GIRLS- Album

All the rage at the minute this lot. Not that ‘Album’ explains why mind. Kinda like The Strokes or Weezer’s green album, this is indie pop that leans towards lo-fi and purports to be warm and genuine but actually comes across as cold and distant. Ok so one-man band Christopher Owens slurs his words like he’s spent too long in the sun and there’s a laid-back, hazy production quality that actually works pretty well with the more shoegazey material here but there’s no real contact, no spark, nothing truly special. Yes, at times Owens sounds a little like Elvis Costello mumbling over what could be an old Beach Boys cast away but he’s certainly not alone there and if that’s all it takes to be the next big thing then we’re getting on the next bus out of here.

KEELHAUL- Keelhaul's Triumphant Return to Obscurity

Like fellow hardcore veterans Coalesce recently, Keelhaul return here after years of radio silence. And just like those other comeback kids… ahem… men, the Ohio bruisers are back with a vengeance. From jagged start to apocalyptic finish see, ‘Triumphant Return…’ feels mathy and technical yet bloodthirsty and brutish at the same time, the sound of a band who really know how to play their instruments but choose to smash them to splinters instead. And yes this is pretty typical for Keelhaul but there are new flavours of rage here, more grit, more curmudgeonly hate, and a layer of grimy sludge that’s inches thicker than what they’ve conjured up previously.

‘High Seas Viking Eulogy’ sounds like Steve Albini got hold of Mastodon, ‘The Subtle Sound…’ is anything but, making like Will Haven forgetting to write songs and instead recording their musical bad moods, and as well as having a great title ‘Everything’s A Napkin’ is a fine example of tense-and-release rock, what the edge of your seat was made for. And if this all sounds too much then it probably is, it probably won’t sell many copies or get Keelhaul any new fans, but they definitely couldn’t care less. Another great return from another band back from the dead. Now if somebody can just pass the memo on to Botch.


Introducing a husband (Justin Small, also part of Do Make Say Think) and wife (Kat Small), bottling thunder on their second record and intent on making an impression on you and your eardrums. Lullabye Arkestra have abandoned any softer edges that fluffed up their ‘Ampgrave’ debut and given in completely to their collective Black Sabbath and Motorhead obsession. And holy fuck is their loss of control everybody else’s almighty gain. They’ve written guaran-damn-teed indie rock hits only to smother them in black Canadian sludge (‘Get Nervous’), punk rock steamrollers (‘Icy Hands’), and the sort of post-everything ragers that Death From Above would be writing if they could have held it together (‘We Fuck The Night’, ‘Euroshima’). For fans of Big Black, Liars, and late nights that leave you with a ringing in your ears.


EMMURE- Felony

Some of this is so stupid. From the lyric sheet to the guitar tabs see, Emmure have broken down their already simple formula to the very basics. Seriously, it might have cooler tattoos and tighter t-shirts but some of ‘Felony’ is “I did it all for the nookie” silly. Despite all that though, it’s bloody brilliant.

It’s the landslide-heavy chug that Emmure, alongside names like Recon and (best of friends) The Acacia Strain, have spent their careers perfecting that is pivotal to this. Oh sure, if you concentrate on frontman Frankie Palmeri screaming “Oh shit, what the fuck did I just do” over and over or the gunshots introducing the big breakdown in the title track you’ll only get frustrated that Emmure aren’t trying harder on their third full-length. But the big, brutish power and massive, moshable grooves elsewhere here are simply irresistible. ‘Sunday Bacon’ is two minutes of terror and ridiculously low growls, ‘I Thought You Met Telly…’ gets as many points for referencing Kids as it does its dark and dirty riffs, and if the midsection of ‘You Sunk My Battleship’ doesn’t make you want to throw down just a little then you’re taking life far too seriously.

This isn’t a completely one-dimensional record either- ‘First Impressions’ features the usual feral vocals and thunderous drums but plenty of technical guitars and drive too, ‘The Philosophy Of Time Travel’ is the sort of interlude that Deftones regularly pen, and where ‘I <3 EC2’ introduces proper clean vocals to Emmure’s cannon for the first time, the croons through ‘Don't Be One’ work so well that it could be a new Glassjaw cut. And as ‘Immaculate Misconception’ hammers to a close, 12 tracks and 30 minutes after ‘Felony’ first exploded into life, it only leaves you wanting more (although if Emmure keep producing albums at this rate, the wait won’t be long). Young, dumb, and full of fun, but brilliant too.