If we’re being blunt, Canadian collective Godspeed You! Black Emperor are one of the few second wave post-rock bands still worth a damn. The dreamy soundscapes conjured by Sigur Rós during their ‘00s stretch have aged well, while no band has been able to replicate Mogwai’s unwavering miserabilism even half as well. But Godspeed are still the kingpins when it comes to awe-inspiring orchestral rock.
Protomartyr won a lot of plaudits in 2015 for their record ‘The Agent Intellect’ and with good reason. Except for perhaps the-band-formerly-known-as-Viet-Cong, no post-punk act that year managed to make something with such sonic depth and rhetorical power.
A revered figure in the underground, comedian Romesh Ranganathan recently anointed him “hip-hop royalty” on his ‘Hip-Hop is Dead’ podcast. It isn’t hard to see why: he’s had a finger on the pulse with his social commentary since day dot.
When I phone him, though, he informs me he’s “sat in a pub and has had no sleep”. What follows is a blunt, honest interview where almost nothing is off limits. And to be fair, he has plenty to be frustrated by. His new album, ‘Lost Time’, is aptly named as it follows two years spent on a “disastrous label” that “pretty much shut down [his] life on all fronts”.
Jonathan chats to frontman Andrew Groves about progressive influences, supporting Muse and the bad's late bloom
There’s the UK hip hop scene, there’s the grime scene and then there’s Ghostpoet. Obaro Ejimiwe has always eschewed convention wherever possible, whether that’s through his garbled vocal delivery or his bleak, even atonal production choices. Most markedly of all, though, across three albums he has developed a cynical narrative style that’s entirely his own.
For all the different instruments and sounds and frequencies, Foster and co. don’t do anything remotely interesting with them. The best thing that can be said about the record is that it at least manages to be derivative of a range of different acts.
First impressions count for a lot in the music business. If an artist nails a marketable aesthetic on their debut, it can dictate the direction of their entire career. That perhaps explains why Liverpool collective Anathema aren’t recognised as one of the greatest alternative rock bands to come out of the UK in the last three decades.
As Staples ponders on Party People: “How [am I] supposed to have a good time when death and destruction is all I see?” But instead of pulling out a magnifying glass, his natural artistic inclination is increasingly to show rather than tell. In this case, it’s made for a sharp, futuristic album that keeps you on your toes.
It might seem unfair to the put the boot in to music so patently innocuous. But ‘Truth is a Beautiful Thing’ is a frustratingly tepid record that’s easy to listen to and easy to forget about.
In Mind isn’t retro for retro’s sake but rather an updated summary of how far the band have taken a sound that’s as addictive as it is limited in scope.
“We’re talking cocktails of pharmaceutical drugs and liquor. To be 100% honest, I don’t remember writing a lot of this album. Artistically, I wouldn’t say I regret any of it."