Paramore: After Laughter
Hunter and the Bear: Paper Heart
Paul Weller: A Kind Revolution
COMING under the microscope are three albums which could all be loosely described as rock, but all very different and provoking varying responses.
I hesitate to say 28-year-old Hayley Williams, fronting Paramore these past 14 years, is getting on a bit to be the voice of disaffected youth, but if that's what you're known for, I suppose its forgivable.
What’s less acceptable is how forgettable most of the fare served up on After Laughter is.
Towering riffs and infectious beats are in short supply, I’m disappointed to report.
Lead single Hard Times is the standout, ticking both above boxes, and Rose Coloured Boy and Fake Happy aren’t half bad, but too much of the rest is just OK at best.
It’s all very well having the attitude but you’ve got to have the tunes too, or your album just comes over as a long whinge.
Somewhat more satisfying is Hunter and the Bear’s latest.
Their sound is pretty reminiscent of Nickleback although the band they most remind me of is long-departed Scot rockers Gun (remember them).
Heavy riffs and singalong choruses abound, and there are a couple of decent ideas in the lyrics.
Probably the best track is Hologram, which I’d happily playlist, while I defy anyone to listen to the thumping Renegade and not lapse into playing air guitar (check out the brilliant fan-sourced video for more head-shaking fun).
Singer Will Irvine — nicknamed The Bear — has a satisfyingly grizzly voice, while bandmates Jimmy Hunter, Gareth Thompson and Chris Clark provide a ballads and rock anthem backing as required.
Paper Heart doesn’t take too many risks but should get your head bobbing, your fingers drumming and your voice humming along in the car before letting rip during the choruses.
Well placed to show them all how it’s done is the living legend that is Paul Weller.
A Kind Revolution is long on energy, positivity and indie-rock welly and short on filler.
From the throbbing basslines rolling out from track one onwards to the unmistakable Weller growl, this is all you expect from the Modfather.
Opener Woo See Mama and the catchy Nova kick things off strongly, Long Long Road brings the first ballad and we’re back in comfortable territory.
Interest dips a little in the mid-section, but the funkier New York and laid-back Hopper stoke things up again.
I may not stretch to the 29-track super deluxe version of the album, but I suspect A Kind Revolution will be competing strongly for car CD player outings for some time