Review: The latest edition in Universal Japan's cheery 'Pops Best 100' series of reissues is Katy Perry's Prism, the 2013 set that effectively defined the American singer-songwriter's glossy, EDM-influenced power-pop sound. Largely producer by DJ Cirkut, Dr Luke and Max Martin, but featuring contributions from Benny Blanco, Stargate and Greg Kurtin, the set is an action-packed pop-romp that mixes and matches elements of R&B, synth-pop, electro-house, pop-rock and - more occasionally - hip-hop to create one excitable, radio-friendly whole. This edition also boasts two bonus editions of mega-hit (and album opener) 'Roar', including the fizzing, fidgety EDM heaviness that is the Gazette Remix.
Review: For the first decade of her career, Caroline Polachek was known as a singer/songwriter for hire - an artist who added her distinctive vocals (and sometimes lyrics) to tracks by the likes of Sebastien Tellier, Washed Out and Jorge Elbrecht. "Pang" is her debut album and is strong enough to suggest that she may soon be in the spotlight as a solo artist. Made with the assistance of a range of low profile - but undeniably talented - collaborators and co-producers, the set fuses evocative electronics and tuneful synthesizer leads lines with rhythms and instrumentation that variously doff a cap to classic, string-laden torch songs, indie-rock, bass music, early '80s Kate Bush, ambient, trip-hop and glassy-eyed AOR disco-pop.
Review: Five long years, half a lengthy decade. We've waited a long time for Purity Ring to return to the release schedule and they mean pretty serious business in doing so. This one's not necessarily for the fainthearted, although the contents are gorgeous, glistening pop adventures that neither conform to standards in that rather loose and vague 'genre', nor jar ears to the point of putting anyone off. Opener, 'Rubyinsides' is a useful case in point. A lunging bassline and staccato off-beats are paired beneath near-falsetto vocals of the breathy rather than shrill nature. Shades of Lykke Li abound, then. 'Vehemance' follows a similar rhythmic pattern, with all the tracks existing in a macro-produced electronic scape. Subject matters are where the contrasts and challenges are found, with resilience in the face of obstacles that could be overwhelming - fear of the unknown, death itself - a consistent theme.