Review: "Hyperspace" sees Beck venture further down the pop road, drafting in a wealth of high profile, stadium-filling collaborators to realise what's arguably his most synthesised work to date. Full marks to anyone who, upon blind taste test, immediately jumped to the conclusion this was indeed Beck. Fear not, that's less a result of his iconic and infinitely listenable voice not shining through, and more down to what else is in these arrangements. Working with legendary studio genius Pharrell Williams (who co-produced and co-wrote), you'll also find Coldplay's Chris Martin and Georgia, US rapper and drummer Terrell Hines involved here, amongst others. Together with these names we're taken into a soaring, immersive and glittering world of sophisticated but chart-friendly anthems, from clap-a-long number "Die Waiting", to the epic space-rock closer "Everlasting Nothing".
Review: If this is your first encounter with Best Coast since the dreamy, sun-kissed rock 'n' roll of debut "Crazy For You", be prepared for a surprise. Loyal fans, meanwhile, are likely to see this latest offering as a logical progression for the talented lot, launching from the starting blocks with enviable propulsion and refusing to hold anything back until the record reaches its conclusion. There's so much muscle involved at moments you could be forgiven for thinking the Pixies were at work - "Everything Has Changed" could well have scored a grungy 1990s flick. In other moments, their pop sensibilities come to the fore, perhaps more than at any moment in the past, "For the First Time" recalling the likes of Fleetwood Mac or Blondie's most electronic moments. An altogether proud and confident record, if this is where Best Coast have got themselves we implore everyone to catch up as soon as possible.
Good Morning Love (feat Samora Pinderhughes) (4:52)
HER Love (feat Daniel Caesar & Dwele) (4:30)
Dwele's Interlude (1:02)
Hercules (feat Swizz Beatz) (2:55)
Fifth Story (feat Leikeli47) (4:36)
Forever Your Love (feat BJ The Chicago Kid) (4:03)
Leaders (Crib Love) (feat A-Trak) (3:31)
Memories Of Home (feat BJ The Chicago Kid & Samora Pinderhughes) (4:07)
Show Me That You Love (feat Jill Scott & Samora Pinderhughes) (5:32)
My Fancy Free Future Love (4:36)
God Is Love (feat Leon Bridges & Jonathan McReynolds) (3:55)
Review: Hip hop giant Common remains hugely prolific despite a career spanning the best part of thirty years. Let Love is his 12th studio album and third in three years. It pulls in collaborators like Jill Scott, Swizz Beatz and A-Trak, but retains his trademark sense of storytelling. As the title suggests, it's a lovestruck affair with golden production and gently lilting beats that make for a touching listen. Shouting out his respect to Cardi B, ASAP Rocky, and Tyler The Creator along the way, this is an album of pure positivity, a place of light in these dark times, and another winner from this legendary artist.
Review: Even though he's been active for years, Los Angeles-based Adam Dyment aka Duke Dumont has never released a full length before. "Duality", then, is his long-awaited debut and it features a wide variety of moods and grooves, as well as some stylish collaborations. Dumont's infectious take on club music is best heard on the funky house party starter "The Power". Hear the drummer get wicked on the breakbeat energy of "Therapy", in addition to the glassy-eyed and bittersweet slow burner "Let Me Go" featuring RY 'X' Cuming. We should also mention that there's some fine collaborations, such as with house music royalty Roland Clark on "Obey" and R'n'B favourite How to Dress Well on the evocative offering "Together".
Review: You could argue that, of any scene, the pop world has been the biggest beneficiary of the democratisation of access to music. After all, while chart irrelevancy continues to haunt, we've seen a real renaissance in and among the trash, with a resurgence of unfettered poignancy to the songs themselves, and a slew of soul searching stars in ascent. You could also argue that Halsey is the finest of this crop of new schoolers, with "Manic" her finest hour to date. A record that contains both US and UK number ones, but also hidden classics worthy of any "Best B-Sides" playlist you'd want to compile, it calls upon references from relatively unlikely places, for example trap, in its quest for universally acknowledged refinement. R&B, reroofed-future garage rock and even country are also here, making for a soundtrack as arresting vocally as it is instrumentally.
Review: By the time they headed into the studio to record Protection, Massive Attack were still riding high on the success of their peerless debut album, Blue Lines. While the resultant set, released in 1994, does quite hit the same dizzying heights, it remains a thoroughly great album. Of course, we all know the highlights by heart - the stoned bounce of "Karmacoma", evocative downtempo bliss of Tracey Thorn hook-up "Protection", string-drenched lusciousness of "Sly", and the gentle dub-house soul of the Horace Andy-voiced "Spying Glass", for example - but even the forgotten album cuts (see "Weather Storm" and "Better Things") have aged remarkably well. If you don't own a copy on vinyl already, you definitely should.
Review: There's a reason that Massive Attack's Blue Lines frequently appears in "greatest albums" lists. To put it simply, it's brilliant, and arguably remains the Bristol-based outfit's finest work to date (though some would argue that the dark and paranoid Mezzanine is possibly better). As this weighty vinyl reissue proves, it's lost none of its hazy, dub-propelled trip-hop charm. All-time classics such as "Unfinished Sympathy", "Safe From Harm" and "Hymn of the Big Wheel" have lost none of their soulful, mood-enhancing brilliance, while lesser celebrated cuts such as "Five Man Army" and "Lately" still sound great despite their vintage.
Review: Given Massive Attack's background, it was almost inevitable that they'd release a dub overhaul of one of their albums at one point. That time came in 1995, when British sound system legend Mad Professor - responsible for some of the greatest UK-made dub records of all time - put his distinctive twist on Protection. 21 years on, the set still sounds sublime: a radical translation that frequently bares only a passing resemblance to the Bristol band's original. It's packed with highlights, from the spaced-out, dub-house rework of "Spying Glass" ("I Spy"), to the ricocheting percussion hits and twinkling pianos of "Weather Storm (Cool Monsoon)", and creepy, delay-laden string surges of "Eternal Feedback (Sly)".
Review: Kent two-piece Slaves are purveyors of a wry, raw brand of old-fashioned punk rock that is as equal parts economical, raucous and exhilarating. They may take their cues from the nihilistic spirit of the Sex Pistols and the hormonal rage of garage rock, yet they parlay old-fashioned influences with contemporary spirit and intensity, in the process creating an album curiously timeless and primal. Yet most important to the charge of 'Are You Satisfied' is its scabrous lyrics and drummer/vocalist Isaac Holman's acidic invective, rendering this collection a unique combination of style and ire.