Album review overview: Ferris & Sylvester, LastWorld, Rosie Frater-Taylor and more

Photo (c) Jorge Fakhouri Filho

Dozens of new albums arrive at Maxazine’s editorial staff every week. Way too many to listen to them all, let alone review them. It ensures that too many albums are left behind. And that’s a shame. That is why today we post an overview of albums that arrive at the editors in short reviews.

LastWorld – Beautiful Illusion

LastWorld consists of two people. Jim Shepard who plays all the instruments and singer David Cagle. These two gentlemen release an album every year and ‘Beautiful Illusion’ is the fifth album in five years. The melodic hard rock that LastWorld plays is very sweet. Especially with the ballads, the enamel spontaneously falls off your teeth. When LastWorld steps on the accelerator it is enjoyable at times, but usually, it is ruined by a cliché whining chorus. Jim Shepard occasionally manages to produce a nice guitar solo and the drumming is also nice and tight, but unfortunately, all this is not enough to justify a high score (Ad Keepers) (6/10) (Perris Records)

Sprints – Letter to Self

Sprints is a post-punk band from Dublin that has been working on several EPs for several years and, especially live, sweeps the local pubs and halls regionally. So now there is an album with no fewer than 11 songs. There is quite a lot to be heard in this high-energy music, pain that transforms into truth, passion that turns into strength. Riffs, drums and the voice. That’s all you need, other than a bass that makes everything thunder. ‘Cathedral’, old-fashioned kicking against everything holy. In ‘Can’t get Enough of it’ the band even appears to have an acoustic guitar lying around somewhere. Fear, nightmares, it’s all there. Coming of age in an apocalyptic world full of scared people. A sign of the times. (Jan Vranken) (7/10) (City Slang)

Rosie Frater-Taylor – Featherweight

Rosie Frater-Taylor’s highly anticipated album ‘Featherweight’, released on February 9, 2024, weaves a sonic tapestry that explores the boundaries of jazz, rock, alternative pop and neo-soul. With ten songs, the British jazz guitarist and singer unveils a new era after the success of her debut ‘Bloom’. Inspired by eclectic influences such as PJ Harvey, Joni Mitchell and John Mayer, the album highlights themes of self-reflection and inner strength. The lead single ‘Hold The Weight’ offers an experimental, angular sound that develops into an epic outro. It’s just a taste of the powerful listening experience the full album promises. It is interesting to see how Frater-Taylor moves between different genres, combining her craft as a jazz musician with a broader spectrum of styles. With praise from notable figures such as Tom Robinson and Jimmy Page, ‘Featherweight’ embodies an evolutionary step in Frater-Taylor’s musical journey. The album presents an artful blend of emotions and sounds, making it an indispensable addition to the modern music scene. (William Brown) (7/10) (Cooking Vinyl Limited)

Back pOrchEstra – Voices in My Head

Back pOrchEstra’s latest album, entitled ‘Voices in My Head’, was created during the summer of 2020. This Shelter-in-Place-inspired formation, created amid the pandemic, brings a refreshing sound with a mix of original compositions and adaptations of American classics. It can’t be the musicians’ fault. Experienced men and a diversity of genres, from Roots Rock to Americana, country blues to Western Swing. On ‘Voices in My Head’ they reinterpret songs by Hank Williams, Dan Hicks, Big Bill Broonzy, Bob Wills, Bobby Charles and Taj Mahal in their way. The album contains remixes of previous releases, including ‘Just Fall In Love’ and ‘If I Ever See You Again’, supplemented with new songs such as ‘Might Hafta Go After It’ and ‘(Take Me Back To) The Wide Open Places’. The contributions of guest musicians, including Austin deLone and Vicki Randle, add additional depth. ‘Voices in My Head’ takes you on a journey through American music history, which is a pleasant surprise for the enthusiast. (Norman van den Wildenberg) (6/10) (Globe Records)

Ferris & Sylvester – Rain

Ferris & Sylvester is a folk-pop duo from London that has been working well for about five years. First with an EP that was recorded in the living room, and later with many singles. They got noticed by national radio, which is always a good sign in the UK. The music is fresh, poppy, very well sung, and Beatle’esque in the best sense of the word. Now they have released their best album, or is it an EP, to date with ‘Rain’. This album could perhaps lead to an international extension. If only they came to perform, that would make a lot of difference. ‘Mother’, the single, is a beautiful song about a very serious subject, domestic violence. Goosebumps. This must be heard in ‘Imposter’, another wonderfully grooving, swinging and top-sung track. If this is an indication of what 2024 will be like as a year for music: wow. (Jan Vranken) (9/10) (Archtop records)

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