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Brandon Flowers – The Desired Effect

  • Published in Albums

The Desired Effect is the second solo album by Brandon Flowers and was released in the UK on 18th May 2015. Flowers has run his solo career and that as The Killers front man concurrently, with his solo album Flamingo in 2010 and The Killer's album Battle Born in 2012, and as a result it could be hard to separate the two. However, after the third play through of The Desired Effect it is clear that whilst there are echoes of The Killers in some tracks, Flowers has created an album that is uniquely different from his other work.

By collaborating with other musicians and vocalists each track has a distinctly different sound making the album an interesting listen from one song to the next and intrigues you, making you want to hear what the next track will treat you to. The vocals from both Flowers and his collaborators are strong throughout, with some great harmonies thrown into the mix.

The lead single from the album ‘Can't Deny My Love’ is brilliantly anthemic and one of those tracks that you have in your head for the rest of the day and can't stop singing. The other singles released from The Desired Effect; ‘Still Want You’, ‘I Can Change’ and ‘Lonely Town’ are all great but with a whole album full of such good tracks picking those to release must have been a tricky task. ‘I Can Change’ uses a sample from Supermode’s ‘Tell Me Why’ which was originally sampled from Bronski Beat’s ‘Smalltown Boy’ and ‘Why’ added to the vocals of Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant gives the track an old school vibe.

Although The Desired Effect is only Brandon Flowers’ second album, it is rumoured to be his final solo album which would be a great shame given how good this album is, with lots of great songs both musically and lyrically. This album has really had the desired effect.

The Desired Effect is available from Amazon and iTunes.


Benjamin Clementine – At Least For Now

  • Published in Albums

For a debut album from a 24-year-old man, it would be hard to generate more passion or intensity than Benjamin Clementine’s album At Least for Now.

The album opening track ‘Winston Churchill’s Boy’ opens with the lyrics “Never in the fields of human affection/Had so much been given for so few attention.”  This powerful message attempts to illustrate the gulf Clementine experienced between himself and his family. It also illustrates his ability to combine poetry, spoken word and stunning vocals on a grand scale. A wonderful lyricist, he combines flowing poetic style with deep soul.

‘Then I Heard a Bachelor’s Cry’ displays his talents at their very best. Clementine offers up moody, enticing lyrics over a soft piano with a selection of soaring strings. The beauty of this album, and of his talents, is simply stunning. It is also the construction which keeps you listening, as you never quite know where the song is going to take you.

The structure of the whole album is a wonderful melee of styles and the standard verse-chorus structure is quickly abandoned. His style has already drawn comparisons with Leonard Cohen. At first this seems a heavy tag to hang around an artist who is just starting their musical career. However within tracks such as ‘The People and I’ and ‘Condolence’, which appear towards the end of the album, it’s easy to see why comparisons exist. It is the song structure and word play, along with the confidence in his ability that keep your ears transfixed for fascinating lyrics.

In ‘Nemesis’, which starts out as a standard love song regarding waiting for love to arrive, Clementine displays his lyrical wonderment by crooning:

“If I held my breath on you/I would have died a thousand times/And if chewing was to show how much I cared/I’d probably be wearing dentures by now”

We are not sure, but we are pretty certain that it’s the first time dentures have been attributed to waiting in vain for love to arrive.

‘Cornerstone’ is the best track of the whole album. It brings together all Clementine’s talents; these consist of complex lyrical word play without becoming self-indulgent, combined with beautiful soaring vocals which deliver a simple message in a truly unique style.

One of the final tracks ‘Quiver a Little’ combines haunting piano with off-beat spoken word, which he whispers and uses to draw in the ear. It sums up his approach to production and his approach to songwriting as a whole.

This album very quickly goes from something that grows on you to something that you want to hear again and again. It is simply a stunning debut album which breaks so many apparent rules. We are so glad Clementine achieved this, and hope he continues to push boundaries.

At Least For Now is available from Amazon and iTunes.

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