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New Releases from One Republic, Travis, and Marc Almond

New Releases from One Republic, Travis, and Marc Almond

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– Cigarettes After Sex – “X’s”

The band’s third album packs 10 hushed, hazy songs of love, loss, and – yes – sex made for late-night headphone moments.

Addressing a four-year relationship which ended shortly before the album’s recording, frontman Greg Gonzalez brings both the euphoria and the heartbreak vividly to life through his unflinching lyrics and seductive, androgynous vocals.

Whether troubled like “Dark Vacay” and “Ambien Slide” or dreamy like “Silver Sable,” “Hideaway,” or “Dreams From Bunker Hill,” each track provides a window into Gonzalez’s soul.

“Dreams From Bunker Hill” is actually a lament to the lost love in question and “when everything was beautiful with us,” while “Hot” truly brings the different strands together: “I keep getting scared that I’ll always be lost forever / But I don’t give a s***, if I’m too delicate, when you hold me it’s always better.”

The band are already a TikTok phenomenon with an established worldwide following, and “X’s” shapes up to further cement their appeal.

Score: 9/10

– Marc Almond – “I’m Not Anyone”

Marc Almond’s latest solo release, “I’m Not Anyone,” brings a collection of 11 covers of classic songs, made thoughtful and charismatic without straying far from the original renditions.

The record is gentle and uplifting, using choral sounds on tracks like “I’m The Light” and “I Talk to The Wind” to form an otherworldly, dreamy collective of interpretations from artists like Don McLean, King Crimson, Paul Anka, Colin Blunstone, and Mahalia Jackson.

Almond brings a new light to these classics, fitting with the summer’s weary weather with emotion woven through the calming mix.

Strong instrumentals and passionate vocals come together in reflective, poignant tracks like “Smokey Day.”

“Look to Your Soul” is a standout track, showcasing Almond’s distinct and soulful voice.

The Soft Cell singer reimagines songs, presenting them in an easy-to-consume format while retaining their essential elements, allowing the listener to find their own meaning and emotion throughout each song.

Marc Almond shines on his new album, where his standout vocals refresh and rekindle the meaning in old songs.

Score: 8/10

– OneRepublic – “Artificial Paradise”

OneRepublic’s sixth studio album, “Artificial Paradise,” brings a selection of catchy anthems to the music scene this summer.

The album’s titular track opens with dreamy synthetic sounds, before jumping into a selection of lively, light, and summery tracks.

“Hurt” uses acoustic guitars to create this vibe, sounding like it belongs in a coming-of-age film.

Among the new releases, “Sink or Swim” and “Room For You” are standout tracks; catchy, bright, and youthful.

The album’s 18 tracks fly by, adding a light-hearted touch to OneRepublic’s typically heavier-sounding discography.

“Entr’acte” and “Singapore” are instrumental records, using classical sounds to break up the album with orchestral violins, bass, and cellos.

Radio hit “I Ain’t Worried” nods to the album’s lengthy production – over a year and a half in the making, and worth the wait.

“West Coast,” the second single of the album, is led by a strong bassline, catchy guitar riffs, and compelling, smooth vocals that make the song especially easy to enjoy.

The American alternative-rock band has created a musically progressive blend that is easy-listening, with enough tracks for anyone to find at least one song they’ll enjoy.

Score: 7/10

– Travis – “L.A. Times”

Travis’ 10th studio album, “LA Times,” impresses with a solid mix of upbeat and slower-paced tracks detailing life in New York and the busy Californian city where frontman Fran Healy resides.

While the songs are sonically diverse, they all contain catchy choruses – a formulaic approach for singer-songwriter Healy.

Some singles, including “Raze The Bar” and “Home,” are reminiscent of Travis’ earlier hits, but the subject matter remains contemporary.

The most groundbreaking song is the album’s title track, where Healy raps about the vast wealth inequality in Los Angeles: “I look around and all I see is pain and suffering. Reflected on the 50 facets of a diamond ring.”

Healy briefly mentions cryptocurrency and anti-vaxxers in “LA Times,” also exploring the concept of “gaslighting” in another single.

The new album, which Healy describes as the band’s “most personal album since The Man Who,” is likely to appeal to a wide range of listeners. One track even features backing vocals from Coldplay’s Chris Martin and The Killers’ Brandon Flowers.

Score: 9/10

Source: Various