HOT PRESS ALBUM REVIEW: MAYER HAWTHORNE

29 08 2013

Here’s a reprint of my review of the Mayer Hawthorne album that ran in Hot Press a few issues back.

MAYER HAWTHORNE

Where Does This Door Go (Universal Republic)

7/10

Key Track: ‘Back Seat Lover’

Release Date: Out Now

A NEW SOUL STAR IS BORN.

 

After releasing a brace of critically acclaimed soul records steeped in old school values, this issue, multi-instrumentalist, singer and rapper Mayer Hawthorne steps things up a notch with a record that signals his arrival on the mainstream pop scene in style. Featuring some sterling production from a team which includes Pharrell Williams in their ranks and guest appearances from Kendrick Lemar (‘Crime’) and Jessie Ware (‘Her Favourite Song’), the super slick sounds of ‘The Only One’ and more will be inescapable by the time 2013 draws to a close. Unconcerned with making music that recalls “the good old days” as he’s only focused on “the good new days,” Hawthorne’s third album might not be as forward-looking as he intends, but the likes of the Halls & Oates-indebted ‘The Innocent’ and the infectious and funky ‘Back Seat Lover’ (complete with high pitched vocal yelps that recall Prince in his pomp) are near perfect pop songs. This is one time warp we’d like to do again (and again).

EDWIN McFEE

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METAL HAMMER ALBUM REVIEW: HAVOK ‘UNNATURAL SELECTION’

9 08 2013

Here’s a reprint of my review of the Havok record that ran in Metal Hammer.

HAVOK

UNNATURAL SELECTION

CANDLELIGHT RECORDS

In many ways trying to top their universally lauded second record Time Is Up was always going to be a tricky task for Denver thrashers Havok. However, while some of the material on Unnatural Selection does comes across as plodding when compared to what came before, the four-piece make a good stab of things and their new album sees them put extra focus on dynamics and melodies (Under The Gun) and there’s a real growth in terms of song-writing (Give Me Liberty…Or Give Me Death). New recruit Michael Joseph Leon really makes his presence felt with some wonderful, rumbling basslines and the politicised subject matter makes a refreshing change from the cheesy, novelty-based zomedy lyrics that’s currently in vogue with their modern day thrash contemporaries, adding a real bite to the likes of I Am The State. Yes, we could do without the cover of Sabbath’s Children Of The Grave but for the most part mid-paced brooders such as Living Nightmare prove they’re more than just a one trick pony and point towards a bright future ahead. [7]

EDWIN McFEE 





KNIGHTMARE

6 08 2013

One off special of legendary 80s/90s tv show Knightmare is up on YouTube, y’say?

Bright it the fuck on.