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Album Reviews
Royal Blood: Royal Blood ****
Cooking up a seething cauldron of The White Stripes, Led Zep QOTSA and The Black Keys, Brighton duo Royal Blood were never going to win any prizes for bleeding edge originality. But for sheer abandon and sonic enjoyment, their debut is one of the year’s strongest.
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Full of impressive power-chording and proto-blues drumming, this should be played LOUD. Catnip for gnarled bluesmen and indie kids starved of a guitar band they can rally around. Alan Corr
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Opeth - Pale Communion ***1/2
Pale Communion sees Mikael Akerfeldt and co go further down the prog rabbit hole of 2011's Heritage and asks fans if they can manage to squeeze in too - they'll gain some new ones, perplex some old ones and have others defending this record as just another point on Opeth's 25-year journey.
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This album is quite the workout for ear and mind, with wow and what the... moments throughout, and the feeling that a good six months may be needed to reach a decision on whether it will join the once-a-year or once-a-day ranks in your collection. Harry Guerin
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Dave O'Neill - Say Something ***
Dave O'Neill went the Fundit route for his debut album, with those who ponied up owing themselves a pat on the back for money well spent.
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Sounding like a restless soul, he opts for country singalong on Change...; tries out a stadium pop-rock chorus on Where's That Thing Called Love; offers a piano ballad with I Should Go Out and even gives bar-room blues a go on closer Shooting Star.
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There are no clangers, but you can't be everything to everyone, so he has some real thinking to do about where he's strongest. Harry Guerin
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La Roux - Trouble in Paradise ***
Synth pop’s androgynous ice maiden Elly Jackson makes her return as a solo artist on this lush second album. It's not quite the departure from her hit debut she seems to suggest. Jackson does sound wounded after a period of personal and professional upheaval but this is still eighties-indebted pop of a very high stripe. Trouble in Paradise is a very enjoyable indeed - both danceable and thought-provoking. Alan Corr
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Morrissey: World Peace . . . ****
At 55, Morrissey returns with a droll but deadly serious set of songs blazing with new-found anger and sunken in sadness.
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He has recruited multi-instrumentalist Gustavo Manzur to spice up the tired old indie rock and what emerges is by turns elegant, flamboyant and really quite beautiful.
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With this bravado mix of waspish humour, pure mischief and deadly earnestness, a star really is reborn. The campaign for Morrissey's five-night stand at Croker begins here.
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Alan Corr
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