Stephen Wyatt: London’s HÆLOS convened with its muse and produced “Oracle”, a song that attempts to defy time and space. Vocalist Lotti Bernardout summons the heavens and returns with a voice eerily evoking shades of PJ Harvey during her most restrained, yet intimate moments. “Oracle” gives into the night as the house rhythms explode through the breathy atmosphere. Taking tiny fragments of inspiration from Massive Attack, the band forges its own identity in spite of its referential nod to Bristol’s finest. The ghost in the machine aches to emerge from its captivity. In the end, Berndarout and company do so without regret. [8/10]
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The Altered Hours’ sound ranges from ethereal darkness to pysch-heavy trance to dreamy shoegaze, which makes it really easy to find yourself enveloped within their singular world. This visceral approach makes their live shows ever more engaging and thrilling than the average indie band. On January 29th, the Cork, Ireland band will release their new album In Heat Not Sorry via Art For Blind / Penske Recordings.
Stephen Wyatt: Has Warp records ever released anything remotely mediocre? Bibio’s Steven Wilkinson is no exception, celebrating ‘70s classic R&B and borrowing from the era’s greatest luminaries, Isaac Hayes and Curtis Mayfield with his standout track, “Feeling”. Wilkinson blends the funk with the end-of-the-house-party mood, imploring his suppliant that “You shouldn’t mess with the timing”. And timing is everything as Bibio ensures that a good time should be had by all. [8/10]
Stephen Wyatt: Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon’s favorite band, Poliça, returns with a delectable synthpop lament ironically titled “Wedding”. Gayngs’ Ryan Olson and vocalist Channy Leaneagh continue to champion the finest aspects of electronic minimalism, focusing on lining each song with subtle innuendos and bass-driven grooves. Leaneagh’s voice, reminiscent of Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino’s come-hither delivery, adds mystery and intrigue to love’s cumbersome deceptions. “Wedding” is far from a joyous celebration of the matrimonial sacrament. It coyly teases fans of Poliça’s with slithery hooks and restrained rhythms, promising of even better songs to come. [7/10]
Canadian indie rockers Paper Lions have been on a hot streak of late. Last year the band’s 2007 video for “Travelling” suddenly went massively viral and it has opened all kinds of doors for Paper Lions. They now stand poised for a huge mainstream breakthrough and they are most definitely ready as their new set of songs from Full Colour, releasing this April, is jam packed with arena-sized pop nuggets that could easily see some major chart success. Perfectly fittingly, Paper Lions titles their new single “Believer” and fills the tune with soaring harmonies declaring that they “want to believe”. So do we because we still need our pop heroes.