Callum’s Pick of the Albums: August 2022

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As a month of music that has included Beyonce, black midi and Jamie T ends, another is fast approaching! Here is your guide to just some of the most anticipated, exciting, or simply interesting LPs that are set to hit record stores and streaming services across the next month.

Calvin Harris – Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2 (August 5th via Sony Music)

Since its release in Summer 2017, fans have consistently demanded a follow-up to Calvin Harris‘ sun-drenched first ‘Funk Wav’ volume to no avail. Harris consistently denied that it would ever happen, only to backtrack earlier this year. With the merely modest commercial and critical success of lead single Potion (featuring Dua Lipa and the controversial Young Thug), fans on social media have been concerned that this will be able to live up to its 2017 precursor. However, with certified funk-pop tune Stay With Me currently riding the airwaves, and exciting features from Busta Rhymes, Charlie Puth and Jorja Smith, I’m confident that Harris will capture that perfect end-of-summer feeling once more.


Kasabian – The Alchemist’s Euphoria
(August 12th via Sony Music)

It’s certainly been a turbulent few years for the Leicester indie rockers Kasabian. Since former frontman Tom Meighan was kicked out the band after his arrest for domestic abuse, lead guitarist (but main songwriter) Sergio “Serge” Pizzorno has taken up lead vocal abilities, breathing new life into a band that were admittedly becoming a little tired. Their recent live shows have been electric, with Pizzorno taking his new role like a duck to water. Of course, that matters little if the material is not there to back it up. Lead single ALYGATYR arrived last winter presenting a new direction clearly inspired by Serge’s foray into solo music with The S.L.P. in 2019. For my money, I am once again finding it so easy to get anticipated for their new music. While fans craving a more indie-rock affair are still provided that with current single CHEMICALS, the outstanding hip-hop-influenced SCRIPTVRE make the band’s seventh album a must-listen for any rock fan next month.


Pale Waves – Unwanted
(August 12th via Dirty Hit)

Manchester four-peice Pale Waves have a clear two sides to their career. They made their name with goth-tinged synth-pop with the early EP ALL THE THINGS I NEVER SAID and debut album My Mind Makes Noises in 2018. While it made their name in the UK indie scene, the consistent criticism of them being uninspired copies of labelmates The 1975 is admittedly hard to ignore. With their second album Who Am I? last year, the four-piece focused on a new early 2000s pop-punk sound, arguably even less inspired amongst the multitude of Travis Barker-like acts hitting the big time that year, but it established them as a band that aren’t afraid to make their influences obvious; and they pay tribute to those influences pretty damn well. The singles from third album Unwanted appear to follow Who Am I?‘s lead closely, but crucially perfect that formula through a mix of catchy hooks and lush pop production. Lies is a bold lead single that features quite an unusual layout of not really having much of a chorus, meanwhile, follow-up Reasons To Live is destined to be appreciated in the future as much as any nostalgic Avril Lavigne track, and that is most certainly a compliment.

 

Aitch – Close To Home (August 19th via Infinitum Music/Universal)

Aitch has always been somewhat of an anomaly amongst his UK rap peers: he does not have an accent from the south, nor has he really delved into the TikTok-baiting, catchphrase-fuelled gimmicks that have fueled recent UK rap hits (looking at you, Central Cee…). While a case could be made that his debut album’s by far biggest hit Baby does just that by sampling Ashanti’s 2003 hit Rock with U (Awww Baby), other cuts from the album present a more experimental nature in comparison to his previous efforts. The Stone Roses-sampling 1989 is a breath of fresh air amongst the repetitive drill beats that dominate the UK rap market currently, while In Disguise employs the indie-rock-hip-hop hybrid artist Bakar to deliver an experimental rush of Wireless-meets-Truck Festival glory that shows to expect the unexpected from this unashamedly Manc star.

 

Demi Lovato – HOLY FVCK (August 19th via Island Records)

In recent years Demi Lovato has been somewhat of a punching bag for internet trolls. From her admittedly amusing dealings with ‘aliens’ to uneasy news regarding her battles of addiction, she has never strayed far from the headliners. Following on from last year’s Dancing with the Devil… the Art of Starting OverHOLY FVCK sees her return to the pop-rock fusion that began her post-Disney Channel career in the early 2010’s. Lead single SKIN OF MY TEETH sees Lovato address her time in rehab face-on, showing her as someone who is simply never going to give up despite her hardships, a theme that appears again in second single SUBSTANCE. This rock sounds compliments Lovato’s ever-powerful vocals perfectly, and with her live band featuring guitar extraordinaire Nita Strauss, HOLY FVCK could well be one of the defining albums of the recent pop-punk revival.

 

Panic! at the Disco – Viva Las Vengeance (August 19th via Fueled By Ramen)

Now a solo project of only remaining member Brendon Urie, Panic! at the Disco‘s return to fame in 2018 with Pray For the Wicked was quite something to behold. It’s not often that a band has their biggest hit 13 years after their US chart debut, but exactly that happened with the future iconic hit High Hopes. Therefore perhaps it makes sense that it took him 4 years to create the follow-up Viva Las Vengeance. Tapping once more into themes of the high-life of Vegas that has comprised much of their lyrical matter over the last decade, the title-track lead single is a near-perfect combination of Broadway and rock that many fans thought Pray For the Wicked was lacking. With edgy sex-infused second single Middle of a Breakup proving that Urie hasn’t allowed mainstream success to shape his music, a sigh of relief can be had as he won’t just be Maroon 5 2.0 anytime soon.

Sports Team – GULP! (August 26th via Island Records)

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic proving to be an obstacle for their raucous live shows, 2020 saw Cambridge indie rockers Sports Team‘s fast rise to fame. Their Mercury Prize-nominated debut album Deep Down Happy was a breath of fresh air amongst the fantastic yet depressing post-punk wave, with topics from fishing on the River Thames to “mid-noughties MTV star” Ashton Kutcher being covered. So far singles from follow-up record GULP! do appear to be more of the same, with raucous riffs combining with frontman Alex Rice’s uniquely strange vocals to create an indie-rock rush sure to fill up the venues on their surprisingly large upcoming UK tour. What separates Sports Team from their contemporaries is their focus on social commentary alongside the more mundane topics of the M5, and GULP! is proving to be no different. The Game balances disheartening lyrics on the monotonous lives most of us are destined to live alongside an 80s game-show-like chorus that allows for a beautiful confusion that reflects the British people’s lack of care on this issue; “life’s hard but I can’t complain”. Meanwhile, upcoming single The Drop has been teased for some time on social media, promising the exciting inclusion of brass instruments alongside the six-piece’s usual guitar-based sound.

Muse – Will Of The People (August 26th via Warner Music)

So far, the contrast between the singles released for Muse‘s upcoming ninth studio album Will Of The People and its 2018 predecessor Simulation Theory have been quite interesting. Gone are the synths and electronic drums, and back in are crunchy guitar riffs and death growls that gave lead single Won’t Stand Down the band’s highest charting single in the UK for seven years. Lyrically, it doesn’t appear to be new fair for Muse, once again retreading anti-government and ‘rising up’ sentiments that have been at the forefront of their music since 2003’s Absolution. The Marilyn Manson’s Beautiful People-esque title track is fabulously catchy, demonstrating that the band haven’t lost their campness amongst their new love of metalcore breakdowns, which leaves Compliance as somewhat of an exciting yet surprising 80s-pop-filled outlier. Current single Kill or Be Killed was much hyped following various live performances and delivered following its release this month, delivering a heavier side to the three-piece that proves that even two decades into their career, Muse are still not afraid to push their sound in bold directions.

The best of the rest:

  • Fireboy DML – Playboy (5th)
  • The Interrupters – In The Wild (5th)
  • Lauv – All 4 Nothing (5th)
  • Alicia Keys – Keys II (12th)
  • Danger Mouse & Black Thought – Cheat Codes (12th)
  • Goo Goo Dolls – Chaos in Bloom (12th)
  • Five Finger Death Punch – Afterlife (19th)
  • Hot Chip – Freakout/Release (19th)
  • Lauren Hibbard – Garageband Superstar (19th)
  • blackbear – in loving memory (26th)
  • Ezra Furman – All Of Us Flames (26th)
  • TWICE – BETWEEN 1&2 (26th)
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