Booty­li­cious is back

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Music - JAR­RAD BE­VAN MIKEY CAHILL The English Riviera Out now ( Warner)

EF­FORT­LESS, that’s Bey­once.

Four al­bums into her solo ca­reer, the for­mer Des­tiny’s Child singer has be­come a near peer­less per­former.

She can be as weird as Gaga, as nutty as Brit­ney, as quirky as Katy Perry but she doesn’t need to.

What sets her apart is her skill as a torch singer. And it comes eas­ily to her, she’s a nat­u­ral.

Her con­tem­po­raries, if you can call them that, don’t have voices strong enough to com­mand the same level of at­ten­tion with­out all the fire­works and meat dresses.

Never one to chase fads, Bey­once is a singer’s singer, cut in the mould of Ella Fitzger­ald, Shirley Bassey and Aretha Franklin.

It’s never been more ev­i­dent than 4’ s open­ing song 1+ 1.

While the rest of the pop R& B world goes silly with gim­micks, Bey­once steps up with a sen­ti­men­tal love song; and it is a slam dunk.

Backed by Prince-like gui­tars and soft pi­anos, she sings an em­pow­er­ing bal­lad that burns slowly. It’s beau­ti­ful stuff.

Her voice whispers on I Miss You, a tale of heartache and de­sire. Her per­for­mance is re­strained and pitch-per­fect, float­ing over an am­bi­ent synth pulse. The song was writ­ten with Frank Ocean from al­ter­na­tive hip-hop act Odd Fu­ture Wolf Gang Kill Them All, com­pletely left field and eas­ily the best song he’s ever had a hand in pro­duc­ing.

Best Thing I Never Had lifts the mood to a happier place with smil­ing pi­anos and op­ti­mistic lyrics. Tri­umphant and strong, Bey­once sounds like an artist in­ti­mately in touch with her emo­tions.

Kanye West swag­gers into the stu­dio to throw some mu­sic and words at a mid-tempo jam dubbed Party. Bey­once’s saucy, coo­ing vo­cals blend nicely with An­dre 3000’ s cameo.

The Outkast rap­per drops a dash of laid­back, south­ern attitude on the track. There are echoes of the late 1970s, early ’ 80s pop-soul here and all three artists wear it well.

All the pro­duc­ers who worked on this al­bum are first-rate hit mak­ers. But it was the con­tri­bu­tion by dub­step, hip-hop and reg­gae guru Diplo that many were keen to hear and End of Time doesn’t dis­ap­point. Its stomping, march­ing drums and bril­liant brass stand out on an al­bum that is packed with great mu­sic. Fe­ro­cious and pas­sion­ate.

It would be weird to re­view this al­bum with­out men­tion­ing the sin­gle Run the World ( Girls). And yet, it’s re­ally not the best song on the al­bum, not even close.

It’s one of very few mo­ments where Bey­once in­dulges her pen­chant for bizarre pop sounds. Over the top in ev­ery pos­si­ble way, there’s not much to like about this song ex­cept for its en­ergy. It heav­ily sam­ples Pon de Floor by Ma­jor Lazer but adds lit­tle to it.

‘‘ But I find it hard to say too much be­cause I don’t want to sound like a d---head. I cer­tainly don’t dis­cour­age peo­ple from drink­ing be­fore a show, quite the op­po­site re­ally.

‘‘ I’m not the most sen­si­ble one in the band, that re­spon­si­bil­ity falls to Anna.’’

Anna Prior not only drums sense into the quar­tet, she is the per­cus­sion­ist in the ef­fer­ves­cent, ever-chang­ing in­die pop group.

Os­car Cash han­dles sax­o­phone, back­ing vo­cals and key­boards, Gbenga Adelekan plays bass and back­ing vo­cals and Mount does ev­ery­thing else, even pro­duce.

It’s im­por­tant you get to know them, dear reader, be­cause they will be out here for Falls Fes­ti­val.

‘‘ We’re def­i­nitely play­ing over New Year,’’ Mount says.

‘‘ We’ve got friends in Mel­bourne now and favourite lit­tle places to go to have bar­be­cues.’’

Aus­tralia is fast be­com­ing the third base for Metron­omy.

‘‘ Last time we were there the Ashes were on and we were go­ing to bars and feel­ing a lit­tle bit smug that we were win­ning,’’ he says.

‘‘ We took a tram to a house party in Mel­bourne, it was a real treat.’’

Metron­omy have treated us to three records since form­ing in 1999.

They de­buted with Pip Paine ( Pay The 5000 You Owe) in 2006 then broke through to be­come cult heroes of in­dus­trial punk funk and con­trary pop with Nights Out in 2008.

Recorded in Smoke­house Stu­dios in Lon­don and Mo­tor­bass in Paris, their third al­bum The English Riviera is a neat love letter to Mount’s home­town of Torquay in Devon.

‘‘ Torquay al­ways rep­re­sents the same thing to me, a nice place with po­ten­tial,’’ Mount re­flects.

The same could have been said about Metron­omy, un­til now.

The first sin­gle The Look is one of the sin­gles of the year, an or­ganic or­gan line opens up a can of ear­worms when the slowly de­scend­ing chords set­tle like For­rest Gump’s feather on your ears as the bass, gui­tar and drums lock to­gether.

When Re­mote Con­trol tweeted The Look ’ s film clip a few months ago, blog­gers like big­stereo. net went gang­busters.

For many, it was vin­di­ca­tion for back­ing the lit­tle band that could.

‘‘ We’ve had a lot of fans that re­ally get the mu­sic and try and force it on their friends, even if their friends are re­sis­tant. I feel like this al­bum is a nice gift.’’

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