Review: best albums of May 2017

Written by: Paul Horsman

May 2017 Montage

We’ve filtered the best music releases in May so you don’t have to. Highlights from our favourite ten albums can be heard here: The Void – May 2017 Highlights

Not got spotify? Then be sure to check out these top three…

Gorillaz – Humanz

Gorillaz-HumanzIt’s unlikely the hyped up return of Damon Alban’s side project would have escaped your attention four weeks back. But in case you haven’t listened to it yet, Humanz is a party album with the hippest guest list in town.

Vince Staples kicks off the festivities with Ascension, before passing the keg around to various eager invitees including De La Soul, Kelela, Mavis Staples, Benjamin Clementine and, if we’re ignoring the lengthy deluxe version (which we of course are), concludes thrillingly with Jehnny Beth on We Got The Power.

As with every decent party, there’s always one guest slightly cooler than the rest. Here it’s Grace Jones, briefly gracing us with her presence on the aptly named Charger. ‘I am the ghost, I am the storm’ she announces on her arrival. Despite then promising to ‘take you for a ride’ she swiftly swoops off from all the chaos created. It’s a somewhat fleeting appearance, yet attention grabbing enough to remind us that – now on the cusp of 70 – she still totally rocks.

Jane Weaver – Modern Kosmology

janeweaver-ModernKosmologyAlthough not a household name, Jane Weaver has been on the music scene for over 20-odd years now, both as a band member (Kill Laura, Misty Dixon) and as an Avant-garde soloist. Her output has been pretty impressive so far, yet it’s fair to say she’s made ripples rather than waves.

Now could be the time to start paying attention though. Modern Kosmology is her most accessible album to date, with Weaver coming across as a lovechild of the flower power generation in cyberspace. The role strangely suits her, and this brand of psychedelic folktronica compliments her gift for melody.

Opening track H>A>K sets the cosmic scene in about three-and-a-half minutes, before woozy keyboards, guitar riffs, synth pulses and achingly hip musical references pepper the following nine tracks. If we had to pick out highlights then Slow Motion, The Architect and I Wish would be among them. However, Modern Kosmology is best enjoyed as one coherent piece of work.

Perfume Garden – No Shape

PerfumeGeniusEvery now and then, it’s good to treat the ears to a little theatrical drama. And there’s plenty of it on No Shape, the fourth album by Mike Hadreas, aka Perfume Genius. Whether it’s slow burners that sporadically burst into life (Otherside) or soulful falsettos disguising dark lyrics about sensual strangling (Die 4 You), this enchanting album releases spells that creep up on you rather than explode in your face.

Just Like Love initially feels uneven, but turns out to be every bit as luscious as its subject matter. The twitchy Go Ahead confidently (and weirdly) comes out of its shell on each listen. And although it’s not apparent what Wreath is addressing at first, it’s delivered with such conviction that it naturally becomes an anthem about self worth.

But don’t be fooled. No Shape is full of eyebrow-raising reminders that its creator is a conflicted character. ‘Choirs threaten in voices I only feel’ Hadreas confesses during the chilling Choir, before trembling ‘what if I promise to keep quiet?’ It’s one of many moments that showcase his ability to both captivate and unsettle.

Listen to more highlights from some of the best albums of 2017…

The Void Playlist – April 2017 Highlights
The Void Playlist – March 2017 Highlights
The Void Playlist – February 2017 Highlights
The Void Playlist – January 2017 Highlights

Author: Paul Horsman

Paul likes writing. And music. It’s unclear whether he likes sharing his suggestions with others or simply likes unleashing an ugly critic within… but we allow him to write about music on The Void.

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