Albums: New music by Duran Duran, Biffy Clyro, Self Esteem and My Morning Jacket
DURAN DURAN – FUTURE PASS
AS HIS name suggests, Future Past sees Simon Le Bon and his colleagues looking forward and backward with collaborators including Italian disco pioneer Giorgio Moroder, DJ Erol Alkan, Blur guitarist Graham Coxon, 23-year-old rapper. Ivoirian Doll, Mark Ronson and Bowie’s go -to keyboardist Mike Garson.
The group is in great shape, halfway between their pop tendencies and their darker, more experimental instincts. Many Future Past tracks deftly capture both.
Give It All Up, which stars Swedish singer Tove Lo, is a dark fantasy with a killer chorus, while the title track is a nostalgic hymn that evokes images from pastoral England and decades far away.
This is Duran Duran’s 15th album, but it also marks his 40th anniversary as a band.
From their purple spot at the end of their career, this is perhaps their highlight.
BIFFY CLYRO – THE MYTH OF THE HAPPY FOREVER
HOT on the heels of the blistering A Celebration Of Endings comes another take on the Scottish trio designed as a counterpart to their predecessor.
Aside from the likes of low-key opener DumDum and the biased pop of Separate Missions, the album finds Biffy punching hard and heavy and angrily reflecting on “the state of fuck we’re in” as Simon Neil puts it. squarely on A Hunger in your lair.
Recorded quickly in their rehearsal room, it shows no loss of scale or potency with Denier and Errors In The History Of God pushing the epic end of the scale as Slurpy Slurpy Sleep Sleep and the unknown Unknown Male 01 stand by. strangely closer to the first six minutes.
The latter deals with the mental health issues that affect so many people in the creative industries, with a lyrically devastating two-minute opening – âThe Devil Never Goesâ – giving way to overwhelming riffs and Neil’s plaintive roar.
SELF-VALUATION – PRIORITIZING PLEASURE
SELF Esteem’s multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter Rebecca Taylor could have been forgiven for being slightly baffled by the universal success of I Do This All The Time.
The first single from his second studio album as a solo artist became a kind of balm for those exhausted by misogyny, gaslighting and oppression, and earned Taylor the kind of time to radio antenna that its previous offers, unfairly, did not have.
It would be equally unfair to classify Prioritize Pleasure – a triumphant, tumultuous, pensive, desperate and festive record – as a simple response to the #MeToo movement.
Indeed, students of Taylor’s career to date will be familiar with his unique sound, fusing diverse musical styles with honest, witty and, at times, deeply personal lyrics.
The truth is, Taylor has been doing this from the shores of the pop mainstream for years. It’s just that now, finally, people are really listening.
An excellent follow-up worthy of the first Compliments Please album. May she reign for a long time.
4 / 5Ry
MY MORNING JACKET – MY MORNING JACKET
NOW on their ninth album, My Morning Jacket from Louisville, Ky., Has come a long way since its debut sounding like Lynyrd Skynyrd directed by Neil Young.
Although the first episode of Regularly Scheduled Programming sounds like it could have been recorded by Young’s cult heroes of the 1960s, Buffalo Springfield, with added electronics, much of the rest of the album is very different.
Love Love Love features a squeaky guitar solo, but is heavy on beats, with vocals showing an 80s influence, while the long In Color begins with a soft acoustic guitar and gradually turns into something epic.
The longest track, nine minutes plus The Devil’s In The Details, is the album’s centerpiece, a sad reflection on being an American teenager growing up in the mall.
Complex has the heaviest sound, and while Lucky To Be Alive gets too close to novelty, My Morning Jacket is able to draw on their classic rock influences while still sounding like them.