Abel Tesfaye's dark, twisted album is at odds with the glossy pop world he's been thrust into
Finally, the slumbering midget that is the Portsmouth music scene joins the party....
Sampling Beefheart, cult TV and obscure films and with singer David Jones' faltering falsetto almost passing for McAlmont, they fantasise about articulating the dreams of small-town misfits everywhere. Brian Jones, Ian Curtis, Morrissey: these are their heroes. They sound nothing like any of them.
Because, true to form for a late-'90s indie band, there's always been a dance element to their music. Albeit a resolutely lo-fi one, that's not so much dance music made in a bedsit, as for one. It can be fine - the hypnotic shuffle of 'Can Fever', the pharmaceutical banjo excess of 'Heppen Harla' - but it can also sound like Dreadzone, or result in rinky-dink post-Shamenisms.
Hopelessly naive it might be, but 'English Meltdown' is still the best album ever by a Portsmouth band. That's not saying much, but at least it's saying more than The Cranes.
The Cavan teenagers attack album two with abandon, largely at the expense of quality
A still-vital John Lydon rages towards retirement on a saucy, scuzzy new album
10 Tracks You Need To Hear This Week (26/8/2015)
Oxford's finest flit between gnarly rock and frustrating slickness on an often-brilliant fourth album