Albums

Albums: New music from Reef, Kelly Lee Owens, Kehlani and Jason Aldean

REEF – PULL ME YOUR ACE

THANKS to Chris Evans and TFI Friday, a whole generation had It’s Your Letters – adapted from Brits Reef’s Put Your Hands On – stuck in their heads

Having now expanded the band, Gary Stringer, Jack Bessant, Jesse Wood and Luke Bullen rock harder than ever, and aren’t bothered by Andy Taylor’s production (yes that one).

Keeping the funk vibes that made them a favorite in the mid-90s, they amped up the bluesy rock and have a real AC/DC feel.

Stringer’s vocal fries crackle like it’s a morning after the hard rock night before, straight out of doors with Shoot Me Your Ace.

Best of Me has a funkier summer vibe that reminds you why they quickly became famous.

It’s a powerful summer rock album.

Rating: 4/5

KELLY LEE OWENS – LP8

ELECTRONIC musician/producer Kelly Lee Owens is back with a third album, LP8, dripping with the heart-pounding, hypnotic techno she’s become known for.

Yet Owens’ new record steps slightly out of left field with a more ethereal techno slant: where his previous album Inner Song was more about partying, LP8 is for introspection.

The Anadlu and Olga tracks are meditative, reminiscent of the wee hours of the morning with the sun gently piercing the horizon, and Nana Piano is almost a lullaby, all sparkling keys and soothing melodies. The closing track Sonic 8 sends you back with disharmony and distortion, coming full circle from the abrasive opening track Release.

The more introspective atmosphere is perhaps to be expected: LP8 was recorded in a few weeks during the confinement in Oslo. Despite its subdued tone, the record happily settles on the bright side of boredom, showing the extent of Owens’ talent and just how much more she has in the tank.

Rating: 3/5

KEHLANI – BLUE WATER ROAD

Sultry R&B icon Kehlani has done it again with this consistently sultry record that opens with a stripped-back and engaging opener Little Story, then takes us through emotional moves and thrilling collaborations.

Its witty encounter in the form of Up at Night with Justin Bieber is refreshing and has an engaging hook, which both artists have of course done before, but the bass from 2017 feels a little tacky for such a great record.

One thing is for sure with this album – Kehlani is here and continues to carve out a place in the R&B hall of fame with slow, sexy songs and earworm melodies.

Rating: 4/5

JASON ALDEAN – MACON, GEORGIA

JASON Aldean completed his double album with the release of Georgia after debuting in Macon last November.

The American country singer’s latest 15 tracks feature 10 new tracks and five previously unreleased live takes to round out the ambitious 30-song project.

From the opening track Whiskey Me Away, his deep vocals and classic brooding style exploring heartbreak take center stage, accompanied by powerful guitar solos.

The album retains its laid-back, mid-tempo sound throughout, with the live tracks providing a welcome, rawer variation.

Discussing the project, Aldean said: “After nine albums and 16 years of recording, I hope people can say that I wanted to make this tenth album fun and different from anything we’ve done before.”

It doesn’t offer anything drastically different this time around, but its loyal fan base will most likely appreciate a selection of new songs to add to their repertoire.

Rating: 3/5