Katy B – Little Red (Rise/Columbia Records; 2014)
Following her 2011 Mercury Prize nominated debut, On A Mission, and last year’s critically-acclaimed Danger EP, Katy B is under a lot of pressure to deliver on her sophomore release. Shedding the dubstep beats of her debut for a more sophisticated and mature production, Little Red is a darker and more personal album. We hear a transformation in Katy B, with deep house EDM beats over her urban-pop R&B vocals, there is sadness and introspection following her on the dancefloor. In an interview with Pitchfork, she admitted: “the new album has a lot of songs that I cry to—songs that run really deep. I’ve gone through a lot of changes in the last couple of years and had a lot of realizations that come through on the album.” Little Red is danceable and catchy, yet offers more under the surface.
Trial Track: “Crying For No Reason”
Broken Bells- After The Disco (Columbia; 2014)
Brian Burton, better known as musical mastermind and producer, Danger Mouse, joins forces with indie vet James Mercer from The Shins, for their second full length album together as Broken Bells. After The Disco combines the lyrical ease of Mercer’s indie background with Burton’s smooth electronic R&B influence. Staying true to its name, the album has a dominating retro feel that permeates through most of the tracks. The title track is a straightforward electro-pop song, with heavy disco-dance grooves. Much like disco music, this song is infectiously catchy and will force you to involuntarily break out in Saturday Night Fever inspired dance moves. While the majority of the album has a heavy pop focus, “Leave It Alone” and “The Changing Lights” standout because of their honest, stripped down nature, allowing for Mercer’s lyrical prowess to shine. After The Disco weaves The Shins-style guitar work with Burton’s electronic melodies for a dynamic sophomore effort.
Trial Track: “Leave It Alone”