Little Simz – Grey Area Review

Leading off with the brilliant, urgent single ‘Offence’ is a brilliant way to start off Little Simz’ latest album, with it’s pure confidence and witty lyrics perfectly setting the tone for the rest of the project. This confidence is completely matched by her skill, making for one of the freshest rap albums in a long time.

‘Venom’ shows Simz at her fiercest on the album and it’s really impressive to see her attack a track at that speed, but the album isn’t all fast paced and hard-hitting, with tracks such as ‘Therapy’ and ‘Sherbert Sunset’ seeing her really open up with introspective lyrics.

‘Selfish’ features a really smooth, catchy hook provided by Cleo Sol and a really funky percussion beat and light piano backing that just sounds really luscious and full; the whole album sounds like it could be being played live.

Simz has picked her featured artists on ‘Grey Area’ very well, with Little Dragon and Michael Kiwanuka providing well-placed guest spots that provide softer, more soulful vocals that pair really with Simz’ harder hitting verses.

This album proves all of the hype that is surrounding Little Simz at the moment, showing an artist at the top of her game with a brilliant, bright album.

97%

 

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Nina Nesbitt – The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change Review

This is Nina’s second album, and it’s been a long time in the making. With a myriad of record label troubles and other issues plaguing her path so far, it must take someone tough to come through and eventually put out an album, especially one like this.

‘The Sun Will Come Up..’ is a focused, brilliantly produced pop album with Nina’s crisp, controlled voice and new found confidence cutting through each and every song.

‘Is It Really Me You’re Missing’ is an honest, open point on the album that shows off Nina’s Voice with minimalist production and a soft piano backing, and the title track which closes the album is another example of great storytelling by Nina.

The run of tracks from ‘The Moments I’m Missing’ through to ‘Somebody Special’ show the quality of the songwriting on show here; most of the tracks here feel like they could be singles but the album still flows very well as a whole.

A great album that shows real promise for the future from Nina.

85%

Green Book – Movie Review

Green Book is a movie about master pianist Don Shirley and how he negotiated a tour of the deep south of the U.S.A in 1962. Don is played by Mahershala Ali, and his newly recruited driver/road manager Viggo Mortensen. The two of them are simply brilliant on-screen together.

Green Book is nominated for several Oscars, and it’s clear to see why. It manages to be funny, charming and tackle the issue of segregation in the deep south without the movie ever becoming too preachy or patronising to the viewer. The titular Green Book is

Both Viggo and Mahershala shine in their respective roles and are fully believable as their characters. The surrounding cast are also brilliant, with none of the characters seeming one-dimensional or shoehorned in; you can believe everybody shown has their own story.

Throughout the film, you witness Tony Lip’s character development while seeing Dr Shirley slowly warm up to his ways, and this slow-burn friendship is genuinely heartwarming, and seeing the chemistry between the two characters grow is the real heart of Green Book.

A truly great movie.

95%

James Blake – Assume Form Review

The new album from Singer/Producer James Blake can be a bit of a mixed bag, and seems a bit one-note at the beginning, but when it gets into its stride and you give it more listens, it’s not hard to see why he gathers so much attention, this being his best project to date.

‘Tell Them’ is a mesmerising, low-key trap infused track, with great features from Moses Sumney and Metro Boomin, with Moses’ vocals melding really well with James. This flows beautifully into the more sombre and touching ‘Into The Red’, which is a genuinely lovely tribute to Jameela Jamil, his current girlfriend.

Rosalia’s vocals are silky smooth as always on the track ‘Barefoot In The Park’, again James showing he knows who fits in well with his own sound, and the following track ‘Can’t Believe The Way We Flow’ continues a great run of tracks.

‘Where’s The Catch?’ with Andre 3000 is my favourite track on the album, with Andre unsurprisingly delivering an amazing verse over a great, complex beat provided by James, with the track shifting from calmer chill-hop to glitchier beats effortlessly.

‘I’ll Come Too’ is another heartfelt ballad, set to slightly spooky sounding theramin-esque backing synths and strings, but it works really well.

This is James at his best: honest, open and with all his emotions on his sleeve, allowing him to make the best music he ever has.

82%

Dodie – Human EP Review

The latest EP from Dodie is her best project yet, with brutally honest and open lyrics paired with a selection of the best produced and written tracks the singer-songwriter has put out so far.

‘Monster’ is a brilliant track; it’s one of those songs that appear simple upon first listen, but the instrumental with its groovy synth pattern and developing layers is really deep and complex, and the backing vocals are lovely too. Her best one to date.

‘Not What I Meant’ has Dodie pair up with Lewis Watson, and the duo’s voices blend really nicely together for a really pleasant, chill folky ballad that reminded me a bit of Seth Lakeman. The Title track, ‘Human’ with Tom Walker is another example of how hard hitting her lyrics can be ; specific to her experiences but again so relatable they are especially effective paired with those vocals and haunting melody.

To me, ‘If I’m Being Honest’ sounds like a track that would fit right into ‘La La Land’ or ‘Mary Poppins’, and that’s in no way a bad thing; it plods along in the nicest way and I can picture her walking along in the rain singing it in some kind of musical.

A great EP that shows Dodie just keeps improving, and shows real promise for a potential full album; but if the quality of her EPs keeps up like this, i’m not sure she needs to do one.

85%

Track Review: Foals – Exits

Foals are back! This new single is the first taste of a lot to come from the lads in 2019, as they have two full-length albums coming out this year under the name ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost’, with part one coming in March.

‘Exits’ is a long first track, coming in at around 6 minutes, but it doesnt drag. It’s unmistakably Foals, with groovy riffs and Yannis’ powerful vocals, but as with between their previous albums there is a slight difference in their sound that has helped to keep them fresh; ‘Exits’ is a lot more synth heavy and dance influenced than their last effort ‘What Went Down’.

The more you listen to ‘Exits’, the more little layers of synths and guitars you pick up you begin to realise just how well produced this is, especially towards the tail-end of the track where everything is building up and with lyrics that reference the world being upside down and ‘all the exits being covered’, Foals prove they still have their fingers on the pulse.

85%

Kero Kero Bonito – Time ‘n’ Place Review

Time ‘n’ Place is the second studio album from experimental British 3 piece Kero Kero Bonito, who on their debut EP ‘Intro Bonito’ and subsequent first album proved themselves to be one of the most exciting, inventive new groups around. Drawing from a wide range of influences, ‘Bonito Generation’ was a bright, colourful record.

Based on the opening track ‘Outside’, it is clear that KKB have not just made a ‘Bonito Generation 2’, with it being more guitar based and instantly heavier than most things on their debut. Don’t worry, the band’s charm is still here in abundance on Time ‘n’ Place, with KKB developing their sound while not losing any of what made them great the first time around.

‘Time Today’ is an early album highlight, with Sarah happily singing about how she has a day to herself. The album continues very strongly into ‘Only Acting’ which details how Sarah feels while performing live over a nice pop-punky backing, that brilliantly self destructs towards the end.

The whole album is just as strong, most songs telling specific, on the nose stories over innovative beats and utilising Sarah’s unique vocal style perfectly, with ‘Dump’ being a nice little story about a rubbish dump, and ‘Dear Future Self’ being a letter to future self.

Closing track ‘Rest Stop’ begins sounding like the end credit music to an old Sega game like Nights or Alex Kidd before exploding into what is essentially a few minutes of noise music with Sarah faintly singing in the background before fading out to just Sarah. Odd, but it works. Good.

93%

You can buy Time ‘n’ Place here, or stream it below.