March music reviews

The XX
I See You


An album with such high levels of anticipation is always in danger of leaving us unsatisfied. Sitting with this album for a number of weeks now, I am yet to put a hold on what I like, and what I do not. Indeed, it boasts remnants of The XX of old which we grew to love, with songs such as Replica sharing the same spatial, minimalistic sound of their previous albums. However, overall, there seems too much influence from Jamie XX’s solo ventures for me to characterise it as ‘The XX’. This is not to say it isn’t good. In places, it is utterly phenomenal; the album holds a sense of growth within it – over time, it will be one which I’ll become extremely fond of.

Rating: 7/10
Standout Track: Replicas

Ed Sheeran
Shape of You / Castle on the Hill

MUSIC Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran continues to bewilder me, and his new singles are no exception. What is bewildering is his ability (or lack of…) to hold onto a single genre, and continue to be successful. Undoubtedly, he has shifted into the realm of pop extremely successfully. From a musical quality perspective however, his previous work was far more convincing and generally better, with a firmer grip on his intricate and talented guitar playing.

Rating: 4/10

London Grammar
Rooting For You

MUSIC London Grammar

The haunting, pervasive and bellowing tone of lead singer Hannah Reid’s voice characterises their new single. It is a tease, there remains very little sign of a new album despite the single and a number of various live shows. We can share a continued optimism however, that London Grammar’s sound will continue to be minimalistic: a haunting voice, palm muted, echoing guitars, serene piano and appropriate percussion, the combination of which will continue to define their sound.

Rating: 6/10


MUSIC Aquilo

Very rarely does an album’s artwork capture the music depicted throughout the entire album. The dark electronic groove, mixed with the sensual downtempo adds an air of mystery to Silhouettes; the purple and black perfectly reflect the tempo of the album. Aquilo have created a sounds which could easily be put into R&B, slow and invasive basslines, subtle percussion and empowering, Sam Smith-esque vocals – elements which help to create an interesting, relatively unknown album.

Rating: 7/10
Standout Track: Never
Hurt Again

Glass Mountain
Glacial (EP)

MUSIC Glass Mountain

Combining acoustic twang with piano, roaring into a distorted guitar sound with a heavy beat is somewhat characteristic of 90s Grunge. Glass Mountain’s latest EP seems to be a revival of that dirty and melancholic drone reminiscent of Pearl Jam and the occasional Nirvana track. The title-track is certainly noteworthy, where Glass Mountain’s lead singer, Harry Hanson is in full flow, bringing back a much loved dynamic to rock music.

Rating: 6/10
Standout Track: Glacial


MUSIC T2 Trainspotting

‘Choose life. Choose Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and hope that someone, somewhere, cares.’ The same but different. The only way to describe The Trainspotting T2 Soundtrack: featuring the likes of Bowie, Iggy Pop once again making an appearance and of course, Born Slippy by Underworld, perhaps the only song to fully characterise the high tempo, anarchistic yet soul searching nature of Trainspotting. I repeat, ‘choose life’.

I feel the best song on the reinvigorated sequel soundtrack is Joy Division’s Atmosphere. Indeed, Born Slippy denotes the nature of Trainspotting, and helped make it a cult classic when it was released, but there is something about the ambiguous, almost poetic nature which contributes to its aura of nostalgia, a perfect track for an extremely nostalgic film.

Rating: 8/10
Standout Track: Atmosphere, Joy Division


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