The Wrap Up: March & April 2022

A bumper edition of the monthly wrap covers the past two months in music including Bloc Party, Charli XCX, Wet Leg and much more.


It's never too late for a Wrap Up, right?


As I was away you may have noticed a distinct lack of album reviews for the month of March, so you're getting two for the price of one this month with a bumper edition of The Wrap covering the past two months in music! Now you can't say fairer than that.


As well as a whole load of reviews from the past eight weeks there's also your trusty E/O Mix covering all the best tracks that have dropped in the interim, and we'll be rounding off by taking a look ahead to what promises to be a jam packed May.


As well as the records we're looking at below, there's been a trio of excellent 8's covered on site this past April so if you haven't already then check out the electrifying debut of THUMPER, Fontaines' best yet and the surprisingly lovely sounds of Father John Misty's fifth LP.


Now, there's lots to cover so let's not waste any more time getting into it...


 


Alpha Games - Bloc Party


Despite the best efforts of Russell Lissack and his consistently creative guitar work, Alpha Games' quite literal attempt to hearken back to the glory years of Bloc Party's 2004-2008 run (hear how desperate a shot 'If We Get Caught' takes at retreading 'I Still Remember') is doomed from the start, as all too often throughout these 12 tracks there's a jarring cringe factor to Kele Okerere's lyric and vocal game that is impossible to ignore on the quartet's sixth album.


It's an unfortunate detriment to the wider band (including a tight rhythm section consisting of bassist Justin Harris on his second time out after 2016'S HYMNS and newcomer Louise Bartle on drums), who are ultimately let down by the astounding drop off in Okerere's abilities, despite the relatively sound set of instrumentals Alpha Games offers on the UK indie legends uneventful comeback.


4.0 / D-


Best Tracks: 'Of Things Yet To Come'


Listen on Spotify


 

Crash - Charli XCX


As she bids farewell to major label status on her final record for Atlantic, Charli goes with a bang.


Packed to the brim with chart topping bangers ('Good Ones'), wicked club anthem cuts ('Used To Know Me') and killer collaborations (old friends Christine and Caroline Polachek return for synthtastic 80s trip 'New Shapes' while Rina Sawayama is a new and very welcome acquaintance on twisted 00's club classic 'Beg For You'), CRASH is an undeniable blast from start to finish.


While it may not resonate to the extent of Pop 2's futuristic hyperpop or how i'm feeling now's glitched out lockdown diaries, CRASH never aims for these artistic depths - Charli is too busy having the time of her life, filling dancefloors, selling out arenas and touring the world before the endless possibilities of independence truly set in.


7.5 / B


Best Tracks: 'New Shapes', 'Beg For You', 'Used To Know Me'


Listen on Spotify


 


Even for Kurt Vile, (watch my moves) is pretty damn chill.


In a move apparently inspired by The Velvet Underground, KV signed to Verve Records last April after spending a decade and change with Matador, all while building his own home recording studio, OKV Central, where he recorded his ninth studio album during lockdowns across 2020 and 2021.


You may justifiably be sick of hearing the term 'lockdown' as inspiration for yet another album, but trust me - this is a record like no other pandemic project, with Vile seemingly inspired by the setting of OKV Corral to dream up his prettiest ditties in a long time.


(watch my moves) has got all the sweet swagger and charm of Vile's 2020 country inspired EP Speed, Sound, Lonely KV with the easy flair and gentle badassary of Vile's best guitar jams, but KV is more interested in coolly drawling atop wandering guitarscapes than getting heavy throughout this ever so slightly indulgent yet irresistibly alluring 73 minutes.


7.0 / B-


Best Tracks: 'Palace of OKV in Reverse', 'Like Exploding Stones', 'Mount Airy Hill (Way Gone)'


Listen on Spotify


 



MOTOMAMI - Rosalía


It feels like a lifetime ago since Rosalía gifted us the conceptual majesty of El Mal Querer, and after hearing MOTOMAMI for the first or even fifth time, you may be forgiven thinking it was an entirely different artist. Ever since 2018, the Catalan signer has veered off in a wildly experimental direction, fiercely fusing electronica with reggaeton while changing the concept of mainstream music not only in her native Spain but around Europe and the US. MOTOMAMI attempts to encompass the ever growing list of genres and sounds that Rosalía wants to explore, but the result is as much of a mix as the music on this record itself - which traverses a frantic fusion of avant garde electropop, flamenco, bachata, champeta, neoperreo, piano balladry and every subgenre of reggaeton under the sun.


While it's an impressive array of sounds to fit inside 40 minutes, less is often more in the case of Rosalía's third record. It's no coincidence that MOTOMAMI fares best when it offers the simple piano melodies and traditional Spanish touches that enraptured the wider music world four years previous, with the ballads 'Hentai', 'Como un G' and 'Sakura' making for the stand out moments in between an onslaught of Tik-Tok ready reggaeton and manic altpop.


5.5 / C-


Best Tracks: 'Hentai', 'Como un G', 'Sakura'


Listen on Spotify


 


Wet Leg - Wet Leg


Formed by best friends Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers atop a ferris wheel in their native Isle Of Wight and named after playing an emoji combination game, the kooky conception story of Wet Leg is a perfect introduction to the oddball collection of lo-fi bedroom rock, power pop and indie disco that makes up this charmingly goofy debut.


Arriving on the back of a breakout 2021 for the pair thanks to viral hit single ‘Chaise Longue’ and its ensuing singles last year, Wet Leg offers up more of the same sticky guitar licks and zingy quips that made for such an infectious cocktail on the band’s early hits, with no shortage of addictive garage jams on supply as well as a host of other genres which the pair bounce effortlessly between throughout a zesty half hour and change.


The band’s love of French disco shines on groovy highlights ‘Wet Dream’ and ‘Ur Mum’, while there’s a sugary slice of bubblegum indie pop laced throughout the tracklist with ‘Loving You’ and ‘Piece Of Shit’ providing a nice contrast to the grungy hooks on punchy opener ‘Being In Love’ and ‘Angelica’.


According to Teasdale, the song that started it all was written in just one day while lounging on said chaise longue, and the entirety of Wet Leg carries the same spontaneous energy of its lead smash – Teasdale and Chambers real life friendship is joyously reflected in the charisma and wit that bursts throughout this debut, and the result is tons of fun.


7.5 / B


Best Tracks: 'Being In Love', 'Chaise Longue', 'Wet Dream'


Listen on Spotify


 


Either/Or's March & April 2022 Mix


The 24 best tracks of the past two months, curated by yours truly for your aural pleasure.


Arcade Fire - The Lightning Part I & II

Father John Misty - Goodbye Mr. Blue

Florence + The Machine - My Love

Fontaines D.C. - Roman Holiday

THUMPER - 25

Interpol - Toni

Wet Leg - Being In Love

Belle and Sebastian - Young and Stupid

Cooks But We're Chefs - Studio 54

Angel Olsen - Big Time

Wilco - Falling Apart (Right Now)

Soccer Mommy - Shotgun

Ailbhe Reddy - Inhaling

Porridge Radio - The Rip

Kurt Vile - Mount Airy Hill (Way Gone)

Lykke Li - NO HOTEL

Ethel Cain - Strangers

Cassandra Jenkins - Pygmalion

The Smile - Skrting On The Surface

Purity Ring - graves

Rosalía - HENTAI

Charli XCX - Used To Know Me

Jamie xx - LET'S DO IT AGAIN




 

May's Most Anticipated Releases



06/05


Arcade Fire - WE

Belle & Sebastian - A Bit Of Previous

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - Endless Rooms

Sharon Von Etten - We've Been Going About This All Wrong


13/05


The Black Keys - Dropout Boogie

Florence + The Machine - Dance Fever

Kendrick Lamar - Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers

The Smile - A Light For Attracting Attention


20/05


Lykke Li - EYEYE

Porridge Radio - Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder To The Sky


27/05


Liam Gallagher - C'MON YOU KNOW

Wilco - Cruel Country


 

For reviews of the above and much more this May, subscribe and follow Either/Or on Instagram and Twitter! Thanks for reading.


65 views