Reviews roundup – Amanda Abizaid vs. J-Bella vs. Idles vs. Craig Finn

 
51xdmq7tzblAMANDA ABIZAID
Walking In Twos
independent

Amanda is doing it for charidee. Along with Stephen Stills who strums the guitar on the title track.

Ms Abizaid is releasing this EP in support of HelpPhilippineSchools.org, a non-profit organization that helps children get the best education possible through the betterment of existing schools, working “from the inside out.” And she is doing this through the medium of old fashioned singer / songwriter meets soft rock.

The main song is straight down the middle acoustic protest which comes and goes. However then she throws in some electronica on “Lion’s Den” and goes all nineties trip hop on “Set It Up”. As you would expect there are some world music beats dropeed in hither and thither with an oud appearing on “Promises Of Love” before things end with a remix of the lead track.

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61c03bbnnjl-_ss500J-BELLA
All For Nothin’
Three 2 Go

Some US pop r’n’b now from J-Bella. Jessica Bell to her nearest and dearest.

She’s got a decent set of pipes on her although she needs to do some work before attaining the standards of her influences – Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Alicia Keys and Jennifer Hudson but for a first trip out of the traps this is good enough.

It’s very nineties sounding with it’s approach, ably demonstrated on “Shine” the lead track. Although whether we needed three versions of it on an eight track release is another question. She’s co-written all the material and there are some nuggets of gold in there with the aforementioned “Shine” and “Up Down” the best of the bunch.

If someone throws some money at her and invests in some studio time, then there could be a promising future ahead.

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51edprok5xl-_ss500IDLES
Brutalism
Balley Records

We Are Serious. No, really. You can tell by our name, title and cover art. Do not come here for a good time.

It’s quite nice that Bristol post-punk outfit Idles have made it blatantly obvious who they are. It saves any confusion and ensures that any party rockers will move smartly in the opposite direction. But if doom, gloom and shouting are your thing, then come on down.

This is a world where scratchy guitars, shouty vocals and cheapo production values rule. It’s the kind of thing that will get Gallows fans salivating as they crash through the likes of “Heel/Heal”, “Divide And Conquer” and “Benzocaine”.

They’re very angry about a lot of things. I’m not sure what as the vocals are more a noise than a series of words, although I suspect “Well Done” may be a vicious polemic on the Great British Bake Off. If you’ve got a machine to rage against, then this is for you.

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51adrlxyqhlCRAIG FINN
We All Want The Same Things
Partisan Records

This is the third solo album from The Hold Steady’s frontman Craig Finn. Nope, me neither.

Thanks to the power of the internet I have established that The Hold Steady are an American indie-rock band. So you’d think in your downtime you’d want to do something a wee bit different. I’m sure fans of his main band may have sensitive enough ears but it all sounds like nineties college rock to me.

It might have something to do with the fact that he’s brought The Hold Steady lead guitarist alongfor the ride Or the fact that all the guest musicians seems to be straight down the middle indie rockers. A couple of the tunes do stand out such as the almost pop “Birds Trapped In The Airport” and the sax enhanced “Jester & June” but I suspect this is very much a fans only release.

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