THE LATEST ALBUM RELEASES RATED AND REVIEWED
IN THE SHAPE OF A STORM
DAMIEN JURADO ★★★★★
THE opening track of singersongwriter Damien Jurado’s latest, Lincoln, was apparently written 20 years ago but is only now surfacing, along with nine other songs, on an album that was recorded in just two hours.
Naturally, this didn’t allow for much embellishment. Even by Jurado’s usual standards, who has made a name for himself in lo-fi music, this is a minimalist work: little more than vocals and gently strummed guitar. In this way it recalls the earliest Bob Dylan records, with echoes too of Leonard Cohen and Eliot Smith, and it is fit to stand alongside the best works of all three.
NOT WAVING, BUT DROWNING LOYLE CARNER ★★★★ ★
BRIT nominee Carner is lots of things in one. Starting from his genre agnosticism, his sophomore album continues the arresting tracks, warmth and unfussy honesty of his lauded debut.
The title track, a spoken piece, concerns “the brave pretence” that makes us conceal suffering, and implicitly announces this album’s quest for a non-toxic masculinity. Carner’s zero-grand-standing vocal style and unpretentiousness (highlighted by digressions and studio chat) are a refreshing mark of authenticity.
CAGE THE ELEPHANT ★★★★ ★
FOR a record inspired by the unravelling of frontman Matt
Shultz’s marriage, this fifth album is a gloriously confident, swaggering affair.
Social Cues is a desperately sad yet awesomely uplifting record.
Take the title track – clearly inspired by Bowie’s Ashes To Ashes – which hides an elegy for lost love under layers of motorik drums. “I’ll be in the bathroom / Tell me when it’s over / I don’t want to play this part much longer,” Schulz sings as the world he’s crafted since 2014 falls apart.
Moving away from their primary influences – Pixies, Nirvana – and towards a melange of louche pop and weighty glam rock gives the band space to stretch out.