The Albums That Made March
Fever Ray Radical Romantics
In the world of Radical Romantics, Fever Ray presents their struggle with love, or to be precise, the myth of love. Following 2017’s Plunge, Radical Romantics speaks to both the heart and the head, the dance floor and the bedroom. Dreijer is one of pop’s true visionaries, and in their hands, crude and familiar clay is twisted into endlessly beautiful and terrible forms that balance strength with vulnerability, anxiety with safety.
Dreijer first started on Radical Romantics in fall 2019; working in the Stockholm studios built with brother and fellow The Knife member Olof Dreijer after the former completed the last Fever Ray tour in 2018 and the latter returned from living in Berlin. Some time in mid-2020, Olof joined Dreijer in working on Radical Romantics, co-producing and co-writing album opener “What They Call Us,” released to a wealth of praise, plus three further songs.
“PORTLAND is a project born of instant connection, yet it’s also one that has survived some of the darkest life can throw at them. Dreamy song writing bathed in beauty, the Belgian two-piece thrive on pure expression, infusing their beatific, ethereal work with incredible honesty. New album Departures pushes them to the brink, forcing them to open up as never before, and in the process discover themselves all over again.”
This was supposed to be the perfect intro to the band’s new album Departures. A collection of songs that wears its heart on its sleeve. An album with a woefully prophetic title… Singer Sarah Pepels announced her leaving the band just weeks before the album’s scheduled release. Departures set out to initiate the mending of 2 broken hearts, but in the end, failed to do so.
Emiliana Torrini & The Colorist Orchestra Racing The Storm
Picture this: a big storm is brewing overhead. You’re careening through the backroads of rural Iceland, trying desperately to catch your flight out of Reykjavik as the skies darken behind you. You’ve just had one of the best songwriting sessions of your life, in a farmhouse deep in the Icelandic countryside, but none of that matters now. You’ve found yourself in a race against time to get all your work to the next studio and continue working on your album—one that just might turn out to be one of the most important of your entire career.
This exact scenario is what befell Belgian duo The Colorist Orchestra and Icelandic-Italian singer-songwriter Emiliana Torrini during one of the many recording sessions for their new collaborative album—and the experience was so emblematic of the entire awe-inspiring, chaotic, life-affirming process, that they ended up naming the record Racing the Storm.
H. Hawkline Milk For Flowers
H.Hawkline (Huw Evans) has released his fifth album Milk For Flowers, his most personal and confessional record to date, on Heavenly Recordings. On Milk For Flowers, beauty flourishes in the corners of grief’s desecrated church; jewelling the cobwebs, gilding the dust, and making a relic of its creator’s arrow-shot heart. Brought to being in Huw Evans’ hometown of Cardiff, the writing of the album served as the outlet for several dances with the violence of life — a spate of significant events which took his “spectrum of emotion and experience suddenly widescreen”.
Where 2017’s I Romanticize and 2015’s In the Pink of Condition might be thought of as dadaist art objects — feeling and meaning obfuscated by the absurd — Milk For Flowers belongs firmly in the realm of the divine; not only for the auspices, saints, and holy bakers that populate its lyrics, but also for its exquisite torment; the gateway to a newfound profundity of voice.
The Natural Lines The Natural Lines
Following their recent First Five EP, The Natural Lines have just released their self-titled debut album, The Natural Lines, via Bella Union.
Sometimes, a change of view can transform a person’s world. On ‘Don’t Come Down’, the artist formerly known as Matt Pond PA can be found with his “shoulder on the concrete” of a pavement, scoping out the world anew. This granular realignment of perspective serves as an open door to the debut album from The Natural Lines. At once clearly Pond’s work yet a huge leap forward in its measured songcraft, melodic immediacy, collaborative detail and wryly questioning lyrics, the result is a gorgeous album of intimate reflections from a relocated, renamed, revivified talent.
A Certain Ratio 1982
A Certain Ratio’s greatest strength has always been their unpredictability – “That’s what people like about us, they don’t know what’s coming next!” explains Jez Kerr. Even by the band’s own standards, however, their latest studio album 1982 (via Mute) is multi-dimensional. It shoots off in every direction, whether via searing Afrobeat, mind-melting jazz breakdowns or moody electronic experiments.
This new album has brought that in various ways, including the introduction of two new voices – the charismatic presence of Mancunian rapper Chunky (on ‘Waiting on a Train’) and one of Manchester’s fastest-rising neo-soul musicians Ellen Beth Abdi, you’ll recognise her from the ACR live line up in recent years, who has collaborated across the album and is already as central to the writing and recording process as the members who’ve been there since the 1970s.
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