This week’s happy hexad opens with No Shame, a return to form for Lily Allen, a candid account of the breakdown of her marriage, depression, loneliness and fears about her children. The first of two debuts this week is the eagerly awaited Lost & Found, full of street-smart R&B sung in Jorja Smith’s classic voice – we think this one’s going to be big! Boy Azooga also debut with, 1, 2, Kung Fu!, a shape-shifting musical mystery tour that swings smoothly from filmic instrumentals to a churning rave-tinged rock that recalls Can and Happy Mondays. Country superstar Dierks Bentley shows progression on The Mountain, a subtle album that’s more than just standard Nashville fare, the album he has long wanted to make. This week’s ration of the riffy stuff comes in the form of A Dying Machine, a showcase for Tremonti’s brand of anthemic choruses, punishing riffs and fiery guitar solos.
Our album of the week is Gruff Rhys’s best record to date: Babelsberg, a ten-song gazetteer of modern times, set to timeless, indelible melodies backed by the 72-piece BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Amazingly, for a collection of songs written over two years ago, each one seems to pull very sharp focus on the times we’re living in.
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