Album review overview: Ann Wilson, Justice, Emma Donovan 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.

Emma Donovan – Till My Song Is Done

Emma Donovan, an Aboriginal Australian singer and songwriter, has embarked on a remarkable musical journey deeply rooted in her cultural heritage and personal experiences. Born in 1981 into the renowned Donovan musical family, Emma’s career began at the tender age of seven when she sang with her uncle’s band, The Donovans. Over the years, she has explored a wide range of genres including R&B, soul, country, and reggae, infusing each with her unique style and perspective. Emma’s solo works have garnered praise and earned her nominations for prestigious awards, enchanting audiences worldwide. Her collaborations with indigenous Australian musicians and her involvement in cultural exhibitions have further solidified her position as a leading figure in the music industry. Now, with the upcoming release of her fifth studio album, “Till My Song Is Done”, Emma follows up on her previous album from 2002. 11 tracks of gritty and fairly simple pop music, leaning towards rock, with a hefty dose of soul. Emma’s voice may not be ‘beautiful’ but it carries a lot of power. This will be great live. Good album. (Jan Vranken) (7/10) (Cooking Vinyl Australia)

Modecenter – Altes Glück

Modecenter’s latest album “Altes Glück” offers a powerful and immersive musical experience across 8 tracks. The album combines edgy, “hard” vibes with captivating melodies, resulting in a post-punk essence that is both unconventional and compelling. Tracks like “Endurance Eurodance” showcase the band’s talent for creating memorable hits. Despite personnel changes, Modecenter remains tight and solid as a band, seamlessly blending its signature energy with new elements. “Altes Glück” was recorded with Werner Thenmayer at Elephant West Studio, resulting in a spectacular sound experience. Each track on the album offers profound and immersive lyrics in both English and German, allowing listeners to embark on a memorable journey. Strong is “New Desire”, which reflects a raw 80s edge as an opener, and “Zwischen den Zeilen” also takes you back to those old dingy squats of yesteryear. “Altes Glück” is a must-have for fans of post-punk and alternative music. (Tobias Braun) (7/10) (Siluh Records)

The Bardic Depths – What We Really Like In Stories

Stories and books are the theme of “What We Really Like In Stories”. Each song is dedicated to a writer from various periods. Such as Alan Moore (known among others for Batman) and Tolkien, and authors from the early last century. Three of the four band members are multi-instrumentalists. The cinematic opening is promising, but the ending falls a little short. Unfortunately, this happens with more songs. The harmonious singing sometimes sounds a bit sweet. The (layered) vocals are always balanced with the fairly calm music. The (large amount of) instruments also form a beautiful whole among themselves. The album is more complex than it seems, sometimes there are quite a few layers, changes, and/or details unnoticed. The epic “Whispers In Space” is inspired by Robert Rankin. If you read a lot (of genres), you might hear who is being honoured. Even without recognizing the writers, you can enjoy this special album. (Esther Kessel Tamerus) (8/10) (Bardic Depths Music label)

Justice – Hyperdrama

Justice is back. The French electronic music duo, consisting of Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay, broke through in 2007 with their debut album “†”, and have since become pioneers in the electronic music scene. With striking live performances and albums like “Audio, Video, Disco” and “Woman”, they have built a large fanbase worldwide and remain an influential force in electronic music. Now they return with “Hyperdrama”, eight years after their last release “Woman”. “Hyperdrama” is an album brimming with energy and creativity, as heard on the single “Saturnine”. From the pulsating beats of “Generator” to the melancholic synths of “Muscle Memory”, Justice explores a wide range of electronic soundscapes. The rock influences that characterized Justice are less prominent on this album and are occasionally exchanged for more disco effects. But also calm interludes like ‘Moonlight Rendez-Vous’ surprise, as do the collaborations, like “One Night / All Night” and “Neverender”, which the duo made with Tame Impala. Overall, a good comeback for the French, who proved with “Hyperdrama” that they were far from finished in the scene. (Norman van den Wildenberg) (8/10) (Virgin)

Ann Wilson – Rebel

Ann Wilson, a Grammy-nominated and Dove Award-winning singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, has brought forth a familiar sound rooted in her strong faith and rural upbringing with her new album “Rebel”. Understandably, this yields nothing progressive. Her music combines country-pop with CCM (Contemporary Christian Music), bridging admittedly different but interconnected genres. Born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky, Wilson began playing piano at a young age. Her musical journey took a decisive turn after performing at her brother’s funeral, where she performed Hillsong’s “What a Beautiful Name”. This led to a record deal after a video of the performance went viral. Inspired by country icons like Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash, and established CCM artists like Steffany Gretzinger and Lauren Daigle, she released her first single “My Jesus” in 2021, which quickly became a hit in the Christian music scene. Her debut album, also titled “My Jesus”, followed in 2022 and received acclaim from both critics and fans, garnering a Grammy nomination and topping the Christian charts. With her latest album “Rebel”, Ann Wilson continues to sing Jesus songs in a country style. For fans. (Jan Vranken) (5/10) (Capitol GMC)

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