SOUND JUDGE­MENT

THE LAT­EST AL­BUM RE­LEASES RATED AND RE­VIEWED

Uxbridge Gazette - - Sound Out -

FRANK TURNER – BE MORE KIND

★★★★★ DON’T Worry, the open­ing track on English folk-rock singer-song­writer

Frank Turner’s sev­enth al­bum is a state­ment for the anx­ious times we live in, telling us: “don’t worry if you don’t know what to do.” It sets a theme for the al­bum.

Whilst there are a few non-po­lit­i­cal songs, it’s when Turner sticks with politics that his song­writ­ing abil­ity and mu­si­cian­ship shines through.

On the track named af­ter Don­ald Trump’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign slo­gan (Make Amer­ica Great Again) he of­fers the US some rous­ing “sug­ges­tions from the spe­cial re­la­tion­ship”, such as: “let’s make Amer­ica great again/by mak­ing racists ashamed again.”

It could be the most po­lit­i­cal al­bum from Frank Turner in a while, and may well be his best yet.

PLAN B – HEAVEN BE­FORE ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE

★★★★★ THE third stu­dio al­bum from Plan B, real name Ben Drew, is ev­ery­thing you could hope for: stay­ing true to the sounds that de­fined his early days, but he also ven­tures ef­fort­lessly into new sound ter­ri­tory.

Grate­ful is a strong opener on the al­bum – easy on the ear and equally catchy. Other stand-out tracks in­clude Stranger, Heart­beat and the al­ready re­leased ti­tle track.

It’s A War will also no doubt be a hit with fans. Then you’re thrown straight into Plan B at his best with Guess Again – which is kind of what the en­tire al­bum keeps you do­ing.

JANELLE MONAE – DIRTY COM­PUTER

★★★★★ UN­TIL now, Janelle Monae’s pub­lic per­sona has been an­drog­y­nous an­droid but there’s been a hor­monal surge in the sys­tem and there is rage in the ma­chine in this, her third stu­dio al­bum.

Her sound con­tin­ues to cross gen­res from hip-hop to funk, with more in be­tween. Make Me Feel is un­mis­take­ably in­spired by her men­tor and hero Prince, as is the sense of her re­veal­ing raw sex­u­al­ity but there’s also a strong state­ment on the state of the na­tion, the clos­ing track Amer­i­cans, takes a swipe at the Amer­i­can dream, while Crazy, Clas­sic Life says ev­ery­thing might be a mess but let’s party any­way.

The mu­si­cal land­scape is mostly up­beat and cel­e­bra­tory, but lyri­cally, there is plenty of power, in­tel­li­gence and strength.

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