Album review overview: Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Wilson & Wakeman 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.

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – Dark Rainbow

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes take a completely different path with their fifth album “Dark Rainbow”. The hard punk rock we heard on the four previous albums has made way for synth/pop rock. Fortunately, the punk influences have not completely disappeared as can be heard in opener “Honey”, “Superstar” and “Self Love”. The emphasis of the songs on “Dark Rainbow” is on melody. Particular attention has been paid to the choruses. These are all very strong and immediately get stuck in your head. Furthermore, this album surprises with the use of instruments that are unusual for Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, such as piano and wind instruments. These are applied to the two ballads on the album, which are quite similar and only differ in that “Queen Of Hearts” ends in a fade away with piano and ‘Sun Bright Golden Happening’ with a clarinet solo, I’m guessing. There is even a real pop song on “Dark Rainbow”, namely the first single from the album “Brambles”. “A Dark Rainbow” closes the album on a small note. Hats off to the urge to experiment with Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, who will certainly reach a wider audience with this new album. As far as I’m concerned, it turned out well. Musical references, Royal Blood, Arctic Monkeys and to a slightly lesser extent Queens Of The Stone Age. (Ad Keepers) (8/10) (International Death Cult)

Brown Horse – Reservoir

Brown Horse calls themselves ‘alt-country nobodies’ on Spotify. That is also a way to promote yourself. The album cover grabbed my attention and so the album was put together. The music and song structure are well put together. In terms of composition, it all sounds fine. I do have difficulty with the vocals of the lead singer. Somewhat comparable to a not very successful cross between Passenger and Patterson Hood (Drive-By Truckers). Where the music feels relaxed, calm and somewhat warm, the voice feels constricted, oppressive and stressed. If the need for a song and a story is palpable, that can be the strongest point. Unfortunately, that is not the case on this album. An example of the Bob Dylan discussion about whether he can sing, so to speak. If you like the voice, you might have a decent album. Other than that I have little to say about it. (Rik Moors) (5/10) (Loose Music)

Wilson & Wakeman – Can We Leave The Light On Longer?

“Can We Leave The Light On Longer?” is the third (acoustic) album by Damian Wilson and Adam Wakeman. Damian sings and plays acoustic guitar. Adam sings and plays piano, Hammond, guitars, bass and percussion. The personal texts are about, among other things, how people are connected. This pair knows how to convey emotion. Adam shows this in, among others, “The Man From The Island”. In “Let’s Talk” you hear the sadness not only in Damian’s voice but also in the guitar playing. “The Battle of the Bare Knuckle Fighter” has a pleasant retro atmosphere (partly due to the trumpet playing), the fade out is a shame. “Turn Your Life Around” is a bit poppy. “November” is beautifully subdued. Piano playing and Damian’s singing form a moving combination in “Hero”. This feeling also remains during the congregational singing. The fantastic clear sound makes the ten songs come into their own. (Esther Kessel-Tamerus) (9/10) (Own Management)

Exit Eden – Femmes Fatales

Now reduced to a trio, Amanda Somerville has left Exit Eden to spend more time with her family, the remaining singers Anna Brunner, Clémentine Delauney and Marina La Torraca continue with Exit Eden, with the provisional first result being the second album “Femmes Fatales”. While the debut “Rhapsodies In Black” only contained covers, the balance on “Femmes Fatales” is fifty-fifty. Six own songs and six songs from other artists. On “Run!” Marko Hietala, known from Nightwish, sings along. The vocal qualities of the three ladies are beyond any discussion, but there is still some work to be done in the field of writing good songs. This is evident from the fact that the covers of “Femmes Fatales” are better than their compositions. The best song is the Journey cover “Separate Way”. (Ad Keepers) (6/10) (Napalm Records)

D-Block Europe – Rolling Stone

D-Block Europe, made up of Young Adz and Dirtbike LB, continues to make its mark on the British hip-hop scene, and their latest album “Rolling Stone” is no exception. Emerging in 2017, this dynamic duo has since dominated the charts and made another powerful statement with “Rolling Stone.” The album may be steeped in autotune but presents raw and thoughtful lyrics over a hypnotic mix of melodies and rhythms. The album “Rolling Stone” embodies their technical lyrical skill, charisma and unconventional flow. With a tracklist with songs like “I Need It Now”, “Pink Lemonade” (which they release together with YXNG Bane) and “‘”Eagle” (together with Noizy) D-Block Europe continues to captivate the listener with their characteristic sound. (Norman van den Wildenberg) (8/10) (Virgin Music Benelux)

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