Sir Paul McCartney
cCartney III imagined
Few artists have the raw pulling power to bring together the kind of celebrity cabal present on McCartney III Imagined.
Queens Of The Stone Age’s Damon Albarn, Beck, Josh Homme and Massive Attack’s 3D sit alongside newcomers Phoebe Bridgers, Blood Orange and Texas rockers Khruangbin on what is essentially a remix album.
But what a remix album Sir Paul McCartney has put together.
McCartney III, the third in a trilogy of homemade albums dating back to 1970, received critical acclaim when released in December.
There are songs on Imagined that live up to, if not exceed, their original versions.
Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien and blockbuster Paul Epworth produce a rock and roll version of Slidin ‘, while American indie sensation Bridgers gives new meaning to the lyricism of Seize The Day.
Sir Paul shows his talent as a curator on this accomplished compilation.
9/10, review by Alex Green
Without fear (Taylor version)
A reissue that could be considered one of the greatest strategic movements in the history of modern music, Taylor Swift’s Fearless (Taylor’s Version) is a 26-track offering born out of a bitter rivalry.
Complete with a story that reads like a work of fiction, the release marks the beginning of Swift’s journey to reclaim her catalog.
After his former label, Big Machine, was taken over by music mogul Scooter Braun, his early work found its way into private equity firm Shamrock Holdings without his knowledge.
With that in mind, there is something delightfully paradoxical about Swift’s last movement; Tactically re-record his teenage material, whose words about love and loss feel so gloriously pure and unblemished, all in an effort to outwit the business minds trying to line their pockets at his expense.
First released in 2008, Fearless ushered in a country-pop crossover that would propel the 11-time Grammy-winner to international stardom.
Thirteen years later, the original 19 tracks are accompanied by six unreleased recordings from the Fearless Era, alongside the addition of Today Was A Fairytale.
It’s a labor of love that stays true to the original album in every way – including the orchestration.
Proving that Fearless is a timeless amalgam of love, loss, and heartache, its reissue easily dispels criticism that characterizes its early works as naive and enthusiastic scribbles of youth.
8/10, review by Danielle de Wolfe
If you could have it all again
If You Could Have It All Again has been a long time coming for Low Island, who released their debut album after several years of building up a sizable following with a handful of singles and EPs.
The Oxford quartet, formed in 2016, has perfected their electronic indie pop sound into a refined and confident new take on a wide range of styles. The group cites influences such as Talking Heads, Caribou and Glass Animals, all of which can be heard on the album.
For the most part, If You Could Have It All Again has a soulful, reflective feel to tracks like In Your Arms and Momentary. However, What Do You Stand For and Don’t Let The Light In show the band’s livelier side with punchy tunes and dancing beats.
The overall effect is sure to please their growing fan base, who won’t want to wait so long for the band’s second album.
8/10, review by Tom Horton
After 15 years as a guitarist in Reverend And The Makers, Ed Cosens emerges from the shadow of singer Jon McClure, one of the most brash and vocal figures in British music.
Despite Cosens’ contributions to songwriting, the Sheffield band have always been a vehicle for McClure’s creative impulses, with live sets sprinkled with his playful poetry, delivered in the style of John Cooper Clarke.
So it’s certainly a good thing that Cosens is going it alone on this 10-track effort, admiring moody saloon bar ballads (opening of the Running On Empty album) and bubble-gum choruses (la title song).
Cosens is cut from the same fabric as Arctic Monkeys and that sultry, evocative rock sound is a must-have here.
There’s not much to do, but Cosens has a soulful voice that complements more than the booming, slow-motion guitar solos and introspective lyrics on the record.
6/10, review by Alex Green