The Student Playlist

Showcasing the Best New Music, Curating the Classics

Category Reviews

REVIEW: Mumford & Sons – ‘Wilder Mind’ (Island / Gentlemen of the Road)

by Ed Biggs Unless you’ve been marooned on a desert island for the last two months, you can’t fail to have noticed all the talk about old-timey folk impersonators Mumford & Sons “going electric” with their third album. The formerly self-identified ‘gentlemen of the road’ have ditched the accordions, banjos, waistcoats and tweed and opted for leather jackets, electric guitars and keyboards.

REVIEW: Baby Chaos – ‘Skulls, Skulls, Skulls, Show Me The Glory’ (Baby Chaos)

by Ed Biggs The last decade’s trend for bands to reunite has accelerated to the point where groups that hardly anyone has heard of or cared about the first time round are getting back together to chance their arm at the nostalgia dollar. But at least Scottish rabble-rousers Baby Chaos can point to a brand new record to lend their reformation some artistic credibility.

REVIEW: Mew – ‘+-‘ (PIAS / Universal)

by Matthew Langham For Danish art-rockers Mew it’s been six years since their last release No More Stories…. Their long awaited sixth effort +- is in a very similar vein to previous releases of MOR-inspired proggy-pop. With the help of Bloc Party’s Russell Lissack on guitar duties on ‘My Complications’, lead singer Jonas Bjerre’s vocals provide the most interesting element to the record. His distinct style draws him comparisons to French

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REVIEW: Blur – ‘The Magic Whip’ (Parlophone)

by Ed Biggs The announcement of the first Blur album in over a decade, and the first with Graham Coxon since 1999, was one of the biggest music news stories of the first part of 2015. We’d had the big reunion (two of them), the emotional catharsis, the burying of hatchets, and for many, that would have been enough. But the existence of The Magic Whip seems to have solidified the

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REVIEW: Built To Spill – ‘Untethered Moon’ (Warner Bros.)

by Matthew Langham It’s been a long time coming for Built To Spill. The Portland-via-Idaho grunge-rock favourites’ last release was in 2009, their seventh studio record There Is No Enemy. The record didn’t generate a great deal of attention at the time, and by 2013 came along lead singer Doug Martsch complained that he felt “directionless”.

REVIEW: Speedy Ortiz – ‘Foil Deer’ (Carpark)

by Ed Biggs When Massachusetts native Sadie Dupuis first began Speedy Ortiz as a casual recording nom de plume four years ago, she can’t have presumed that the indie world would be anticipating her third album as much as this in 2015. After an internet release that year called The Death Of Speedy Ortiz, her group attracted the attention of the national rock press in 2013 with Major Arcana, the kind

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REVIEW: Passion Pit – ‘Kindred’ (Columbia)

by Ed Biggs Electronic pop outfit Passion Pit, the brainchild of Massachusetts native Michael Angelakos, have delivered an eagerly awaited third album. Kindred follows three years after the well-received Gossamer, which achieved the interesting balance of sounding musically upbeat but thematically bleak. In it, Angelakos frequently lamented and berated himself about how he tended to let down people close to him. In the aftermath of its release, he revealed his

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REVIEW: Alabama Shakes – ‘Sound & Color’ (Rough Trade)

by Ed Biggs With their 2012 debut Boys & Girls, Alabama Shakes pushed their way to the front of the most recent retro-rock revival, alongside the likes of The Black Keys. Using authentic American soul and rock influences, from Curtis Mayfield, Otis Redding and recordings from the Muscle Shoals studio (located in the state which gives them their name), it was a fun, stripped-down experience. At the time, some pointed

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REVIEW: Villagers – ‘Darling Arithmetic’ (Domino)

by Matthew Langham Literate Irish folksters Villagers return with their third album, their first since 2013’s Mercury nominated {Awayland}. Primarily crafted near Dublin, this is Conor O’Brien’s most intimate and revealing record to date, and probably his most accessible. Although it deals with heartache, its all-encompassing sense of melancholia is strangely uplifting and cathartic, achieved through O’Brien’s ability to pull off some tremendous literary references. This is much more of

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REVIEW: Wire – ‘Wire’ (Pinkflag)

by Matthew Langham It is rare for a band with a forty year history to sound contemporary, but with a back catalogue of over a dozen records, Wire’s self-titled album fits in nicely with their forward-thinking oeuvre. Two years on from Change Becomes Us, they still maintain their edge with an intriguing experimentation in motorik-driven electronica. The quartet have taken the post-punk riffs and engrained them into sophisticated guitar pop,

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