Categories
Riot Act Reviews

Lana del Rey – Blue Banisters

Welcome to another edition of Riot Act Reviews, where Steve and Remfry look in depth at one of alternative music’s recently released albums of considerable note.

On this show we look at the new album from American singer songwriter Lana Del Rey, Blue Banisters, the follow up to her Chemtrails Over The Countryclub effort from earlier in the year. We’ve had a fair few follow up “lockdown albums” coming hot on the heels of a big release to listen to over the past year, and usually the artists releasing such albums tend to lean in on the first record, choosing a similar sonic palette and not making too many stylistic deviations and instead tweaking here and there and making a continuation of what we’ve just heard. It’s fair to say that, although there is much here that is relatable to Chemtrails…, there is enough on Blue Banisters to suggest that Lana Del Rey has made a point of trying to approach her latest effort with something of a different mindset. But, is it enough to get the thumbs up from our hosts?

Categories
Riot Act Reviews

Mastodon – Hushed and Grim

Welcome to a special Riot Act Reviews podcast, in this episode Steve and Remfry run the rule over one of the most anticipated metal albums to be released this year; Georgian prog metal superstars Mastodon’s 8th studio album Hushed and Grim.

The follow up to their 2017 effort Emperor of Sand, which divided the opinion of both fan and critics, but an album that both of our hosts were big fans of, mainly thanks to it reintroducing some of the more expansive and difficult elements of their sound. If that record tipped its toe back into proggier waters then it is fair to say Hushed and Grim happily powerbombs straight into the deep end, it being the first double album of the band’s career and thematically dealing with the loss of their longtime manager and friend Nick John in 2018. This is arguably the darkest, most challenging and yet simultaneously broadest record that Mastodon have concocted in their career thus far, and, as such, it has proven to be something of a slow burn for both of our hosts, but have either of them settled on an opinion on this most unique of metal bands new effort, or is even more time required before it fully reveals itself?

Categories
Riot Act Reviews

Biffy Clyro – The Myth of the Happily Ever After

Welcome to a special Riot Act Reviews podcast, an opportunity for Steve and Remfry to take a look at some of the more notable recent releases in the world of alternative music.

We cast a critical eye over the 9th studio album from Scottish alternative rock megastars Biffy Clyro; The Myth of the Happily Ever After. Coming just a year after their previous album, A Celebration of Endings, Biffy are back, and it’s not too surprising to see them. After all, this is a band who have often made a point of releasing a companion piece alongside their recent records, but on this occasion A Celebration of Endings “sister” album might be the first of its kind to stand up proudly on its own. Certainly it is being marketed that way, and, rather than the unconstructed and half baked group of experimental ideas that many bands are left with at the end of their album sessions, The Myth of the Happily Ever After does feel much more coherent and thought out than a mere b-side record. But how does it stand up to scrutiny alongside the rest of Biffy’s stellar back catalogue?

Categories
Riot Act Reviews

Duran Duran – Future Past

Welcome to a special Riot Act Reviews podcast, an opportunity for Steve and Remfry to take a look at some of the more notable recent releases in the world of alternative music. This week we cast a critical eye over Future Past by Duran Duran, the 15th studio album from the legendary New Romantic band. It couldn’t have been two more drastic ends of the spectrum that our hosts were coming from with this record, Steve as a self confessed Duran Duran superfan who has heard every album of their entire career, and Remfry picking Future Past as his first experience listening to a full length studio effort by the band.

There is always going to be a huge weight of context behind any band that have been around as long as Duran Duran, and Future Past is no exception, not only is it their first album since 2015’s Nile Rodgers and Mark Ronson produced effort Paper Gods, it also marks 40 years since their self-titled debut was released. Future Past features numerous contributions, with Blur guitarist Graham Coxon and legendary Italian composer Giorgio Moroder being just two of the names involved with the writing and production of the record, but does the classic sound of Duran Duran remain intact four decades after they first burst onto the music scene?