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Staff album reviews

Good or bad, here's what we think of the last month's crop of new releases. Prefer to read what actual paying customers think instead? Take a look »

Please note: All views expressed are those of individual staff and not Norman Records as a whole!

Various - The Sun Is Setting on the World

Album review: Various - The Sun Is Setting on the World

from Daoud

Just looking at the track titles on this thing you’d be excused if you thought this was the emo’st emo record that ever emo’d. Just look at them, ‘What Is My Blame World’, ‘I Ached in My Heart’, ‘When I Die’. I don’t know what was going in ...

  • Published: Thursday 16th January 2020

MONO & A.A. Williams - Exit In Darkness

Album review: MONO & A.A. Williams - Exit In Darkness

from Daoud

What does it mean when one of the most storied instrumental bands of this millenia decide to link up with a vocalist for a couple tracks? Ask MONO. Twenty years of heart-felt instrumental post-rock ballads and now this, ‘Exit In Darkness’ a 2 track EP made with singer-songwriter A. A. Wi...

  • Published: Thursday 16th January 2020

Bill Fay - Countless Branches

Album review: Bill Fay - Countless Branches

from Daoud

There’s a reason piano and violin is such a well worn combination. It’s because it makes me cry every time I hear it. It worked for Beethoven and boy does it work for Bill Fay. Both instruments are tender and warm, they’re wonderful at communicating the more tender emotions. As is,...

  • Published: Thursday 16th January 2020

Holy Fuck - Deleter

Album review: Holy Fuck - Deleter

from Daoud

As the resident ‘Hot Chip Liker’ it was always going to be me who reviewed Holy Fuck’s fifth album, ‘Deleter’. It’s unlikely that anyone else in our 60s Brutalist Concrete Tower Block™ would have even got passed the Alexis Taylor featuring opener ‘Luxe...

  • Published: Thursday 16th January 2020

offthesky & Bill Seaman - Layers of Memory

Album review: offthesky & Bill Seaman - Layers of Memory

from Daoud

So the label’s called Fluid Audio you say? It’s rare that a label’s name uses the exact words you’d use to describe an album, but stranger things have happened. ‘Layers of Memory’ is a remarkable album, 42 minutes of music turned liquid. Of strings mixing with woo...

  • Published: Thursday 16th January 2020

Keeley Forsyth - Debris

Album review: Keeley Forsyth - Debris

from Daoud

‘Debris’ by Keeley Forsyth is the hot new album everyone is comparing to Scott Walker’s solo stuff. And like, it’s not a bad comparison. She does share his willingness to play with her voice, using her full range and a lot of vibrato. But I think there is a better comparison,...

  • Published: Wednesday 15th January 2020

Kate Carr - Heatwave

Album review: Kate Carr - Heatwave

from Daoud

Think heatwaves are fun do you? Huh? Huh? Well, they are a bit fun. But I guess sometimes things can be fun and also a sign of impending doom. Kate Carr certainly agrees, as her latest tape ‘Heatwave’ is not interested in being the sound of the summer.  Rather, it is the sound of a...

  • Published: Wednesday 15th January 2020

MSYLMA - Dhil-un Taht Shajarat Al-Zaqum

Album review: MSYLMA - Dhil-un Taht Shajarat Al-Zaqum

from Daoud

As much as we like to think of music as a universal language, the fact that even a relatively adventurous shop like ours doesn’t stock much contemporary music sung in languages other than English suggests that universality has its limits. Sure we might get a sense of an artist’s intentio...

  • Published: Wednesday 15th January 2020

Chromatics - Closer To Grey

Album review: Chromatics - Closer To Grey

from Daoud

I was taken aback to see that this was Chromatics' first album since ‘Kill for Love’ because, between Johnny Jewel’s solo work and the always busy Italians Do It Better label, I assumed they must have released another album by now. But I was wrong, and I will have to live with the ...

  • Published: Thursday 9th January 2020

Hannah Diamond - Reflections

Album review: Hannah Diamond - Reflections

from Daoud

5 long years ago a friend introduced me to the PC Music stable and I was hooked, Hannah Diamond’s ‘Every Night’ was one of a series of rave revivalist pop bangers that, along with Danny L Harle’s ‘Broken Flowers’ and A.G. Cook’s ‘Beautiful’ made ...

  • Published: Wednesday 8th January 2020

Coil - Stolen & Contaminated Songs

Album review: Coil - Stolen & Contaminated Songs

from Daoud

There’s no arguing that Coil weren’t prolific. Not when 1992's ‘Stolen & Contaminated Songs’ was just the off-cuts from the previous year's ‘Love’s Secret Domain’. I would love to produce enough music that I can have over an hour’s worth of off cut...

  • Published: Wednesday 8th January 2020

The Home Current - An Evening With The Home Current

Album review: The Home Current - An Evening With The Home Current

from Fred MG

It’s quite a bold move, presenting your new work as a purchasable mix. While jockeying tunes is part and parcel of the club experience, asking people to buy pre-blended tracks can cause consternation. It’s probably something to do with the fact that people generally expect to put money d...

  • Published: Friday 20th December 2019

OOIOO - Nijimusi

Album review: OOIOO - Nijimusi

from Thomas

I’m sure OOIOO never thought they’d be making music as good as this in 2019 when they first ‘formed’ in 1996. The mischievous Boredoms drummer Yoshimi P-We was invited to a photoshoot for a music publication but opted to bring a bunch of friends under the guise of showcasing ...

  • Published: Wednesday 15th January 2020

Kali Malone - The Sacrificial Code

Album review: Kali Malone - The Sacrificial Code

from Will

'The Sacrificial Code' by Kali Malone is hard to write about. It lacks a frame of reference, a coordinate system, markers, hangers, or pegs. To frame it within a genre, even one so accomodating as 'experimental', is to somehow lessen it. I almost stopped writing about the album because I wasn't sure...

  • Published: Thursday 9th January 2020

Oval - Scis

Album review: Oval - Scis

from Will

There's a painting by the Bauhaus artist Paul Klee called 'Highways and Byways' that I like very much. It consists of hundreds of spindly lines intersecting and crossing to form a bewildering array of rectangles, trapeziums, and parallelograms. Although the medium, paint on canvas, is organic, the e...

  • Published: Thursday 9th January 2020

Georgia - Seeking Thrills

Album review: Georgia - Seeking Thrills

from Will

Georgia has released her second album 'Seeking Thrills'. It's a bold sophomore effort from the North London producer.  There are a few bangers on Georgia's second album, such as 'Feel It', 'Ray Guns', and 'Honey Dripping Sky'. They're all superb cuts taking the best elements of modern pop like...

  • Published: Thursday 9th January 2020

Caroline Polachek - Pang

Album review: Caroline Polachek - Pang

from Will

It's time for some pop! Caroline Polachek's debut record 'Pang' has all the anthemic alt-pop qualities of Charlie XCX, SebastiAn, and Marina. I like this new breed of pop music because it's as likely to segue into a brutal, skittering, PC Music-style breakdown as it is a banging chorus. The whole th...

  • Published: Thursday 9th January 2020

And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - X: The Godless Void and Other Stories

Album review: And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - X: The Godless Void and Other Stories

from Will

And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead (hereafter referred to as T.o.D) have a new album out called 'X: The Godless Void and Other Stories' (hereafter referred to as 'X'). 'X' has the feel of a classic Americana/alt-rock record. It's energetic and, at times, raw and uncompromising. I'm reminded o...

  • Published: Thursday 9th January 2020

Algiers - There Is No Year

Album review: Algiers - There Is No Year

from Will

Christopher Isherwood's novel 'Goodbye to Berlin' is set in early 1930s Germany. Although it mostly comprises light-hearted vignettes, Isherwood includes a tangible sense that something huge, unstoppable, and evil is about to happen (because it was). Perhaps this is an exaggerated, even ill-matched,...

  • Published: Thursday 9th January 2020

Pale Saints - The Comforts Of Madness

Album review: Pale Saints - The Comforts Of Madness

from Will

The early 90s saw a glut of superb debut albums by groups with washy guitars, indecipherable lyrics, and fringes down to their chins. There was Slowdive's 'Souvlaki', Lush's 'Spooky', and, of course, Pale Saints' 'The Comforts of Madness'. Seeing as shoegaze is now a blanket term for anything with !...

  • Published: Thursday 9th January 2020

Craven Faults - Erratics & Unconformities

Album review: Craven Faults - Erratics & Unconformities

from Will

Beginning a debut LP with a 17 minute synth arpeggio jam is not normal. However, beginning a debut LP with a 17 minute synth arpeggio jam is what Craven Faults has done. 'Erratics and Unconformities' is the first long-player from the West Yorkshire producer, who occupies that sweet spot between somb...

  • Published: Tuesday 7th January 2020