from last year’s Innocence Reaches below.
Declan McKenna – “The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home”
While there is nothing particularly original about the song – and compared with earlier tracks like “Isombard” it’s actually a bit standard – McKenna has that one trick up his sleeve that makes him stand out: he’s a teen calling on a generation with old-school rock ‘n roll.
So, while it’s not original, understanding its appeal to the youth of today is easy because every generation needs a rebel (of sorts).
Have a listen to the track and the brilliant “Isombard” as performed on Later With Jools Holland below.
Diet Cig – “Tummy Ache”
With the rawness of the music, Bowman’s plaintive vocals, the wash of feedback and the thumping beats, lead track “Tummy Ache” is an instant blast of classic indie rock along the lines of Haley Bonar.
Building slowly to a thumping climax, the song closes out with Bowman rightly reminding us that “It’s hard to be a punk when you’re wearing a skirt.”
Have a listen below.