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Aug 15, 2018







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The Spook School, Could It Be Different (Slumberland Records)




The Spook School, Could It Be Different (Slumberland Records)

We talked about this Scottish band back in November 2015 upon the release of their second full-length, Try to Be Hopeful, a slo-mo nod to spazzy punk that was irresistible to people who haunted scuzzy indie record stores in the 1980s just for the deconstructionist ambiance, not a bad thing if your sensibilities lean toward the rebellious, but a dated sound nonetheless. This one, their third, is as gloriously lo-fi as its predecessor, but it feels a little more upbeat, starting with the Los Campesinos-ish “Still Alive,” a barely-on-the-rails jumble of post-punk exuberance, crappy Aughts falsettos and Bananarama drums. “Best of Intentions” wants to be New Order in the worst way, in the beginning at least, but then it slides into the muted Buzzcocks spazz that comprised most of the last record. “Less than Perfect” features one of the girls singing over a nice, messy Versus-on-amphetamines beat. Once again this is nothing new, but damned if I can think of someone else who’s doing it, which is, of course, key. B+ — Eric W. Saeger




Danielle Bradbery, I Don’t Believe We’ve Met (Big Machine Records)
CD Reviews: January 4, 2017

01/04/18
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



 Danielle Bradbery, I Don’t Believe We’ve Met (Big Machine Records)

It’s easy to be cynical about the emerging genre that’s been tagged “millennial country-pop,” a sound that might as well be called “Whatever Taylor Swift is doing today,” but we’ll put that aside and try to wade through this sticky syrup if only to learn something. In her teens, Bradbery was the fourth-season winner of The Voice, delivering the same sort of cellophane-wrapped act that wins fans and makes critics drink; like Carrie Underwood, she’s a vocal vehicle, a show pony, not a writer of hits a la Swift (if you believe your Instagram feed, which you shouldn’t). And that’s OK, really. Here, she submits pedestrian but very listenable tuneage, like the angsty but prettily rendered “Messy,” the Sheryl Crow-gone-full-cowgirl opener “Sway,” and the snap-dance-tinged “What Are We Doing.” Main problem is that the blingy crossover stuff strays too far from the bubblegum-pop, but that’s not unsalvageable when the songs are this strong. A- — Eric W. Saeger





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