CD reviews

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 January, 2015, 10:41pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 January, 2015, 10:41pm

Chief Keef

After various stints in and out of prison and rehab, Chicago rapper Chief Keef was dropped by his label Interscope last October. Nobody, his follow-up to 2012’s Finally Rich may be on a different label, but Keef’s cheap bragging is the same.

On the album’s title track, once again it’s all about the money. Over a sampling of Willie Hutch’s Brother’s Gonna Work It Out, the song recently sampled to far greater effect by Chance the Rapper, Keef is still keen to boast about his wealth. “What’s in my pockets? I brought Ben Franklin with me. What’s in my house? 7,000 square feet.”

And with the riches of course come the bitches. “Cause n***** will smile, but really be frienemy. Bitches act down, but really ain’t into me.”

It appeared hip hop had moved on from this one-dimensional bravado years ago, although to be honest it’s such a distorted autotuned mess it’s hard to distinguish what Keef is banging on about. Kanye West provides the masked backing vocals but this track, and most of this tiresome album, is the most excessive use of the auto-tuner since, well, the invention of the autotuner. Which is not a good thing.


The Grand Gestures
Chute Records

The brainchild of musician Jan Burnett, formerly of Scottish lo-fi group Spare Snare, The Grand Gestures have always been a finely tuned collaborative affair, Burnett creating the lush electronic landscapes over the top of vocals supplied by invited artists.

On the third (cunningly titled) album in three years, and the final part of a trilogy, Burnett again takes us on a low-key ambient journey with an album ironically filled with anything but grand gestures. It opens wonderfully with the gentle beat of Compos Mentis, on which Sparrow and the Workshop's Jill O'Sullivan tells a dark tale celebrating death - "When I die don't bury me/ Just shove me down a narrow gun, and shoot me straight in to the sun" - over a minimalist synth pop melody.

Elsewhere, guests Gary Clark ( The World will Break Your Heart) and comedian Sanjeev Kohli ( You to Me are Everything) add their emotive musings to Burnett's gorgeous atmospheric rhythms.

The only mis-step is the nagging bleeping of instrumental Listening Stations. But otherwise Third is cohesive and compelling.


5 Seconds of Summer
Live SOS
Capitol Records

Live albums are rarely a good idea. They are typically an easy way for a band to fulfil contractual obligations, or another cash cow for the record company to milk.

The first 60 seconds of Live SOS is just the sound of screaming teenage girls, which if you've never heard 5 Seconds of Summer, gives you a good indication of where it's going to go from here.

Apparently the Australian pop-punk boy band, who would rather be known as baby Blink 182, went "totally global" last year and after a quick spin of Live SOS I can see why. It's sweet and sickly pop made for kids, far removed from any true punk sensibilities.

This collection of live performances taken from their first headlining tour of the US includes all of their hit singles, but much like any product designed and manufactured purely to appeal to people who don't yet know any better, selling millions of units doesn't make it any less evil.

Fabulously coiffeured lead singer Luke Hemmings told Billboard magazine that: "At our own shows, we talk a lot of s***." It appears he's happy to sing a fair bit too.