CD reviews: Two Hands by Turbowolf; White Men are Black Men Too by Young Fathers; Froot by Marina and The Diamonds
Has there ever been a more aptly named band than Turbowolf? Hailing from Bristol, England, the four-piece rock beast sound exactly as their snarling high-octane name suggests.
It’s been four long years since Turbowolf’s self-titled psychedelic punk metal classic arrived like a thunderous migraine to re-energise guitar music riffing. Can their rocket-fuelled sophomore effort, Two Hands, live up to such a colossal predecessor?
Opening with the standard thrash metal of Invisible Hand, bouncy lead single Rabbits Foot quickly gets in your face with its funky refrain, “I need some kind of voodoo/ I need some kind of love”.
Beginning like an assembly singalong at Satan’s School of Young Offenders, Solid Gold then takes things up a notch as guitarist Andy Ghosh unleashes a walloping infectious groove. American Mirrors sounds like a lost Alice Cooper classic. At its heart Two Hands is thunderous stoner rock with daubs of electronica and elements of classic rock (and possibly a bucketful of peyote) and it’s an almighty ear-bleeding beauty.
White Men are Black Men Too
When your widely embraced debut album, Dead, walks away with 2014's Mercury Prize, catapulting you into the big league, creating that difficult second album comes with a whole new level of gravitas.
This is no time to rest on your laurels: a hasty follow-up is required before the hype quickly dissipates and obscurity beckons.
This burden of expectation can overwhelm many bands - but Scottish hip-hop trio Young Fathers certainly aren't dwelling on the pressure. White Men are Black Men Too is the group's "interpretation of what a pop album should be".
A thrilling experimental mash-up of rap, soul, dub and punk, this is fearless, genre-defying pop punctuated with sharp hooks and eclectic rhythms.
In lesser hands, this unpredictable collision of styles might feel unfocused and disjointed, but as Allysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole and "G" Hastings spit rhymes over pulsing church organs, gospel choirs and droning beats, the joyous celebration of technicolour music makes a mockery of the difficult sophomore album syndrome.
Marina and The Diamonds
Fans of Welsh singer-songwriter Marina Diamandis will already be acquainted with half of the lush popster's third album, after the "Froot of the Month" marketing campaign saw new tracks released over six months before its official full release.
Following on from the success of her second album - 2012's Electra Heart - and her fruity performance at this year's Coachella festival (the vocalist resplendent with a pair of giant cherries perched upon her head), Froot sees the 29-year-old in a reflective mood.
It's a remarkably bright, upbeat affair considering half of the album is about, she admits, "a relationship that I had to end".
Produced solely by David Kosten (Bats for Lashes) - Diamandis had previously worked with multiple producers - Froot's focus is certainly more on introspective songwriting than simply churning out the disco bangers. I'm a Ruin and Blue are filled with heartbreak but reveal more of the singer's personality: listen closely to the lyrics and you can hear Diamandis' strong wit, showing that she is still quite the pith taker.