Album review overview: Friday Pilots Club, Beth Gibbons and more

Photo (c) Jorge Fakhouri Filho

Dozens of new albums arrive at Maxazine’s editorial staff every week. There are 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.

Krezip – Music for Maxima

With their new album “Music For Máxima”, Dutch band Krezip (Known for their drummer Bram van den Berg who was the substitute for Larry Mullen Jr. in U2 last year) has delivered a fine gem. Not only is it a special project that the band has been working on for years, it also serves as a kind of diary of Queen Máxima. Krezip wrote a song for each episode of the drama series, including the title song “Tomorrow Starts Today”. Even if you haven’t seen the drama series about Queen Máxima, this soundtrack “Music For Máxima” is a beautiful musical document in which Krezip shows that they can master this special assignment with flying colours. The enthusiasm that Krezip is known for can also be clearly heard on this new album, which is also partly reminiscent of their debut album “Nothing Less”. The songs are energetic and catchy, but also beautifully small, and the three piano versions ensure a well-balanced strong album. A great album and a must-have for every Krezip fan. (Stefanie Portegies) (8/10) (Universal Music)

Friday Pilots Club – Nowhere

Once started as a cover band, but quickly switched to writing and playing their material. With a mix of emo and dance rock. We can certainly say that this has been well received in the slightly more than ten years that the band has existed. Especially the groovy melodies are very pleasant to listen to. They also seem like a pleasant festival player to me. The first song falls a bit out of line with this new “Nowhere” because of the hard distortion on the vocals and the rawness of the song in general. The bulk of the album continues in the style of their most famous song “End Of It”. Think of songs like the danceable “Vampire Disco”. Short record, nice in-between. (Rik Moors) (7/10) (Friday Pilots Club)

Beth Gibbons – Lives Outgrown

Beth Gibbons, the enchanting voice behind Portishead, returns with a new album “Lives Outgrown”. Known for her intense emotional expression and her versatile musical collaborations, Gibbons once again proves her undeniable talent. This time she doesn’t deliver pop music, but a collection of beautiful, seasoned singer-songwriter songs that are perfect for the evening hours. Her unique contralto voice, which is often reminiscent of legendary singers like Nina Simone and Edith Piaf, shines brightly on this album. Gibbons’ ability to capture the emotional truth of the music makes “Lives Outgrown” a particularly well-presented piece of work. The performance is vocally very strong, a testament to her continuous evolution as an artist since her days with Portishead. “Lives Outgrown” is an album that not only marks the return of the voice of Portishead but also emphasizes Gibbons’ versatility and deep musical sensitivity. A must-listen for anyone looking for refined and emotionally charged music. (Jan Vranken) (8/10) (Domino Recording)

Leonie Gray – Self ish

Leonie Gray’s latest album, “Self ish”, shows her as a talented soul and R&B singer with an irresistible voice, but sometimes lacks the originality that characterizes her great influences. Gray, who is heavily inspired by artists like Amy Winehouse and Duffy, manages to process those influences in her music cleverly. Although this comparison is a compliment, she unfortunately does not always manage to reach the same level. The album is certainly not bad; Gray’s vocal qualities and emotional depth are clearly audible, especially in songs like “Allatonce”. In this song she comes closest to the atmosphere and sound of Duffy, resulting in one of the highlights of the album. Gray has listened carefully to her musical heroes and delivers an honest and sincere record. Yet, for those who are looking for a profound experience like that of Winehouse or Duffy, “Self ish” falls a bit short. The album offers a pleasant listening experience but sometimes feels like an echo of her influences rather than a unique sound of her own. Nevertheless, “Self ish” is a solid addition to the collection of soul and R&B lovers and shows Gray’s potential to grow further and make her unique mark on the music world. (Elodie Renard) (7/10) (La Maison Mere)

Guster – Ooh La La

Guster’s latest album, “Ooh La La”, is an impressive addition to their versatile oeuvre and proves that the band, which has been active since the early 1990s, is still capable of surprising and enchanting. Known for their unique mix of alt-rock, folk and pop, they have developed into an East Coast institution with a robust sound that blends stadium-ready Brit-pop grandeur with American trad-rock. The listener is immediately drawn in from the opening track “This Heart is Occupied”. Never before has an opener grabbed me so quickly; the lovely voice, reminiscent of a lighter version of Scott Walker, makes an immediate impression and leaves you wanting more. The men of Guster have always proven their songwriting skills, and this album is no exception. “Ooh La La” is a varied work that expertly integrates different styles and influences. From subtle touches of soul to complete musical upheavals, the record offers a rich listening experience that reveals new nuances with each play. It’s clear that Guster has evolved over the past decades, without losing their core strengths. Their literate songwriting and complex musical arrangements are still present, but a fresh, introspective layer has been added that takes the whole thing to a higher level. This is an album that grows with every listen and therefore definitely deserves an 8 out of 10. “Ooh La La” is a must-listen for both old and new fans of the band. (Anton Dupont) (8/10) (Ocho Mule)

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