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From the echo of the two opening chords on the titular track of this, the second studio album from Bear’s Den, it becomes clear that we’re in for something of a different flavour from 2014’s Islands. Mirrored in the excellent cover art, this is a record of bright coloured streaks against pitch blackness, a journey of neon-soaked motorway folk. No doubt this will cause divisions among the existing fanbase, a radical departure from the sound that got them this far and for some it may seem like the baby has been thrown out with the bathwater. Te truth is though that Bear’s Den are channelling vocalist Andrew Davie through a sound that lends him far more impact than before, crafting a set of recordings that feel alive in their aching reverb and shimmering guitar strums. Moments like the gorgeously patient Love Can’t Stand Aloneand Fortress already feel destined to shine on stage, but there are others that fail to match up to the tracks around them – New Jerusalemand Broken Parable, I’m looking at you. Red Earth & Pouring Rain is a bold next step, but one that gives far more than it takes away.



Jake Bugg is just a poor boy from Notting- hum. A poor boy with a guitar and a Mercury Records contract. At 22, On My One is Jake’s third album, but the first where he was allowed the freedom to really do his thang. In his eponymous debut, and 2013’s Shangri La, he had some help from more experienced songwriters. As a result, the first albums were cohesive entities; On My One is not a cohesive entity. Love, Hope and Misery, and Bitter Salt are particular stand out tracks, as well as Te Love We’re Hoping For– the rhythm and chord sequence of which really invokes America’s A Horse With No Name. Catchy guitar tracks are what we know Jake does well. More questionable moments include Bugg’s rap attempts, which are not necessarily a strength worth playing to. Like a kid in a sweetshop, Jake Bugg seems to have grabbed ever genre he could think of with this album just because he could. Some parts work and some parts definitely don’t.



Of course, with a name like that I was pretty much onside from the word go. Holy Fuck’s fourth album, their first since 2010 is a mighty, thrusting beast. Te Canadians start as they mean to go on with the dense, fuzzy, feedback-driven Chimes Broken, continuing with perhaps the best track on the album, Tom Tom. It’s been riding the R6 Music waves of late, a Foals-like heavy booted stomp that evolves constantly. It’s not entirely relentless though. Tere are moments of quiet contemplation and walls of shimmering drops of pure electro in Shivering,and Xed Eyes gives a sexy swagger. Neon Dadis a bit of a dud, sounding like every other summery electro act in 2016, but then the hard as hell, madly pulsing beats that lead into House of Glass, followed by a neat little synth tune that weaves in and out are just wonderfully complex. Sabbatics is lowdown and filthy, simple yet effective. Acidicis a deliberately messy, disjointed number that retains a tight and addictive rhythm and Caught Upis our grand finale, an all encompassing, punishing piece that fades out into nothing. Tis album offers a chance to both tap into your furious passionate primal self and also to reflect on more profound matters. Fucking great. Congrats / July 2016 / 43

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