Album review overview: Crowded House, Richard Thompson 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.

White Dog – Double Dog Dare

As the album cover might suggest, White Dog is a band with a sound that harks back to the ’70s, offering classic rock with a heavy dose of Southern rock. Writing for this new “Double Dog Dare” began in 2019. Due to well-known reasons, it took a bit longer, but finally, the second album from this Texan band is a reality. The first song, “Holy Smokes,” ends somewhat abruptly with a fade-out, but you can sense that live, this song could extend into a delightful jam. “F.D.I.C.” mixes Allman Brothers with a bit of Lynyrd Skynyrd and stands out as one of the better tracks on the album due to its fine guitar work. “Glenn’s Tune” features an odd break halfway through and seems a bit aimless. Following that is an unnecessary “track” barely a minute long, which slightly disrupts the listening experience. Besides that, the unpolished sound adds a certain charm to the album. You can hear when the singer misses a note—no autotune. It doesn’t always have to be perfect to be good. (Rik Moors) (7/10) (Rise Above Records)

Crowded House – Gravity Stairs

Neil Finn has never made a bad recording, that’s for sure. Yet, “Gravity Stairs,” the latest resurgence of Crowded House, marks a disappointing turn in his impressive career. Despite Finn’s undeniable talent, the tracks on this album sound obligatory, dull, and lack the sparkle and ingenuity that were so characteristic of his music during the Split Enz days. “Magic Piano” and “Black Water, White Circle” are still recognizable as Crowded House songs, but the magic seems to have worn off. The compositions feel routine, and there’s little of the innovative energy that made Finn’s earlier work so special. The shine is definitely gone. On “Blurry Grass,” Crowded House even sounds like Dry Cleaning. Surely, that wasn’t intentional? Given that his former employers, Fleetwood Mac, are no longer active, perhaps it’s time for Neil Finn to consider retirement. Or maybe, he can reinvent himself once again, as he has done before. “Gravity Stairs” earns a 6 for undeniable musical skill but falls short in originality, vibrancy, and innovation. (Jan Vranken) (6/10) (Leicster Records)

Richard Thompson – Ship to Shore

Thompson is back with “Ship to Shore,” an album that will surely appeal to genre enthusiasts. With 12 new tracks, he delivers another strong album. Although the music sounds somewhat dated, the production is fresh and dynamic, providing an excellent listening experience. A track like “Freeze” could have truly shone if Thompson were a really good singer, but his unique delivery still gives the song an authentic character. His singing style, while perhaps unconventional, adds to the album’s charm. With “Ship to Shore,” Thompson proves that he is still capable of creating strong music within his genre. The album deserves a solid 7 out of 10 for its production quality and the consistency of the tracks. For fans, this is an indispensable addition to their collection. (Jan Vranken) (7/10) (New West Records)

Flavia Coelho – Ginga

Flavia Coelho presents her fifth album, “Ginga,” a musical celebration that ushers in the summer. The Brazilian singer, known for her sensual and energetic voice, effortlessly mixes samba, baile funk, afrobeat, reggae, bolero, hip-hop, bossa nova, and forró on this album. The result is a lively and diverse collection of tracks that highlight her versatility as an artist. The single “Mais Amor” sets the tone for the album. With a mix of samba rhythms, reggae, and funk, Coelho showcases her dynamic vocal range and her talent for weaving complex emotional themes into her music. The catchy choruses and rich percussion, supported by energetic brass, emphasize her Brazilian roots and make the song an anthem for more love and understanding in a challenging world. “Ginga” is a collaborative project featuring renowned producers like Tom Fire, Prince Fatty, Paul from Synapson, and Guts. This leads to a fresh and dynamic production that elevates the album. The songs, primarily sung in Portuguese, bring a mix of funk, house, and Latin American rhythms that perfectly suit the summer vibe. All in all, “Ginga” is a delightful album full of musicality and life. It’s a true summer release that makes you long for her performances at upcoming festivals. Coelho’s fifth album deserves praise for its diversity and energy and is sure to put a smile on your face. (Jan Vranken) (8/10) (PIAS)

To share this article:

Don't forget to follow our Spotify Playlist: