New year, new music

Méabh Riordan

Credit: David Edwards

2017’s music scene featured the dominance of Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift’s redefinitions, The ChainSmokers collaborating withwColdplay and break-away artists like Camila Cabello soaring to the top of the charts.

The mad scientists of UK psych-rock, Django Django, have returned to the music scene with their third album Marble Skies. The album is an eclectic blend of styles that cannot be pinpointed by one genre. Think 80’s, crossed with dance music, weighted by indie rock. The album’s title track Marble Skies sets the tone with a highly accelerated, yet comparable ostinato to that of Safety Dance, accompanied by harpsicord-esque instrumentation familiar of The Straglers Golden Brown. The transition from genre to genre is seamless, with the resonance of  Alt-J and glimpses of indie pop reminiscent of Foster the People’s Don’t Stop. The 1950’s/60’s rhythmic backbeat in Tic Tac Toe leads to a subconscious effort to mimic the drums and is innovatively mixed with synths and echoing voices producing a fresh, fun sound.

Marble Skies, released 26th January, is a bouncy, fast-paced album and listeners can look forward to experiencing the inventive album crafted by Django Django.

A new Justin Timberlake is on the horizon. Man of the Woods is set to be released 2nd February and from both teaser videos it’s clear that the ever-adaptable artist is onto “a smash”. Pharrell’s words, not mine. Is it a coincidence that the album drops two days before he performs at the SuperBowl’s Halftime Show? Fans are hyped for this disparate compilation of tracks.

The teaser featured on the artist’s VEVO channel showcases country, hip-hop and pop influences. The delicate, intricate, folksy fingerstyle guitar is reminiscent of Simon and Garfunkel while the use of distortion, synths and ‘wide range of sonics’ on Timberlake’s voice take you back to the days of Cry Me a River. The Southern influence is inspired by where he grew up – Tennessee – and blends blues,  earthy timbres and rhythms with ease.

Another highly anticipated release is the fifth studio album by Franz Ferdinand, most nostalgically known for the classic millennial hit Take Me Out. The Scottish Indie band have set the release date of Always Ascending at February 9th and as seems custom, the band have previewed the album with the song Lazy Boy. A mellow, syncopated, soft rock song didn’t rock the boat in terms of innovation in my opinion but Rolling Stone Magazine’s referral to ‘dashes of electronics’ courtesy of new member Julian Corrie insight curiosity.

A blast from the past with Kimbra Gotye’s third studio album, Primal Heart, scheduled for release on April 19th  The acclaimed voice making debut with Somebody that I Used to Know is hardly recognisable to me in two of the album’s singles, released last year, Human and Top if the World. Both tracks built on electronic overtones, the latter distinct for a tribal sounding beat. These tracks piqued my interest and hey, the artist’s multiple Grammy wins make this promising.