Just time to round off this week of second-hand music with some quick reviews.
Joanna Newsom - Ys
I've just been downstairs to apologize to the house's three witchy cats for not having previously appreciated how great Joanna Newson was. The string arrangements and Joanna's Betty Boop voice give it a springy feel which carry you through those loooooong songs.
The cats, enjoying a bit of the old Joanna
As a former astronomy geek, she had me lyrically at the meteorite in chorus of Emily.
Willy Mason - Where The Humans Eat
Willy, you were great at Moseley Folk Festival last month, so if it's alright you I'll remember that instead of this album, which made the cats hungry (s'true) when I played it in the kitchen. It's your first album from seven years ago and I'm sure you get better.Goodness knows I wouldn't want to be judged on what I was like when I was 20.
Human League - Dare vs Heaven 17 - The Luxury Gap
It's interesting that the Human League sound so incredibly cheap with their youth club synths and - much though I love Phil - limited vocal ability. Heaven 17 clearly got custody of the good equipment when they left the League - the Luxury Gap sounds expensive in the way that high-end 80's electronica does - and also recruited a more technically proficient singer.
In spite of the majesty of Temptation, I still reckon that the League's endearing amateurishness (herewith Sound of the Crowd) shades the precision-tooled faux-corporate London-Edinburgh-Sheffield schtick that Heaven 17 peddle.
NB: Glenn Gregory is not to be confused with local Birmingham councillor Len Gregory. This is a common mistake, no doubt based on a desire in the collective subconscious to see more eighties synth-botherers in local politics.