Brandon Flowers tops British albums chart

25 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Brandon Flowers’ Desired Effect, Paul Weller and more top this week’s new music.

Killers’ frontman Brandon Flowers scored his second solo chart-topping album after The Desired Effect went straight in at number one in Britain on Sunday, the Official Charts Company said. Flowers pipped Paul Weller’s Saturns Pattern to the top spot by 5,000 sales, with last week’s number one, Mumford & Sons’ Wilder Mind slipping to third place. In the singles chart, Felix Jaehn’s remix of Cheerleader by OMI held on to the number one spot for a fourth week, fending off competition from Wiz Khalifa’s See You Again featuring Charlie Puth, which rebounded one place to second.

But we shouldn’t be disappointed either — mainly because these glistening sonic and stylistic homages to synth-pop, Springsteen and classic FM pop are laced with dark narratives, giant choruses and VIP cameos. LunchMoney Lewis’ Bills was in third place, while Taylor Swift was the week’s highest new entry at number four with Bad Blood featuring Kendrick Lamar. Decorating his guitar lines with edgy synths while deftly moving between blues-rock bombast, post-punk noise, orch-pop piano ballads, Albarnesque alt-pop and hazy hippie jams, the Modfather runs rings around the competition.

The genre-mashing Ohio duo push their musical boundaries even further on their fourth album, nimbly and fearlessly goosing their synth-heavy indie-pop and self-deprecatingly dorky hip-hop with everything from ukulele-pop and EDM to dubstep — without forgetting the catchy hooks and melodies. The inimitable U.K. weirdos’ sophomore album mixes another fever-dream cocktail of sounds and styles, with punky guitar riffs set to groove-metal backbeats, psychedelic keyboards fuelled by proggy arrangements, and soaring vocals delivering twisted lyrics. But the truth is, the musical debut of X-Files star Duchovny is about what you’d expect from an actor who just started picked up guitar a few years ago. His husky baritone is amateurish and average, his lyrics substitute wordplay for thought, and his country-rock tunes clearly emulate heroes like Dylan and Cohen and Wilco. Well, if you’re the soundtrack to this musical-comedy sequel, you up the ante with more bizarro a cappella medleys (including one that links America the Beautiful and Miley’s Wrecking Ball), a new version of the single Cups, and cameos by everyone from Pentatonix to a Christmas-carolling Snoop Dogg.

The cavernous setting dilutes the sonic punch somewhat, but Springsteen and co. still deliver the goods, offsetting the synth-heavy ’80s hits with ’70s classics, covers and stories. Playful and easygoing, balancing mellow maturity with soulful pub-rock, this 12-tracker eschews the band’s acerbic new wave punch for the earthier earlier fare. But with his ma Ruth lending her own six-string skills and stirring vocals to his breezy coffeehouse folk, he’s half of Americana’s most buzzed-about duo.

The former (and possibly future) Guided by Voices leader’s bazillionth solo outing is one of his most focused in years, boasting complete, sharply written ’60s pop and glam knockoffs instead of snippets and noodling. So those who remember O’Rourke from his experimental efforts with Sonic Youth and Wilco — and expect him to act accordingly on his first disc in six years — may find these ’70s-style songs somewhat conventional. But on their 10th release in 17 years, these hard-hitting Swedes firmly remain what they’ve always been: A reasonable facsimile of classic Sunset Strip sleaze-metal and glam, cut with just enough spaced-out stoner-rock influence to stand out from the retro-pack. Unsurprisingly, these 10 cuts also return to familiar ground, in the form of grandly soaring arena-rock anthems decorated with lavishly layered prog and gently skittery electronica.

But that isn’t stopping these banjo-pickin’ Finns from getting in on the act with their own rustic renditions of AC/DC, Zeppelin, Maiden, Dio, GN’R, Metallica — and their own punny handle. And it captures Cave and co. at full strength, unleashing a career-spanning set that seamlessly shifts and segues between hard-hitting full-band material, solo piano balladry and plenty of audience interaction and requests.

It not only invests leader Tony Dekker’s guitar and vocals with some free reverb, but also serves as an appropriate setting for this typically beautiful and thoughtful batch of environmentally themed works. Not only does this album feature 76 minutes of decent-sounding mono recordings capturing British blues legend Mayall in his prime — it also documents a short-lived Bluesbreakers lineup with guitarist Peter Green, drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie, who soon formed Fleetwood Mac.

Like its forerunners, the California Americana duo’s third studio release consists of just two harmonizing voices, two delicately intertwined acoustic guitars and a lineup of simple, soothing folk gems that hark back to the classic sound of Simon and Garfunkel and the Everlys. With her fittingly self-titled third solo album, the New Pornographers singer-keyboardist pulls a 180° from 2011’s Bright & Vivid — she settles down and looks inward with richly atmospheric, adventurously produced ballads (plus a few hits of Stereolab electro-pop) that showcase her warm Karen Carpenter vocals.

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