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MUSIC Album reviews with Ian Sinclair: October 9, 2020

Latest releases from This Is The Kit, The Replacements and Landowner

This Is The Kit
Off Off On
(Rough Trade)
★★★★

THE FIFTH album from Kate Stables’s alt-folk outfit This Is The Kit was largely recorded at Real World Studios in Wiltshire just before lockdown began.

Produced by Josh Kaufman (Bonny Light Horseman), the set is full of the kind of life-affirming English pastoral philosophiSing that I associate with Nick Drake’s best work. The jittery single This Is What You Did is, apparently, “a bit of a panic attack song,” while the ghost of left-wing feminist sci-fi author Ursula K Le Guin haunts Was Magician and Carry Us Please.

Like This Is The Kit’s previous work, the wonderful music has a regenerative hypnotism to it. This shouldn’t be surprising when the band includes Rozi Plain, a brilliant singer-songwriter in her own right.

It’s time we started proclaiming Stables as one of the most talented British songwriters and performers working today.

The Replacements
Pleased To Meet Me
(Rhino)
★★★★★

1987’s Pleased To Meet Me is the final instalment of the legendary trio of albums, starting with Let It Be in 1984, which made Minneapolis indie-rock hell-raisers The Replacements critics’ favourites, if not big unit shifters.

This deluxe reissue — three CDs, one LP and an oral history of the recording sessions — includes a remastered version of the original album, along with tons of rarities and out-takes.

Single Alex Chilton and the desperate Can’t Hardly Wait are perfect pop anthems, while the unrequited love of acoustic ballad Skyway confirms frontman Paul Westerberg as the most sensitive songwriter of his milieu.

The unreleased material is very exciting, full of gems like the regretful Run For The Country and Birthday Gal, which prove some of the band’s best songs never made it onto their official releases.

A monumental, glorious mess.

Landowner
Consultant
(Born Yesterday Records)
★★★★

THE SECOND album from Massachusetts five-piece Landowner is a brilliant blast of hardcore-adjacent post-punk.

A real shock to the system, the music is a jarring and brutal attack on the ears. But there is method in the anxiety-creating madness, with the clearly talented rhythm section creating catchy hooks and almost danceable grooves.

Best of all are the vocals of frontman Dan Shaw, who sounds like the child of Dead Kennedy’s Jello Biafra. Accordingly, almost every word out of his mouth is laced with sarcasm. Even the sampled US corporate voice saying “I’m a consultant” that kicks off opener Victims of Redlining sounds like a complete piss-take.

The unrelenting This Could Mean Something is a particular highlight, with Shaw’s refrain of “You are looking for a sense of purpose” sounding almost, er, caring.

A taut and volatile set.

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