One Republic, Travis and Marc Almond offer up new releases


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– Cigarettes After Sex – X’s

Perfectly befitting the band’s name, this third album packs 10 hushed, hazy songs of love, loss and – yes – sex made for late-night headphones moments.

Addressing a four-year relationship which ended shortly before the album’s recording, frontman Greg Gonzalez brings both the euphoria and the heartbreak vividly to life through his unflinching lyrics and seductive, androgynous vocals.

Whether troubled like Dark Vacay and Ambien Slide or dreamy like Silver Sable, Hideaway or Dreams From Bunker Hill, each track provides a window into Gonzalez’s soul.

The latter is actually a lament to the lost love in question and “when everything was beautiful with us”, while Hot truly brings the different strands together: “I keep getting scared that I’ll always be lost forever/ But I don’t give a s***, if I’m too delicate, when you hold me it’s always better.”

The band are already a TikTok phenomenon with an established worldwide following and X’s shapes up to further cement their appeal.

Score: 9/10

(Review by Tom White)

– Marc Almond – I’m Not Anyone

I’m Not Anyone is Marc Almond’s latest solo release, a compilation of 11 covers of classic songs, which are thoughtful, charismatic and impressive without straying too far from any original renditions.

The record is gentle, uplifting – using choral sounds on tracks like I’m The Light and I Talk to The Wind to form an otherworldly, dreamy collective of interpretations from the likes of Don McLean, King Crimson, Paul Anka, Colin Blunstone and Mahalia Jackson.

Almond brings a new light to a selection of classics, fitting with the summer’s weary weather with emotion weaved through the calming mix.

Strong instrumentals and passionate vocals form a reflective, poignant and inventive mix – as in Smokey Day.

Look to Your Soul is a standout track which lets Almond’s distinct and soulful voice shine.

The Soft Cell singer reimagines songs, presenting them in an easy-to-consume format while retaining the essential elements of their original form, allowing the listener to find their own meaning and emotion throughout each song.

Marc Almond is a unique, talented artist who shines on his new album, where his standout vocals refresh and rekindle meaning in old songs.

Score: 8/10

(Review by Carla Feric)

– OneRepublic – Artificial Paradise

OneRepublic’s sixth studio album, Artificial Paradise, brings a selection of catchy anthems to the music scene this summer.

The album’s titular track opens with dreamy synthetic sounds, before jumping into a selection of lively, light and summery tracks. Hurt uses acoustic guitars to create this vibe, sounding like it belongs in a coming-of-age film.

As far as new releases go, Sink or Swim and Room For You are two stand-out tracks; catchy, bright, and youthful.

The album’s 18 tracks fly by, and the light-hearted album which adds variety to One Republic’s discography typically heavier-sounding discography.

Entr’acte and Singapore are instrumental records, using classical sounds to break up the album led by orchestral violins, bass and cellos that weigh it down.

Radio hit I Ain’t Worried nods to the album’s lengthy production – over year and a half in the making, and worth the wait.

West Coast, the second single of the album, is led by a strong bassline, catchy guitar riffs and compelling, smooth vocals that make the song especially easy to enjoy.

The American alternative-rock band have created a musically progressive blend which is easy-listening, and has enough tracks for anyone to find at least one song they’ll enjoy.

Score: 7/10

(Review by Carla Feric)

– Travis  – L.A. Times

Travis’ 10th studio album, LA Times, impresses with a solid mix of upbeat and slower-paced tracks detailing life in New York, as well as the busy Californian city where frontman Fran Healy resides.

While all of the songs are sonically quite different they all contain catchy choruses – clearly something that has become formulaic for singer-songwriter Healy.

Some of the singles, including Raze The Bar and Home, are reminiscent of Travis’ earlier hits, while the subject matter remains very contemporary.

The most groundbreaking song is the album’s title track in which Healy raps about the vast wealth inequality in Los Angeles – “I look around and all I see is pain and suffering. Reflected on the 50 facets of a diamond ring.”

Healy briefly mentions cryptocurrency and anti-vaxxers in LA Times, also exploring the concept of “gaslighting” in another single.

The new album, which Healy has described as the band’s “most personal album since The Man Who” is likely to appeal to a wide range of listeners, with one track also featuring backing vocals from Coldplay’s Chris Martin and The Killers’ Brandon Flowers.

Score: 9/10

(Review by Hannah Roberts)


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