When The Vaccines came on the scene in late 2010, they were met with fond approval from critics and reigned in third position in the career-paving BBC Sound of 2011 poll. Their single 'Post Break-Up Sex' was unavoidable and they had Best New Act awards coming out their ears. Literally. It was a cause of medical concern.
One year later, with a whirlwind of festivals and live shows trailing behind them,their second album, Come Of Age, does not exactly scream sound of 2012. It's screaming 1973, when being a rocker had no Slipknot associations. With the very styled image (slicked back hair, extremely tight jeans, leather) that they are going for, they'd fit in with the 'This Is England' cast or be cast as the bad boys in UTV's 'Heartbeat'.
It's been three years since The xx unleashed their stunning debut album xx on a largely unsuspecting listening public. The non-listening public have consequently experienced the album's wonders too, whether they know it or not – the widespread synchronisation of their montage-friendly brand of minimalistic music has brought them to an even wider audience than they ever dreamed possible. Countless soundtrack appearances aside, there's also been the barrage of critical acclaim, legions of fans, sold out tours, cracking that tough nut that is America, being sampled by Princess of Pop Rihanna – and above all else deservedly winning the 2010 Mercury Music Prize for 'Album of the Year'. But the time has come to chalk xx up as a classic and move on. Hopes are undeniably high for the follow-up, Coexist – in fact, the burdening weight of the debut even conjures feelings of 'more of the same will do just fine'…
It's been a couple of years since we've had new material from the Dublin/Dundalk group Heritage Centre and it's looking like their second album, Alright, Check It Out, was worth the wait.
Their thundering debut single, 'The Boss', was met with open arms and was topped off by a fantastic black and white video which featured five lovely, retro ladies miming along to the anthem-like song. The lads mean business and, luckily, everything following their grand return has re-established them as one of Ireland's hardest working and fondest bands.
Enigmatic Danish ensemble Efterklang have been making their sublime and wondrous music for over a decade now. For this their fourth album, they decamped to an abandoned Russian mining settlement in the Arctic Circle. Their spell in what was effectively a ghost town, proved to be a productive one – some of the recordings and ambient sounds they brought back are subtly present here on Piramida.
Piramida marks no major shift in direction from their last album Magic Chairs, but it is a richly rewarding record that yields something new with every listen. All the elements that were present in previous Efterklang recordings are to found here only with a defter, lighter touch. The strings, brass percussion and electronica that featured so prominently on their first three albums are still there, but blended into the overall sound in a more subtle, understated way.