Holy Fire is the third album from Foals and if the lead single ‘Inhaler’ is anything to go by, it will almost inevitably build the fanbase that they have cemented for themselves with their first two albums, Antidotes and Total Life Forever. The Oxford-born band have retained their experimental, post-rock tendencies, yet their songs now have a serious air of ambition about them.
Reviews thus far have been positive, with The Guardian’s Michael Hann describing it as “an album by a British guitar band who want to win a huge audience without writing chantalongs for the drinkers’ crowd, or lowest-emotional-common-denominator piano ballads.” High praise indeed and backed up by a solid 9/10 from NME’s reviewer, who gives Yannis’ new ‘feelings laid bare’ approach a thumbs up.
One of British folk music’s most influential artists, Richard Thompson, releases a new album this week, entitled Electric. Thompson was once a member of Fairport Convention and went on to forge his own solo career. As the album title suggests, Thompson was very much ‘plugged-in’ during the recording of this album, which took place at Robert Plant’s home studio, with producer Buddy Miller. Though some of the songs retain a slow folky feel, others are “markedly groovier,” Kitty Empire remarks for The Guardian, giving Electric a respectable 3/5. The guitar playing comes to the fore on this album, piercing through Thompson’s deft song-writing skills, “like bells in a gloomy old deconsecrated church” (The Independent).
Welsh heavy metal band Bullet For My Valentine return with album number four, Temper Temper. They’re the kind of band that appeal to kohl-eyed teenagers and are generally disparaged by anyone outside of their teens and outside of the scene that fuels their existence. Still, they remain one of the most popular British metal bands of a generation. Temper Temper, according to The Guardian’s Dom Lawson, is unlikely to upturn any of that disdain.
Temper Temper fails to deliver any of the fiery emotion that it seems to promise: “the comically tame ‘Riot’ (is) a song so bereft of the menace its title would seem to demand that it may as well be called ‘Jumble Sale,’ writes Lawson. Bullet For My Valentine are unlikely to stop being hugely successful. The rest of the world, that isn’t one of their teenage fans, however, are unlikely to start understanding why, any time soon.
Another one to file under ‘inexplicable’: Ocean Colour Scene release a new album this week. Entitled Painting, the band appear to have adopted very similar artwork to that employed by Beautiful South in the 1990s, as if to hammer home what a double anachronism they are in 2013. When they were popular, back in the 1990s, it was for their retro sound and commitment to looking and sounding as though they were a product of days gone by. Now that they are – ahem – less popular (to the point of redundancy, you may well argue), their commitment to sounding like The Small Faces remains. Sadly the rest of the world is looking forwards, not back and it’s hard to see how Ocean Colour Scene can be anything nearing relevant, 20 years on from the heyday of their popularity.