XL What on earth is that sound? Oh, yeah – it’s gor­geous pop mu­sic, the likes of which just don’t seem to get made any­more. On their third al­bum, Vam­pire Week­end (one of the most in­ter­est­ing bands around) serve it sunny side up, even if they re­main as idio­syn­cratic as ever. The first three tracks here – the per­cus­sive-led Ob­vi­ous Bi­cy­cle (great ti­tle), the bounce beat Un­be­liev­ers and the Beach Boys-style Step – are enough to jus­tify the ad­mis­sion price. And the qual­ity level rarely drops there­after, with Ya Hey a par­tic­u­lar stand- out. Like a hap­pier ver­sion of Mer­cury Rev, Vam­pire Week­end reach the parts the other bands don’t even know about it. A great al­bum. vam­pireweek­

Ya Hey, Ob­vi­ous Bi­cy­cle, Step. Heavy­weight Records “Big in Ja­pan” isn’t just a mu­sic in­dus­try cliché if you’re En­e­mies, the Wick­low band whose fine 2010 de­but led to a record deal and tour in the Land of the Ris­ing Sun. On their sec­ond al­bum the in­stru­men­tal quar­tet have shaken off the label of “Red­neck Man­i­festo Jr”, invit­ing var­i­ous guest vo­cal­ists from Ir­ish bands Heathers and The Cast of Cheers to en­hance their vi­brant, melodic songs. The stri­dent riff of Ex­ec­u­tive Cut is an early high­light, yet warmth and in­tri­cacy aren’t sac­ri­ficed in the quest for pow­er­house cho­ruses. In­dian Sum­mer’s play­ful­ness bleeds into mini-epic Coral Cas­tle, while Love Un­lim­ited and dreamy closer North West re­nounce the taut, mea­sured bounce of ear­lier tracks for a more con­sid­ered end­ing. An im­pres­sively pitched, pre­cisely paced and down­right en­joy­able sound­track to the sum­mer. Face­­e­miesen­e­mies Down­load: Ex­ec­u­tive Cut, Coral Cas­tle

Columbia Some thrilling alt.pop has been com­ing out of Los An­ge­les in re­cent times, and The Neigh­bour­hood are lead­ers of that par­tic­u­lar pack. Theirs is a sound where hooks take promi­nence, pop mu­sic with a pick-and-mix ap­proach to gen­res, as can be heard on the rav­ish­ing Sweather Weather and Fe­male Rob­bery. Both tracks grab lib­er­ally from in­die, pop, r’n’b, punk and hiphop bags to cre­ate tunes that are nigh on ir­re­sistible and tai­lor­made for the widest pos­si­ble ap­peal. It’s a trick that many acts have been cram­ming up on since Foster the Peo­ple rode this way with Pumped Up Kicks. The only prob­lem is that The Neigh­bour­hood just don’t have quite enough of those in­stant thrillers, and there are a few times when you’re deal­ing with fillers, not killers. More hits will, no doubt, come in time. thenbhd. com Down­load: Sweater Weather, Fe­male Rob­bery

Sci­en­tific Lab­o­ra­to­ries Records Around the houses, down the glen, up the val­ley, through the woods and back again – Dublin’s Dud­ley Cor­po­ra­tion have been plug­ging away for some time. Ev­ery­one Does Ev­ery­thing Wrong might be iron­i­cally ti­tled – you don’t de­liver three crit­i­cally well-re­ceived al­bums with­out do­ing some things mostly right, and you don’t pro­duce a work as wide-rang­ing as this (their first in five years) with­out the same lev­els de­ter­mi­na­tion and smarts. Es­chew­ing their one-time stop/start in­die rock for a sound that em­braces hard-hit­ting post(ish)-rock ( DLQ), evoca­tive sound­scap­ing ( The Drop, a Beach Boys/High Lla­mas hy­brid) and a nifty col­lec­tion of laser-guided gui­tar so­los ( Ev­ery­one Does Ev­ery­thing Wrong Pt II), th­ese guys wrong­foot the naysay­ers time af­ter time. the­dud­l­ey­cor­po­ra­ Down­load: The Drop, Ev­ery­one Does Ev­ery­thing Wrong Pt II Records Trad, folk and vin­tage Hawai­ian record­ings may not be the most ob­vi­ous of mu­si­cal bed­fel­lows, but all three gen­res are ev­i­dent in Peter De­laney’s dis­tinc­tive style. The ukulele-tot­ing Lim­er­ick­man’s sec­ond stu­dio al­bum ini­tially takes time to set­tle, but there’s much to en­joy once his quirky ap­proach has been es­tab­lished. De­laney’s ten­u­ous rasp of a voice com­mands songs such as My Rat Brain beau­ti­fully and dis­closes a lovely ten­der­ness on The Be­calm­ing. Mu­si­cally, how­ever, the lack of variation can prove frus­trat­ing, de­spite his demon­strated abil­ity to pluck, strum and tickle his minia­ture weapon of choice. So the ad­di­tion of cello on A Maudlin Luna’Ula is wel­come, as is the foot-stomp­ing and wheeze of ac­cor­dion on the epic The Guest. De­laney’s spar­tan style may prove po­lar­is­ing, but his sin­cer­ity can’t be faulted. Peter-de­

Out on a Limb Down­load: The Guest, A Maudlin Luna’Ula

Par­lophone This 20-year-old Wilt­shire singer-song­writer is prob­a­bly best known (so far) for her cover of Frankie Goes to Hol­ly­wood’s The Power of Love sound­track­ing a TV ad­vert for a Bri­tish chain store – a ver­sion that grabbed the top spot in the UK sin­gles chart De­cem­ber last. Ne­go­ti­at­ing suc­cess from cov­ers to self-writ­ten ma­te­rial, how­ever, is al­ways tricky, es­pe­cially for such a gener­i­cally de­cent song­writer. Which is to say that while there’s noth­ing on her de­but you haven’t heard be­fore, there are signs that Aplin is more at­tuned to Laura Mar­ling’s idea of folk mu­sic than any­one else you might think of. Early days, then. If Aplin can en­hance and am­plify her oc­ca­sion­ally quite deft pop/folk tunes ( Please Don’t Say You Love Me, Alive, Sal­va­tion, Hu­man) then fine; if not, she will surely join the queue of might-have-beens. gabriel­ Down­load: Please Don’t Say You Love Me, Sal­va­tion

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