Rock, October 2019

hfnalbum.pngCaravan Palace
MVKA Records MVLP1031

Rightly hailed as 'Parisian electronic alchemists', Caravan Palace deliver album No 4, and it's a doozy. Vocally they sometimes rely on lightweight rappy melodies, but everything else about them is richly inventive, ingeniously blending everything from big band jazz stylings to ragtime guitar picking and angelic choirs into their eminently danceworthy electronic soup. Under normal circumstances, I'd hail them as truly wonderful but far too eclectic to find wide popularity, but with 1.1m YouTube subscribers and a quarter of a billion Spotify streams to their credit, they're obviously not doing too badly. 'Waterguns', one of the most joyfully irreverent pop tracks in years, is a terrific place to start listening to them. JBk


A Girl Called Eddy
Been Around
Elefant Records ER-1241

Fourteen years ago, New Jersey-born singer-songwriter Erin Moran released her debut LP under the name A Girl Called Eddy. I was among the many who raved about it. So, when I heard in 2014 that she was working on a second album, I was delighted. Now it's here, and every bit as wonderful as I'd hoped. Her voice remains evocatively lovely, her melodies instantly memorable, and her lyrics have improved with the years. The song arrangements, with vocal harmony contributions from The Watson Twins and horns by Steely Dan's section, are impeccable. Don't miss her this time out. After all, it might be another 14 years before we get another one. JBk


My Life Story
World Citizen
Exilophone Records MLS02

As if Eddy's 14-year gap between albums [adjacent review] wasn't enough, My Life Story have taken 19 years to come up with their fourth album. Firm favourites with the Britpop crowd in the '90s, they've retained their poppy, often heavily orchestrated, approach, with frontman Jake Shillingford delivering convincingly emotional, vulnerable vocals. Emerging slowly from a haunting orchestral intro, 'The Rose The Sun' is powerful and atmospheric, while 'Telescope Moonlight Boy' rocks convincingly, and the album as a whole is proof positive that London group My Life Story always deserved much greater success than they achieved. JBk


The Black Watch
Magic Johnson
Atom Records ATOM2719

Persistence is an admirable quality, and The Black Watch have it in spades. Led by LA-based Professor John Andrew Frederick, this is their 17th album of '80s Anglo-pop influenced rock songs. Cuts like 'Get Me Out Of Echo Park' and 'Me You Me' stand out as the most dynamic compositions on offer among 16 generally understated exercises in minimally tuneful wordsmithery, driven along on chugging guitars but with decorative synth phrases popping up from time to time. It's a pity that Mr Frederick is such a thoroughly unconvincing vocalist, because some of his lyrics are mildly interesting but, if he can't sound interested in them, why on earth should we? JBk