Album review overview: Black Country Communion, Moby, Luke Combs 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.

Black Country Communion – V

The term supergroup is often overused and usually results in a collaboration that lasts for just one or two albums. Black Country Communion is a positive exception to this rule. For those who have been living under a rock for the past 15 years, here’s a brief introduction. Black Country Communion consists of singer/bassist Glenn Hughes, drummer Jason Bonham (indeed, the son of John Bonham whom you might know from Led Zeppelin), keyboardist Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Yngwie Malmsteen, Billy Idol), and blues guitar virtuoso Joe Bonamassa. Producer and Bonamassa’s right-hand man, Kevin Shirley, should also be mentioned as he is effectively the fifth member of Black Country Communion. After a seven-year radio silence, their fifth album “V” is finally available. The musical style does not deviate much from the previous four albums: excellently played Led Zeppelin meets Deep Purple rock with occasional touches of ZZ Top (“Stay Free”), some Soundgarden (Cornell’s voice was quite similar to Hughes’), some Southern Blues ala Gov’t Mule, and just enough prog elements to keep the more adventurous rock fans engaged. Is “V” the best album Black Country Communion has made so far? Not quite—the first two albums remain untouchable in my opinion, but “V” comfortably takes third place. (Ad Keepers) (8/10) (J & R Adventures)

Moby – Always Centered at Night

Moby’s latest album, “Always Centered at Night,” is a testament to his enduring influence and adaptability within electronic and pop music. Known for his groundbreaking work in the ’90s that bridged the gap between techno and mainstream music, Moby’s newest effort is a refined blend of his classic sound with contemporary influences. The album opens with the track “On Air,” setting the tone with its atmospheric production and intricate soundscapes. This opening track captures the album’s mood and highlights Moby’s exceptional production skills. The sound quality is rich and immersive, drawing listeners into a carefully crafted auditory experience. “Dark Days,” featuring the soulful vocals of Lady Blackbird, stands out with a brooding atmosphere and a groove that is both dark and seductive. Lady Blackbird’s compelling voice perfectly complements Moby’s layered instrumentation, resulting in a track that is both captivating and profound. Moby returns to his dance roots with “Where is Your Pride,” a track pulsating with the energy and drive characteristic of his early hits. This song nods to the artist’s ability to innovate while staying true to the elements that made him a household name in the electronic music scene. The album showcases a wide range of musical styles, seamlessly moving across the spectrum of modern music. “Feelings Come Undone,” featuring Raquel Rodriguez, is another highlight. The emotional vocals and lush arrangements of this track illustrate the diverse yet cohesive nature of the album. “Always Centered at Night” is a versatile gem, a testament to Moby’s mastery as a producer and his keen sense of musical exploration. It is an album that grows with each listen, revealing new layers and nuances. Moby has delivered a masterpiece that is a significant addition to his already impressive body of work. (Jan Vranken) (9/10) (Always centered at night)

Carly Pearce – Hummingbird

“Hummingbird” is Carly Pearce’s third studio album. This album follows her successful second album, “29: Written in Stone,” and marks a further evolution in her musical style and artistic expression. With “Hummingbird,” Carly Pearce brings a collection of songs that reflect both her personal and professional growth. The album balances traditional country sounds with modern influences, making it feel both timeless and contemporary. This is especially evident in the tracks “Fault Line,” “Woman to Woman,” and “Trust Issues,” which lyrically and musically strongly recall her debut album with their powerful storytelling. “Things I Don’t Chase” is emotionally and sensitively arranged with beautiful string instruments. It deals with a breakup where she declares she is no longer chasing whiskey and cowboys. The more danceable tracks on this diverse album are “Rock Paper Scissors,” “Truck on Fire,” and “Country Music Made Me Do It.” Pearce enjoys collaborating with other country artists such as Ashley McBryde, Lee Brice, and Kelsea Ballerini. She has also worked with Chris Stapleton on “We Don’t Fight Anymore,” the first single released from this album. This duet is a masterpiece on the album. Although the title track “Hummingbird” uses the hummingbird as a metaphor, it refers to the difficulty of saying goodbye. Pearce remains true to her roots, with a strong emphasis on storytelling and emotional depth, consistently delivering strong albums. (Romy van der Lee) (Big Machine Records) (9/10)

Luke Combs – Father and Sons

“Father and Sons” is the latest album by Luke Combs. This album marks a personal and artistic milestone in Combs’ career, where he explores deeper themes and further develops his musical versatility. With “Father and Sons,” Luke Combs presents a collection of songs that explore the relationship between fathers and sons, as well as broader themes such as family, heritage, and personal growth. The album combines his signature raw vocals and compelling storytelling. This is evident in the track “Whoever You Turned Out to Be.” Combs places himself on a pedestal with the song “Front Door Famous,” where he sings emotionally with a subdued musical accompaniment, different from what we are used to from him. The title track, “Father and Sons,” is a touching song that encapsulates the album’s core. It tells the story of the bond between generations, focusing on love, upbringing, and the lessons passed down from father to son. Other standout tracks on the album include “Little Country Boys,” “The Man He Sees in Me,” and “My Old Man Was Right,” all finely written and pleasing to the ear. “Father and Sons” is a testament to Luke Combs’ evolution as a musician and his ability to turn personal experiences into universal stories. The album is a must-listen for both loyal fans and new listeners seeking authentic, profound country music. (Romy van der Lee) (Columbia Records) (7/10)

Dani – Attention Départ

The posthumously released album “Attention Départ” marks a beautiful final chapter in the long career of Dani, the French singer and actress who perhaps deserved more recognition during her life. This album, carefully assembled with guitarist Émilie Marsh, offers an intimate and powerful tribute to Dani’s versatile talent and unique style. The opening track, “Encore un peu de sucre,” immediately sets the tone with Dani’s characteristic, smoky voice asking for a bit of sweetness, supported by striking guitars and female background vocals. Dani’s lively energy comes to life in “Attention départ,” a song that perfectly reflects her tempestuous vitality and charm. Collaborations with artists such as Emmanuelle Seigner and Dani’s granddaughter Albane add extra depth to the album, with lyrics by Jil Caplan and Cécile Hercule emphasizing Dani’s legendary non-conformism. “Dors sans moi,” with its synthetic beats and new wave guitars, and “Chaleur inside,” with its electro-psychedelic sounds, show Dani’s ongoing quest for emotional intensity. Émilie Marsh and Edith Fambuena have masterfully produced the tracks, with each note and texture loaded with meaning and sensitivity. The presence of Étienne Daho on “Rouge,” with its lush string arrangements, adds an extra layer of melancholy and warmth. “Attention Départ” is a vibrant and joyful album that perfectly captures Dani’s spirit. It is a worthy and moving tribute to an artist who remained enthusiastic and playful until the end. This album is a brilliant finale and an indispensable addition to her body of work. (Jan Vranken) (8/10) (Warner Musique France)

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