Chris Ingalls: Denmark’s Mew are a band that’s known to fuse their indie pop music with a slight accent of prog, this fits the bill nicely. From the soaring choruses and sophisticated musical arrangements to the nagging earworm catchiness, it’s as if Muse or Coldplay made an album after spending the weekend listening to Genesis’ Duke. Which, to me, is not a bad thing. [7/10]
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“Our motivation is to be different than [what] we were,” notes Nuno Gonçalves, and boy he isn’t kidding.
Answering a question asked back in 2011 when PopMatters visited the Gift in Spain, the keyboardist and lead songwriter of Portugal’s the Gift has made it clear that no two albums will sound the same. Amazingly, over the course of two decades, the band has kept this promise.
Paul Carr: Breaking up is hard to do, but for NAO it is the only way to spare a lover from the pain of a failing relationship. Over spacious, off-center beats, NAO creates a lush, lunar atmosphere for her powerful, intimate lyrics. She sounds torn, filled with self-doubt but her hesitancy slowly gives way to the cold hard realization of the inevitable. In this way, it feels like peeking into her diary as she wrestles with her decision. “In the Morning” is a thoughtful exploration of the fragility of relationships. [8/10]
Adriane Pontecorvo: A master drummer once said that if you can hear a song without it making you dance, you are sick. Hearing “Give Me a Reason”, it’s easy to understand just what he meant. On the second single off of British-Nigerian band Ibibio Sound Machine’s upcoming sophomore album, Lagos meets London in an explosion of retro color and sound. They’ve moved forward a decade since we last heard them, exchanging highlife influences for funky Afrobeat. Singer Eno Williams commands attention with both her voice and her moves, while the electronics pay more than a little tribute to the Talking Heads. “Give Me a Reason” has nothing but grooves; it’s the ultimate feel-good music, and it’s almost impossible to listen to it without jumping up and getting down. [10/10]
Back in December, we told you all about Kevin Russell’s newish band Shinyribs. Russell formed the project as something of a solo effort for awhile but then built out the band as his previous group the Gourds wound things down. The Gourds were very much an alt-country band, but with Shinyribs, Russell is branching out into all sort of Southern roots music like New Orleans soul, old-time rock ‘n’ roll, and swamp funk. Now Shinyribs has a new video on tap, the rockin’ “Trouble, Trouble”, wherein the group blends a bit of ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll a la Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry with some sweet soul horns and choruses.