Album Reviews: Original and best

The Go! Team

Rolling Blackouts


In 2004, The Go! Team's full-length debut Thunder, Lightning, Strike blazed a trail with its sometimes-copied, never-bettered brand of relentless upbeat noise-pop. This is a style Sleigh Bells awarded a typically sleek Brooklyn makeover last year. The original remains the best, though, and here arranger Ian Parton's muse is in wonderfully frazzled, splenetic form. The trademark furious horns, cut and paste samples and fist-pumping snatches of melody are all present and correct on standouts T.O.R.N.A.D.O and Apollo Throwdown, while vocalist Ninja enforces the good-time vibe with an enjoyably militant delivery.

Teddy Thompson



Having a famous musical lineage is no automatic guarantee of success – you need talent too. Fortunately Teddy Thompson (son of British folk legends Richard and Linda Thompson) has plenty of it. Teddy is a star in his own right and quite rightly too. Thompson Jnr has been recording for more than a decade now and as well as a critically acclaimed solo career, he has also contributed to recordings by Rufus Wainwright (son of Loudon Wainwright III and another who has stepped out of the shadow of a famous parent). Opener Looking For A Girl is a belter with Take Me Back another highlight, but there is not a duffer to be found on the remaining nine tracks.

Chapel Club



Dalston rockers Chapel Club have been on the radar for a while, but two name changes and a copyright wrangle later and Palace is finally with us. Hotly tipped by Zane Lowe and with an appearance on Later with Jools Holland already under their belts, the hype surrounding the band is justified on their debut release. Chapel Club's sound bears an uncanny resemblance to White Lies, even down to Lewis Bowman's dulcet tones, with the similarity highlighted in After The Flood and current single Surfacing – the track which caused problems due to the use of lyrics from Dream A Little Dream Of Me. Five Trees and All The Eastern Girls are highlights on an album that was worth the wait.

Esben and the Witch

Violet Cries


With the ethereal feel of the woodland artwork, fairytale-inspired name and sombre yet soaring vocals, listening to Esben and the Witch is like being trapped in a darkly delicious fairytale. The Brighton trio had already received critical acclaim before the release of this, their debut album, with a Q Award nomination and an inclusion in the BBC's Sound of 2011 list. Their gothic, sweeping sound is somewhat familiar yet completely of the moment – kind of indie, kind of electronic but with a jagged edge. Rachel Davies will no doubt be compared to Florence Welch for the quality of her voice, but hers is more a loud, swooping sigh than a shout. This is serious, unique music in every way.

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