Komputband – Jakey Bay Demo

Sounding like a young Massa Confusa, the nice thing about Jakey Bay demo is the way that it ties together a layered electronic soundscape and matches it with more ‘traditional’ styles of singing.  Leaving an almost Baleric, hands-in-the-air, euphoric dance track the interesting counterpoint of Jakey Bay is the moment its ‘lo-fi’ vocals drop into the mix.  Matching escapism with urbanism, Jakey Bay creates an interesting electronic style that wouldn’t sound out of place on an early release by electronic pioneering record label Mo’Wax or on an ealry Lo-Fidelity All Stars record.

The Primitive Lounge – Subway

Just as Paul Weller’s recent album ‘On Sunset’, for once, sees the Modfather reference his Style Council past; there must be something in the air when it comes to hazy, relaxed, pop focused on  blissful guitar parts and searching soul vocals.  Subway, for various reasons therefore, sounds like the Modfather sounding like his early Style Council (and therefore sounding like it’s right on the Zeitgeist)  – it’s nicely composed, multi-instrumental and lyrically optimistic – yet somehow manages to tie that all together into a piece that never feels overly complex.  In a way it’s a shame that the dark nights are creeping in as Subway could well be the perfect soundtrack to lazy, warm, (long hot) summer days.  One for Style Council fans and those of us who wish summer was still here.

Peter Dyers – I’m Amazed By You

Full of downbeat drum patterns, and back of the throat soul deliveries, the new one from Peter Dyers sounds like it’s straight off a turn of the century piece by Massive Attack.  Filled out with nice moments of jazz-funk shuffles, I’m Amazed takes repetitive electronic patterns, builds them up nicely over the duration of the track, and drops them into a soul-centred world.  Not a million miles away from some of the early, dark, work by Lulu James, I’m Amazed is both a really well thought-through record and a slice of modern soul.

Rainbow Road – Fortune Forest

Taking a mindful walk through a Rainforest, complete with the gentle sounds of insects in their natural environment, there’s something about Fortune Forest which is very similar to the early work of 808 state and their ‘404’ era Balearic pieces.  Creating both interesting, ambient, electronic soundscapes and matching them with local flavours and sounds, the wonder of Fortune Forest is that it transports you to a different place – a place you’ve probably never been to but recognise immediately.  If you donned an Oculus Quest, and it was showing images of Cambodia and being soundtracked by Fotune Forest, you may well feel as though you were actually in a different environment.  Beautifully constructed, Fortune Forest is a piece of considerable intent.

Michael and All Angels – I am an island

Opening with a guitar intro which comes straight from the world inhabited by the Manic Street Preachers ‘Motorcycle emptiness’ phase, and being completed by layered, slightly strange, vocals sounding like mid 90s Super Furry Animals, there’s something very ‘welsh’ about the core structure of I am an Island.  And that’s ‘welsh’ as in mid-90s, incredibly constructed, ambitious ‘pop’.  Taking a serious narrative about loneliness and isolation, and mixing it with a multi-instrumental, very ‘up’ sound, I am an Island is a great piece of pop which doesn’t look for the easy answers of the easy ways out.