Rock, June 2021

hfnalbum.pngField Music
Flat White Moon
Memphis Industries MI0657CD; LP: MI0657LP

Field Music – brothers David and Peter Brewis – have purveyed a distinctive style of progressive art-pop music since 2004 and their eighth album finds them at the top of their game. Their approach to songwriting is exemplified by the single, 'Orion From The Street'. It's in four-time, but the taut playing, repetitive keyboard arpeggios and syncopated drum patterns, which bring to mind XTC and Talking Heads, create a tension which is resolved by their Beatlesy vocal melodies, while elsewhere strings soften some of the sharp edges. After 2020's Making A New World, which was themed on Britain rebuilding after the First World War, the band were keen to have a bit more fun and Flat White Moon is full of joie de vivre. MB


Du Blonde
Daemon TV DTV001 (CD and LP)

Given the current situation, listeners in a need of a bit of a fillip might be forgiven for passing on the spate of albums by artists exploring inner states born from isolation. But although Beth Jeans Houghton aka Du Blonde recorded Homecoming in her home studio in LA – and she has admitted having problems with anxiety – it's full of defiant blasts of grungy, souped-up pop. Her sardonic humour fuels 'I'm Glad That We Broke Up' and she shrugs and admits 'I don't feel like talking when the whole world's caving in' on 'I Can't Help You There'. Guests include Garbage vocalist Shirley Manson and Andy Bell from Oasis and Ride adds some urgent lead guitar. MB


The Coral
Coral Island
RunOn RO1CD; 2LPs: RO1LP

Since their 2002 debut album The Coral have evolved their signature style by listening to 'weird and obscure music' and distilling all those influences into concise pop songs. And now they have made a kaleidoscopic double concept album of memorable tunes, with a narrative that follows a bizarre cast of characters centred on a fairground in a mythical seaside resort, as summer cedes to the melancholic chill of autumn. Reedy keyboards and fuzz guitars carry a whiff of the '60s, and while essentially modern, Coral Island also nods back nostalgically to the soundworld of rock 'n' roll, Mersey beat and Joe Meek, particularly on 'Lover Undiscovered'. MB


Kitten Pyramid
Flip Flop FFR2021-01 CD; LP: FFR2021-01 LP

Kitten Pyramid's Scott Milligan takes delight in the wonder and absurdity of the everyday. 'Take my hand and jump off a cliff with me' he invites on 'Leggy Friends' then leads us through a series of surreal non-sequiturs, inviting comparisons with Edward Lear, Robin Hitchcock and Brian Eno's capricious early songs. Even the humdrum world described in 'Doughnuts' sounds enticing. He allies the sensory disorientation of psychedelia, albeit in a gentle kind of way, with the structural complexity of prog rock. 'KOOZY!!' mixes blaring horns, strings and bassoon, and 'Auntie Mabel' kicks off with boisterous guitars before cooling to a bittersweet conclusion. MB