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AC/DC – POWER UP Power
AC/DC has been through the proverbial ringer since their last release, 2014’s “Rock Or Bust,”.
Shortly before his death in 2017, Dementia pushed rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young into retirement, while singer Brian Johnson left mid-tour due to persistent hearing problems.
Just by listening to Power Up, which is one of the best albums of Australian rockers since their heyday in the ’70s and’ 80s, you wouldn’t know it.
The album, its 17th, brings the remaining members of the classic lineup together: lead guitarist Angus Young, vocalist Johnson, drummer Phil Rudd and bassist Cliff Williams, plus new rhythm guitar addition Stevie Young.
It’s a strong homage to Malcolm Young that demonstrates that rocking into old age is possible – all band members are in their 60s or 70s.
After an imaginative listening stint, Johnson – back in the band – delivers his signature chops until the band launches into a 12-song assault on the senses.
“Shot In The Dark” lead single conveys unabashed positivity, while “Mists Of Time” sounds like a souped-up power ballad from the ’80s.
Possibly, Malcolm Young will be proud.
(Alex Green’s review)
CONFETTI – LITTLE MIX
Little Mix demonstrates that they can get away with everything and yet hit the mark with their new release, Confetti.
It’s a kaleidoscope of different genres: in Break Up Song, ’80s power pop, the girls come together on the soulful ballad My Love Won’t Let You Down, assault R&B in the surefire hit Sweet Melody, and prove that with British grime-tinged bop Happiness they can remain significant.
There’s something for everyone and important to any circumstance, be it passion, heartbreak, loss or triumph, with a variety of emotions from the sexy Nothing But My Feelings to the strong and stirring Gloves Up to the dreamy, romantic holiday.
There are also moments of vulnerability and insecurity that are endearing and inspiring.
Gone are the days when there were just token pop acts for girl groups. There is substance and style in Little Mix, but also the unique touch that each member can sing on their own as well as harmonize as a group.
Let the Spice Girls aside, maybe the best British girl band ever is Little Mix.
(Sophie Goodall’s review)
Night Network – THE CRIBS
For the past few years, though going through a time of musical inactivity, The Cribs have been lying in wait in the US.
Having left the UK for newer and warmer climates, it seems that all the free time has translated into their musical success in their current setting.
While The Cribs’ classic lo-fi signature is omnipresent, they have shed their gritty British ways as Night Network brings out some great American influences, hailed as their best album to date.
There’s always a nod to the Strokes’ indie sound, there’s surf rock that wouldn’t be out of place on a Pixies record, and the Ramones’ lush nostalgia is clear.
It may come as a surprise that they have moved away from their high-energy, raw punk style and the rough edges of the band have been sanded down to the point of total mellowness, but a nice, warming surprise is the Beach Boys-esque, hazy sunshine sound, as are the lush and smooth guitar hooks that layer the tracks without losing their low-fi sound entirely.
It’s a fun new direction for the band and shows that without compromising who you are, it’s possible to move into a new genre.
(Sophie Goodall’s review)
PALOMA Trust – Stuff INFINITE
The fifth studio album by Paloma Faith shows the singer at her emotional, dramatic best in tracks such as Better Than This, the first single.
Another unsparing representation of the ups and downs of a relationship is If Loving You Was Free, while a song dripping with raw emotion is If This Is Goodbye.
The upbeat Supernatural opening track sounds like anyone could sing it, but with the fast-paced, attitude-driven second track, Beast, and the second single, Gold, Faith quickly puts her distinctive stamp on the sound of the record.
Me Time is going to appeal to many, especially parents who crave five minutes of silence.
Infinite Stuff provides plenty of contrast to some tracks that are perfect for getting you to dance, if only during lockdown in your kitchen, while others deliver great, tear-jerking