Albums: New music from Maggie Rogers, Jamie T, Amanda Shires and Of Montreal

MAGGIE ROGERS – WITHDRAWAL

MAGGIE Rogers is back with a second album, although you’ve probably never heard of her. With this new release, the Grammy-nominated, Maryland-born singer-songwriter is gaining more and more mainstream attention – and fully deserves it.

Singles That’s Where I Am and Want Want are the stars of the record, delivering pounding drums and rough distortion.

Horses is a beautiful song with an emotional vocal delivered over a simple drum beat.

Be Cool commands attention with its synth openness and Shatter instantly seizes with its immediate distortion and consistent energy throughout, courtesy of the electric guitar.

Rogers scores a hat-trick with her latest work – she’s a powerful vocalist, lyricist and multi-instrumentalist.

Sometimes his voice dominates the production, but with such a wide range of instruments, Surrender offers great variety and exhibits raw talent.

RATING: 3/5

JAMIE T – THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING

JAMIE T doesn’t like the limelight. The wait for a new album from the Wimbledon-raised troubadour can be years – in this case six. But on The Theory Of Whatever, the mists lifted with him delivering some of his most beautiful, uplifting and sometimes hilarious music in years.

Although lumped in with the indie crowd, it still retained its own identity, mixing indie and half-spoken rap long before it became a pop trope.

Tracks such as The Old Style Raiders anthem capture a new sense of hope, while Keying Lamborghinis is the opposite and one of the darkest songs he has written.

This is Jamie T’s final album under a record deal he signed as a teenager, and as he reaches another milestone, let’s hope we don’t have to wait if long for the next one.

RATING: 4/5

AMANDA SHIRES – TAKE IT LIKE A MAN

“YOU can call me serious trouble,” sings Amanda Shires on the opener to Hawk For The Dove, and the Nashville veteran’s eighth studio album certainly delivers following his fierce and public arguments against the repeal of Roe v Wade.

The title track and second single are another early climax, an already powerful ballad lifted by dramatic chords, but Bad Behavior, which stands out in the middle of the album, takes the honors, from the seductive opener “oh- oh-ohs” to the teasing “Maybe I like foreigners” Chorus.

Guitar work from Shires’ husband Jason Isbell and guest vocals from his Highwomen collaborators Maren Morris and Natalie Hemby – as well as Brittney Spencer – round out Shires’ central performance perfectly.

Finishing with the jazzy Lonely At Night and the beautiful, melancholic Everything Has Its Time – the latter showcasing Shires’ vocals at their best – it’s a strong album worth building on the momentum of My Piece Of Land of 2016 and follow- until sunset.

RATING: 3/5

FROM MONTREAL – FREEWAVE LUCIFER F^CK FCK^ckf>

PREPARE to get tangled up with one of the most adventurous and puzzling albums of the year. From the use of symbols in the album title, songs resembling cryptic crosswords and esoteric lyrics, it’s unlike anything else. Each of the seven tracks is a dizzying whirlwind of styles, tonal changes, instrumentation and mood, with nods to synthpop a la Sgt Pepper, MGMT and Gary Numan of the Beatles.

Marijuana’s opening track A Working Woman starts out as mutant funk, interspersed with quieter interludes accompanied by random vocal sounds, and yet it’s probably the most conventional track.

Blab Sabbath’s title Lathe Of Maiden seems to refer to British metal giants Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden, but there’s no guitar riff or drum solo in sight. Ofrenda-Flanger-Ego A Gogo is soft synths, while the last track Hmmm is underpinned by some weird 1980s-style funk.

Although the album is difficult at first, the more you play it, the more meaning it makes.

RATING: 3/5