Rock, August 2021

hfnalbum.pngLord Huron
Long Lost
Republic LOHU050020; LP: LOHU050017

Lord Huron have enjoyed recent chart success in the States and the elements that make up Long Lost mainly come from that country's past: the soundworld of Elvis and Roy Orbison, the guitar twang of Duane Eddy and The Ventures, and the modern slant on Americana by Fleet Foxes and The National. But all this is refashioned into a timeless and remarkably fresh signature sound. Ben Schneider's voice finds space to soar on the single 'Mine Forever', and on the tale of dissolution, 'Not Dead Yet', his sardonic lyrics balance the sonic sweetness. String arrangements add eerie atmospherics to the nocturnal tryst of 'Meet Me In The City' and attain a cinematic sweep on 'Drops In The Lake', with its ghostly Theremin chorus. MB


No Gods No Masters
BMG 4050538662917; LP: 4050538662887

'The Men Who Rule The World' opens Garbage's first album in seven years with Shirley Manson's profane protestations about how the chaos of our times feels like it's stuck inside her head. But the song is charged with energy and Billy Bush's production gives us a brutal drum sound, and massive blocks of guitar crashing into each other. But thereafter the album reveals itself to be full of contrasts, with sequencer patterns on 'The Creeps', and the onrushing title track topped by layered synths and a yearning vocal melody. And although it starts off with anger and sorrow, ultimately it feels balanced out by positivity and the possibility of redemption. MB


John Grant
Boy From Michigan
Bella Union BELLA1220CD; LP: BELLA1220V

John Grant has permanently relocated from America to Iceland, but this has not dulled his focus on events in his homeland, and these songs are steeped in his own memories. On the title track he warns ominously that the American Dream is not for 'weak soft-hearted fools'. These vivid, finely detailed narratives are set to some gorgeous tunes and Grant's rich, warm voice carries a feeling of melancholia and a sense of disquiet. His last album, 2018's Love Is Magic, which reached the UK top 20, was largely electronic, but this album, produced by his longtime collaborator and friend Cate Le Bon, is a beautifully arranged, multi-layered feast of synthesisers. MB


Monster Magnet
A Better Dystopia

When Monster Magnet had to stop gigging last year, their songwriting effectively ground to a halt too. So to keep active, the American heavy psychedelic band recorded an album of cover versions. Alongside a rocket-fuelled take on Hawkwind's 'Born To Go' and a brooding reading of 'Death' by The Pretty Things, are obscurities from what guitarist and vocalist Dave Wyndorf calls 'rock's no-man's land' – like 'Be Forewarned' by '70s misfits Macabre and 'Mister Destroyer' by heavy rockers Poobah. One can hear how the latter's wah-wah guitars and flamboyant drumming fed into MM's signature sound and their version feels like a respectful 'thank you'. MB