Rock, May 2021

hfnalbum.pngFoo Fighters
Medicine At Midnight
Roswell/Columbia 19439788362; LP: 19439788361

Medicine At Midnight may not become the best album released in 2021, but it will surely be one of the most immediate and invigorating. 'Making A Fire' opens, riding out on a funky groove with swaggering guitar chords, and female backing singers elegantly framing Dave Grohl's exultant lead vocals. Greg Kurstin's punchy production adds to the intensity. Foo Fighters' tenth album finds the six-piece sounding unfeasibly fresh. They are also happy to wear their influences on their sleeves: the title track nods back with a smile to David Bowie's 'Lets Dance', bluesy guitar solo and all, and 'No Son Of Mine' borrows the riff from Motörhead's 'Ace Of Spades'. It's packed with strong tunes and at 37m, there's no filler. MB


The Antlers
Green To Gold
Transgressive TRANS516CD; LP: TRANS516XX

The Antlers' frontman Peter Silberman is known for his unsentimental exploration of inner states in song, but in recent times he has had to contend with the practical difficulties of both auditory and vocal problems. On the group's first release in over six years his sweet voice is fully restored and glides above shifting mosaics of gently brushed drums, tremolo'd guitar, rippling keyboards and the occasional flourish of strings – intoning pithy lines like 'By loving you imperfectly for just one second, I free you from me', on 'Just One Sec'. Bookended by two instrumentals, the album is unruffled, full of gently unfurling melodies and exudes a positive glow. MB


Lost Horizons
In Quiet Moments
Bella Union BELLA1111CD; LP: BELLA1111V

Multi-instrumentalist Simon Raymonde (ex-Cocteau Twins) and drummer Richie Thomas recorded 16 atmospheric instrumental tracks, some with strings, and invited guest vocalists to write and record lyrics along the lines of 'death and rebirth'. 'Every Beat That Passed', sung by Kavi Kwai, is in the Cocteaus' mould, but this collection works so well because the singers have scope to make the songs their own, with particularly inspired performances by Ren Harvieu and John Grant. Soul singer Ural Thomas (now 82) is backed by sparse piano on the exquisite 'In Quiet Moments' and Porridge Radio's Dana Margolin delivers the edgy 'One For Regret'. MB


As The Love Continues

For the last 25 years Mogwai have made instrumental music that plays with space and the slow build. On 'Midnight Flit' the rhythms are typically mid-paced and a gradual upwelling of guitar, keyboards, and strings, arranged by Atticus Ross, peaks at a huge sound. Another guest, saxophonist Colin Stetson, adds to the heft of 'Pat Stains'. Mogwai are constantly reinventing this style, with submerged voices and spindly fuzz guitar hooks on 'Supposedly, We Were Nightmares', and the only song proper, 'Ritchie Sacramento', revs up into an overdriven chorus that evokes My Bloody Valentine. 'It's What I Want To Do, Mum' closes the album with epic grandeur. MB