Rock, July 2022

Radiate Like This
Virgin/Heirlooms HEIR001CD; LP: HEIR001LP

The all-female LA quartet's first album for six years was recorded remotely and the result is an atmospheric set full of subtle instrumental and vocal layering. On 'Hips' the arrangements and harmonies are typically intricate. The chiming guitars on 'Hard To Tell You' evoke the Cocteau Twins, and Emily Kokal's yearning vocals soar above Jenny Lee Lindberg's ebullient bass lines. Warpaint are influenced by hip-hop, which can be heard in their animated drums and synthetic percussion grooves, but their dreamy melodies are the antithesis of that genre. And unlike the more shadowy tones of trip-hop, this album is expansive and full of light, with a hazy kind of production, like a sonic approximation of the cover art. MB


Ghost Power
Ghost Power
Duophonic DS45-47CD; LP: LP DS33-47

Ghost Power is a collaboration between Tim Gane of Stereolab and Jeremy Nova from American group Dymaxion. Both have a penchant for retro-futurism and their debut album is an imaginative mix of samples, guitars and keyboards. The groovy drums, cheesy organ and bleeping analogue synths on 'Asteroid Witch' carry more than a hint of French electronica pioneer Jean-Jacques Perrey, and 'Grimalkin' sounds like the theme music to some trendy '70s TV mystery drama. The 15m 'Astral Melancholy Suite' is different in mood: a brief opening theme leads into abstract drones, then the duo build up a smooth momentum as they travel out beyond the stratosphere. MB


Pink Mountaintops
Peacock Pools

The single 'Lights Of The City' with its joyous melody and overdriven guitars shows why Pink Mountaintops are set to tour the US with Dinosaur Jnr, but the group's fifth album is also full of strangeness. It's the brainchild of Canadian vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Stephen McBean, with guests including The Melvins rhythm section. 'Miss Sundown' is two minutes of boisterous psychedelic pop, 'Nikki Go Sudden' is a collision of slamming drums, piano and slinky violin, and 'Blazing Eye' sounds like Syd Barrett lost within a swirling kaleidoscope of chaotic guitars and garish synths. It's exhausting and a little overwhelming – but in a good way. MB


Subway Sect
Moments Like These
Gnu Inc Records GNUINC00027 (LP)

In 1977 Subway Sect were one of punk's hippest bands, but enigmatic frontman Vic Godard made a rather ill-advised attempt at crooning, then became a postman – which he mentions on 'Juke Box'. Subway Sect resumed their chequered career in the 2000s with re-workings of old, unreleased material, but this is an all-new set. Ex-Clash guitarist Mick Jones produces and vividly captures their rawness. Godard plays tough trebly guitar on 'Since The '80s' and there's some clattery funk on 'Jelly Legs'. But rather than just reliving the past, Godard seems to exist in his own sphere. Jones reckons there's an 'element of unspoiltness' about the music and he's right. MB