rock/pop

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC REVIEWS -

BRUNO MARS

Unortho­dox Juke­box At­lantic ★★★ Bruno Mars (pass­port name Peter Her­nan­dez) has be­come some­thing of a pop phe­nom­e­non since his 2010 de­but al­bum, Doo-Wops & Hooli­gans . Can all the peo­ple who bought six mil­lion copies of the al­bum and 40 mil­lion copies of its sin­gles be wrong? Well, yes, and no. Yes, in that there is ab­so­lutely noth­ing on the de­but or this fol­low-up that you haven’t heard be­fore. No, in that at least Mars’s ap­pro­pri­a­tions of Tamla Motown and other well-trod­den gen­res has a spring in its col­lec­tive step. Songs such as Locked Out of Heaven, Go­rilla, When I Was Your Man and If I Knew may be in se­ri­ous hock to their sources, but Mars has a snappy way with rhythms and rhymes. No killer, then, but no filler, ei­ther. bruno­mars.com

TONY CLAY­TON-LEA

Down­load: When I Was Your Man, Go­rilla, If I Knew KE$HA

War­rior RCA ★★★ When it comes to cre­at­ing a brand for her­self, Ke­sha Se­bert is top of the class. The cou­ple of mil­lion sales for An­i­mal showed that there was a mar­ket for a trashy, poppy bad girl who wanted to party all night and day be­fore do­ing it all over again. The ques­tion now is if that same mar­ket are up for an­other Ke$ha ex­pe­ri­ence along sim­i­lar lines. War­rior has Ke$ha in rock mode, chan­nelling her in­ner Joan Jett or Suzi Qu­at­tro with a bunch of per­fectly primed, emo­tion-free an­thems de­signed to keep all in­ter­ested par­ties happy. Dirty Love is prob­a­bly the best thing here, with that ev­er­green old rogue Iggy Pop adding lava­cious, leer­ing tones to its glammy stomp. The Wayne Coyne-aided Past Lives is a soft-hearted, bland bal­lad, and Crazy Kids shows she can also throw some en­ter­tain­ing rap strops. A sur­pris­ingly de­cent if wholly pre­dictable pop al­bum, then. ke­sha­party.com JIM CAR­ROLL Down­load: Dirty Love, Crazy Kids THE BRYAN FERRY ORCHES­TRA

The Jazz Age BMG ★★ To cel­e­brate 40 years in mu­sic, Roxy Mu­sic’s chief smoothie has re­vis­ited his back cat­a­logue and re­ar­ranged them in a Roar­ing ’20s style. Ferry’s no stranger to the era, hav­ing cov­ered Cole Porter with aplomb. So croon­ing vin­tage jazz ver­sions of Avalon, Love Is the Drug and Don’t Stop the Dance should be well within his re­mit. But here’s the twist: Ferry doesn’t sing on this al­bum, pre­fer­ring to play the ban­dleader and let the orches­tra do its thing. If you’ve ever won­dered what Roxy Mu­sic and Bryan Ferry songs would sound like on your gran­dad’s old 78s, this is for you. Do the Strand and Slave to Love fit nicely into the 1920s tuxe­dos, and the mu­si­cians (many of them veteran Bri­tish jazz greats) turn in ex­em­plary per­for­mances. But, like the Charleston, this has lim­ited nov­elty value, although it would be per­fect for a cock­tail party.

KEVIN COURT­NEY

Down­load: Don’t Stop the Dance, The Only Face DOG IS DEAD

All Our Favourite Sto­ries At­lantic ★★ It’s al­ways in­ter­est­ing to watch a band’s meta­mor­pho­sis from plucky wannabes to would-be rock stars un­der the tute­lage of a record la­bel. Their rum­bus­tious charm is prob­a­bly what gained Not­ting­ham’s Dog Is Dead so many suit­ors in the first place, so it’s a shame that those rough, un­kempt, dis­tinc­tive edges have been largely blunted and re­moved on their de­but al­bum. They still can pen a killer hook or big cho­rus – check out Do the Right Thing or Get Low – but the re­drafted Glock­en­spiel Song and River Jor­dan now lack the oomph and wob­bles that made them such an in­ter­est­ing propo­si­tion to be­gin with. In­stead, it’s as if the al­bum’s soar­ing cho­ruses and an­themic rushes have been fi­nessed with a view to em­u­lat­ing Bom­bay Bi­cy­cle Club, and woo­ing those who choose the mu­sic for sports’ high­lights. do­gis­dead.co.uk

JIM CAR­ROLL

Down­load: Do the Right Thing SKE­LOCRATS

The Com­plete Ske­locrats Popical Is­land ★★★★ It’s a bit tongue-in-cheek for a band that’s barely a year old to re­lease their “com­plete” works, par­tic­u­larly given that the en­tire out­put to date amounts to just two EPs. But that’s just the kind of band Ske­locrats are. The su­per­group hewn from Dublin’s Popical Is­land band col­lec­tive are dis­arm­ingly slip­shod in their ap­proach to mak­ing mu­sic. It means that three-chord won­ders such as Baby Reap­praisal and Lit­tle Mo are sweetly sim­plis­tic rather than prim­i­tive, while the scuzzy, fuzzy pop clat­ter of Bit­ten by the Bug, the Zom­bies-style psychedelia of Beat Your Bud­dies, and the men­ac­ing Be My Dou­ble are high­lights amid the bar­rage of vo­cal swap­ping and gen­eral good-na­tured chaos. There’s plenty of hu­mour, as well, with lyrics such as “I hope your dogs die, your hus­band is gay, your kids run away”. Enough said. ske­locrats.band­camp.com

LAU­REN MURPHY

Down­load: Be My Dou­ble, Baby Reap­praisal GAL­LOPS

Yours Sin­cerely, Dr Hard­core Blood and Bis­cuits ★★★ Th­ese rock ex­per­i­men­tal­ists aren’t do­ing any­thing par­tic­u­larly new or in­no­va­tive on their de­but al­bum, pur­su­ing a sim­i­lar line in in­stru­men­tal rock to Ir­ish bands En­e­mies and And So I Watch You From Afar. Yet de­spite the Welsh quar­tet’s lack of orig­i­nal­ity, this is a record heaped with cre­ativ­ity thanks to the in­clu­sion of elec­tronic un­der­cur­rents seem­ingly culled from dated ar­cade videogames. Rhythm Is a Mis­ery’s hyp­notic elec­tronic mood ben­e­fits hugely from the fre­quent bursts of spacey syn­the­sizer. As­taroth’s glitchy in­tro gives way to a melody ap­par­ently scrounged from the orig­i­nal Tron sound­track, while Brom­den blends dra­matic tribal drums with a stut­ter­ing elec­tronic groove. It’s un­clear whether Gal­lops can pur­sue this niche much fur­ther, but they’re au­di­bly en­joy­ing them­selves. gal­lops.band­camp. com LAU­REN MURPHY Down­load tracks: Rhythm Is a Mis­ery, Brom­den

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