As the title of the record makes obvious, PJ Harvey’s latest album Let England Shake, is more or less about England. But not the urban sprawl London-centric England that is home to the Artic Monkeys, nor the semi-mystical songs from the woods of Jethro Tull, but rather, a dark, decaying England; the filthy mess of ages left behind in the wake of the Great War.
The Death Set firmly occupy the more self-aware, I-hesitate-to-say-hipsterish end of the pop-punk scale – rather than Minor Threat, think the irreverence of early Beastie Boys, with a copy of Pro Tools in their back pocket.
I think it’s safe to say that Sydney four-piece Ghoul are happy to wear their influences on their sleeve. Dunks, their latest self-proclaimed ‘mini-album’ is a Radiohead-esque patchwork, equal parts drum loops and live drums, guitar and synth, handclap percussion and electronic glitch.
Lance Ferguson wears many musical hats – bandleader of funk outfit The Bamboos, and part of indie-pop/jazz combo Washington – and for his second solo album, under the moniker of Lanu, Ferguson has wisely thought to bring along band mate Megan Washington for vocal duties.
Roxette certainly know the formula, as they should – they’ve had 25 years to learn it. On Charm School, their first album in a decade, every song sits comfortably within the two-and-a-half to four minute regulation pop song length. Soft verses are followed by loud choruses. There are a few ballads in there, presumably to show their sensitive side. But how does it stack up to the cheesy Roxette we all remember?
Great Barrier Grief, the sophomore release from Melbourne-based Oh Mercy, is pleasant, breezy, and polished. The record opens with a nice steady foot-tapping drums-and-marimba beat, and a nice warm jangly guitar sound, both of which are, well…pleasant, breezy and polished! Alexander Gow’s low-key vocals, a touch reminiscent of Gomez’s Ian Ball, are definitely pleasant, breezy and polished. The record then continues to be pleasant, breezy and polished for the next 38 minutes, and then it stops.