Album Reviews: Jagwar Ma, Frankmusik

jagwar-ma-howlinJagwar Ma had most people captivated the moment their lead single landed, an impressive feat for a couple of relative unknowns and a 6-minute+ debut. There’s definitely something in the Aussie water these days (probably the dregs of Dannii Minogue’s career) that’s exporting a very distinct sound – Tame Impala, Jagwar Ma, even newcomers Honeymooon, all seem to be rapt by psych-rock of yore, albeit in different degrees. It’s bloody successful on Howlin though – whether it’s the drone repeat of What Love, the synth-heavy album standout Uncertainty, or the 70s-leaning That Loneliness, there’s a mine of goodness here. The duo certainly sound like they had the time of their lives making this record; figures, because it’s the happiest, most fun listen we’ve had in a while.

frankmusik-betweenPoor Vincent Frank. Despite being so very hyped years ago – we would have said needlessly, but we didn’t want to be mean and we liked his hair – the young Londoner hasn’t quite managed to hit so much as a rung of that promised success. His latest album, Between, was released with zero pomp or fanfare, and accepted with about just as much fervour. In fairness, it might be something to do with the tunes: Chasing Shadows is a right old racket, Cake is embarrassing with it’s ‘you can have your cake, you can have your cake’ refrain (which means a lot coming from us, given we’d happily perjure ourselves for even just a whiff of red velvet), and the rest is equally uninspiring. We really want to have a lot of time for Frankmusik – and a song like Map gives us a smidgen of hope that he could at least carve a Bright Light Bright Light-esque niche – but over-produced drudgery like this is not the way forward.