Album of the Week: The Lumineers – BRIGHTSIDE

New Zealand Net Radio plays a song from our irregularly updated #albumoftheweek every hour from 9am to 12pm Monday to Friday. Listen in @tunein at https://tunein.com/radio/New-Zealand-Net-Radio-s305138/

The Lumineers are back with another great record, one where in the words of AllMusic they let their “raw creative spark” shine. Recorded quickly in a couple of sessions the songs still contain the great melodies they’re known for while also still possessing some rough edges.

Album of the Week: Ladyhawke – Time Flies

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This is Kiwi Ladyhawke’s fifth full length album by our reckoning, and displays phenomenal growth in her craft over the years (five) since Wild Things in 2016. Melodic, electronic tinged pop with an ’80s aesthetic – if that’s your thing then you’ll love this collection. We’re really looking forward to enjoying this ‘well-crafted pop’ (as AllMusic put it) this week.

Album of the Week: Adele – 30

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Six years on Adele is back with a breathtaking and personally expressive album. Informed largely by her divorce in 2019 it finds her both tender and in soulful ‘belting it out’ mode. AllMusic put it well:

Meeting titanic expectations, this linear journey of the heart is Adele’s most cohesive statement to date, pairing her inimitable voice with a dozen engrossing vignettes, reminding us that all we can do is keep trying.

Neil Z. Yeung, AllMusic

Album of the Week: The War On Drugs – I Don’t Live Here Anymore

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The Philadelphia band have returned with a beautiful album, filled with clean rock sounds. Guitars and synths are accompanied by Adam Granduciel’s voice, much more front and centre than their previous efforts. Enjoy this “rich absorbing work” (The Observer) this week.

Album of the Week: Ed Sheeran – =

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It would have been perverse to ignore the new Ed Sheeran album. The man is obviously a master of popular music. Most of the reviews seem to have been 3/5 although its not clear how the album falls short – the main criticism is that he is ploughing familiar ground. There are sonic differences though, and the melodic and topical variety in this album mean it certainly isn’t a replay of previous efforts. It is just a collection of melodic, well performed pop – I’m not sure what more you could want! Not a dud in the pack – the highlight? Hard to choose but “Overpass Graffiti” is pretty special.

Album of the Week: Sam Fender – Seventeen Going Under

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This is a superlative album. We’ve been enjoying the title track for a few months – I still can’t help turning up the volume when it comes on. Sam Fender has demonstrated that a well performed rock album filled with melodic songs and well crafted lyrics can capture the popular imagination – hence its number 1 slot on the UK charts. It combines delicate social commentary and authentic personal reflection. On his recent co-host of Elton John’s Rocket Hour he said that some therapy and lockdown had accentuated his self-reflection and this comes across in the music. A very talented man with a five star album.

Album of the Week: Brandi Carlile – In These Silent days

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This is Brandi Carlile’s seventh album, so I suppose we should have reasonably high expectations. We were delighted however to hear her growth from her previous, Grammy award winning album By The Way, I Forgive You. We begin with the lush “Right On Time” followed by a stunning set of original songs. AllMusic described its “controlled urgency and tight sense of craft, an aesthetic evident in how the album is as lean and robust as a well-loved record from the ’70s”. “You and Me On The Rock” is a clear tribute to Joni Mitchell. I loved her story in her Apple Music interview of playing it to Joni and anxiously awaiting her verdict – all she got was an offhand “sounds like a hit”! We look forward to further investigating the album this week.

Album of the Week: Lindsey Buckingham – Lindsey Buckingham

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Lindsey Buckingham has chosen to come out again and make comment on his departure from Fleetwood Mac. Although undoubtedly an attempt to get publicity for the release of his seventh solo album, and although undoubtedly there was fault on both sides, some of the narrative (“Stevie Nicks has never been over me”) reinforces the impression that he is a bit of a narcissistic prat.

Although that impression might be debatable what isn’t is that he is a pop master craftsman. This collection is another gem, phenomenal for someone whose career began in the late 1960s. As AllMusic state it is his most “Fleetwood Mac-esque” solo album and a great listen.

Album of the Week: Kacey Musgraves – Star-Crossed

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After the marital bliss of her last album Golden Hour things come back to earth with Star-Crossed. Blissful melodies and polished production can’t smooth out the anguish of a failed marriage. Musgraves seems honest although also packaged up for pop perfection with accompanying film. Without trying to guess where blame lies I did feel a little for her ex-husband with some of the revelations. That said this album displays her musical prowess and ability to straddle country and pop with aplomb.

Album of the Week: CHVRCHES – Screen Violence

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We really enjoy CHVRCHES synth driven music. This album follows an interesting theme of screen violence, both of the ‘movie’ as well as more personal social media variety. The Guardian has a great write-up on this “big icy romp” here. We’ll look forward to checking it out this week.