Monday, 11 June 2012

New Music Monday #11

The Ol' Razzle Dazzle (Album)
by Missy Higgins

Five years have passed since the first lady of endearing Australian singer/songwriting-ness (some refer to it as Aussie bore-folk) released her sophomore set, On A Clear Night. In that time, Missy Higgins has... grown her hair and cut it again? Retired and, uh, un-retired. No, no... come out of retirement! I don't know how one retires in their mid-twenties, but Miggins did it. And then came out of it. What I'm really trying to say is, I have absolutely no idea what Higgins has been up to, apart from a brief appearance at the ARIA's a couple of years back. What I can tell you is something that her fans would already know; Missy is back with her third album, The Ol' Razzle Dazzle. Her fans already know this because it's out now and it's already hit #1 on the ARIA album chart. I can also happily report that the album isn't a bad listen at all. In fact, it's quite good. Nothing's going to convince those 'bore-folk' detractors that this isn't more of the same from Missy. Songs like 'Everyone's Waiting,' 'Sweet Arms Of a Tune' and 'If I'm Honest' could have sat nicely alongside any of the tracks from debut The Sound of White or On A Clear Night. That doesn't mean they're not quality ballads. It's not all just the same old Missy throwing out 12 tracks to make some cash. There's literally some infectious razzle dazzle, jazzed-up Higgins throughout the LP that mark a huge change from her previous albums. 'Temporary Love' bounces by and the 60s inspired opening track, 'Set Me On Fire,' has just the right amount of "doo-doo's" and a fun, catchy chorus. It's probably the 'funnest' Higgins has sounded since 'Scar.' Showing that she hasn't lost a step as a songwriter, 'Cooling of the Embers' stands as the best ballad on The Ol Razzle Dazzle, almost as good as 'Where I Stood.' Give it a couple of months and I might even say it's the best. 'Hidden Ones' should be marked as a potential single, but it's the album's first single that will undoubtedly latch itself into your memory. 'Unashamed Desire' will grow on you. A lot. Originally I dismissed the song as a Sarah Blasko rip-off and I'll still say there's something about the track that screams Blasko (maybe it's producer Butterfly Boucher's sound coming through), but it's a great track. Arguably the album's best. A welcome return for Missy, The Ol' Razzle Dazzle isn't groundbreaking, but it's a nice next step in her career. Now, I believe Missy Higgins is streaming the album over on the YouTube's, so go check it out and if you like what you're hearing... buy it!

Matt Bond gives The Ol' Razzle Dazzle four Michael Hutchence's out of five... 


by Beach House

What are you thinking of when you think of Beach House? Sweet, ethereal pop sounds, all dreamy like and beverages of your choice and 80’s style graphics and exploding eggs and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, except replace wardrobe with a fridge and a bit supernatural and weird dancing and a bit of hallucination and space travel thrown in as well? Well, yep, that would be their latest clip, ‘Lazuli.’ What one would expect, but that’s ok, ‘cause that’s what they do well. Taken from their latest album, Bloom, it’s just Beach House being Beach House. Weird and quirky and chilled, there's not really much to say about it, except, this: it’s not challenging, it's not new but it's nice and that's all good.

Jo Michelmore gives the Lazuli video three Karen O's out of five...


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