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Sunday, March 3, 2024
The Eagle

Weekly Scene album reviews brew

Keith Urban- Fuse
Country star and “American Idol” judge Keith Urban treads a fine line between traditional country and modern pop on his eighth studio album “Fuse.” The album’s eclectic sound reflects contributions from producers as diverse as pop prince Max Martin, country stalwart Dan Huff and rocker Butch Walker. “Fuse” is somewhat disorganized but largely enjoyable, with Urban particularly excelling on the sentimental songs that bigger country stars like Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan regularly struggle with. In fact, Urban is very much an antidote to the faux-rough aesthetic of the genre’s dominant male stars. As duds like “Love’s Poster Child” and “Good Thing” demonstrate, he’s more believable as a heartthrob than a horndog. Perhaps Urban works best with a foil: duets with Eric Church and Miranda Lambert represent album highlights.
RIYL: Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton – Mark Lieberman

Flatbush Zombies- Better Off Dead
Flatbush Zombie’s second mixtape “Better Off Dead” contains generous odyssey of hazy rhythms; mixing dirty acid beats with ghostly soulful samples. The album works as a showcase of the various lyrical modes both Meechy Darko and Zombie Juice can operate on. Erick Arc Elliott’s tight production looms large on most tracks. Elliott starts with an Ennio Morricone inspired operatic opening before slipping into more somber, relaxed rhythms like “Nephilim” and “G Tears” where Zombie Juice’s semi-falsetto flow matches Meechy Darko’s guttural pugnacious style. The unorthodox approach to song structure in “Better Off Dead” allows for an unpredictable listening experience.
The album descends into more fetid southern inspired flows, and downright gothic subject matters on tracks such as “Death” and “Drug Parade.” Weird, demented, sometimes confounding, “Better Off Dead” is a unique listening experience even if not all the tracks come off as satisfactory.
RIYL: Denzel Curry, Danny Brown, Action Bronson, anything played on late night Adult Swim. – David Kahen-Kashi

Grouplove- Spreading Rumours
Remember “Tongue Tied,” the exuberantly catchy single from Grouplove’s sophomore effort “Never Trust a Happy Song”? There’s a certain something which happens to a lot of bands straight after they’ve propelled into the spotlight like that. They become uneager to stray too far from their pre-existing formula even though they’ve run dry on ideas for catchy hooks and standout melodies. That’s essentially “Spreading Rumours” in a nutshell. Let’s get one thing straight – this is still Grouplove we’re talking about. Sure, it’s a little more psychedelic in parts, maybe a little more hip-hop in others. But in truth, there were only two songs which I found myself still remembering after playing through three or four plays of the album – “Ways to Go” and “Shark Attack.” Conclusion: Chances are you’ll be rocking to “Spreading Rumours” the first time you hear it, but there’s little replay value in an album with only two or three notable songs.
RIYL: Youngblood Hawke, MGMT, The Killers – Alejandro Alvarez

Jack Johnson- From Here To You
Singer-songwriter Jack Johnson’s sixth studio album “From Here To Now To You” returns Johnson back to the bubblier and lighter music from his earlier productions. The first half of the album is primarily upbeat and encouraging. “I Got You” is a cheery, romantic song that references an unanticipated hailstorm during a trip that Johnson and his wife once took. “Washing Dishes,” “Shot Reverse Shot” and “Tape Deck” also have got enough tempo to make anyone want to get up and dance to any lingering warm summer nights.
The second half of the album has a slower, more comforting pace. “Ones and Zeros” has a soothing stream-of-consciousness style, encompassing Johnson’s description of the song to Spotify as a song that “covers quite a few things, or doesn’t cover anything at all.” Other tracks like “As I Was Saying” and “Home” are equally dreamy, with romantic themes in the songs’ lyrics. Ultimately, Johnson crafts a charming, sentimental and easygoing album that will help listeners ease away from the warm embrace of summer into the comforting arms of autumn. – Kara Avanceña

Watch out for the Scene’s Weekly Review Brew every Thursday.

thescene@theeagleonline.com


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