Katy B – Honey
I’ve always been a fan of UK artist Katy B‘s fusion of classic UK garage and house genres spiked with modern electronica. While sophomore album Little Red failed to live up to her brilliant debut On A Mission, third album Honey has been high on my list of most eagerly anticipated albums of 2016.
Honey is a collaborative project with Katy B hooking up with some of the electronic world’s biggest artists and producers, and should see Kathleen Anne Brien finally break into the American market. The album is full of hits, from the Kaytranada produced album opener Honey, the up-tempo house number I Wanna Be and the juicy Four Tet and Floating Points collaboration Calm Down. The highlight for me is the Major Lazer and Craig David assisted Who Am I. 2016 marks the official return of David, and so far, everything he’s touched has turned to gold. This track is no exception, with the harmonies between both David and Katy spectacular and Major Lazer’s production as polished as ever.
Verdict: This should be the album that sees Katy B finally crossover.
De La Soul – For Your Pain And Suffering
De La Soul‘s crowd funded album, And The Anonymous Nobody, was set to be released last Friday – the same day as Drake’s Views – but never materialised. The group emailed their 11,000-odd backers and let them know main reason for the delay was due to the amount of guests on the album needing to be cleared. To keep the peace they have issued this four track EP For Your Pain And Suffering.
Well, it’s really only a two track EP with two skits. The Devil Likes Candy is a strange skit about the devil and closing track, Schoolyard Studio, is another ponderous, and really rather weird skit. Of the two actual songs, TrainWreck is focused around a throbbing bass line while Dave West pops up on the funky Beautiful Night. So this is more like a two track sample. While it’s great to hear new De La Soul, you’re better off giving this one a miss and waiting for the full length project.
Verdict: Listen to 3 Feet High And Rising.
Travis – Everything At Once
Scottish act Travis hit the big time in 1999 with their massive hit Why Does It Always Rain On Me? They experienced a few years of great success before seemingly dropping off the face of the earth. Unbeknownst to me, Travis have been putting out albums every few years since then, with Everything At Once the latest addition to their burgeoning record collection.
Anyone unfamiliar with Travis should understand they are the original Coldplay, with Chris Martin reportedly having called himself a poor man’s Fran Healy (Travis frontman). With that in mind, you know what to expect when listening to Travis’ eighth album. The winning formula of melodic guitar pop (3 Miles High, Radio Song), anthemic sing-a-longs (What Will Come), and classic Britpop (Paralysed) is in tact and heard throughout Everything At Once. They might not be re-inventing the wheel, but that’s never been Travis’ aim. They’ve always made great pop music with heartfelt lyrics you could soundtrack a romantic comedy to, and the songs on this album are no different. While not everyone’s cup to tea, I dig this album.
Verdict: They might not have the same profile as 15 years ago, but Everything At Once is a terrific reminder of how influential and great Travis are.