Entertainment » Music

Listen Up!: Fifth Harmony, The Script, Hercules & Love Affair, OMD, Picture This

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Thursday Sep 7, 2017
FIFTH HARMONY releases a self-titled album
FIFTH HARMONY releases a self-titled album  (Source:Artist Facebook)

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, aka OMD, releases their 13th studio album, the 12-track "The Punishment of Luxury." The girl group Fifth Harmony lost one of their five last year, when Camila Cabello hit the road to pursue solo projects. But a listen to their new self-titled third album reveals that the four remaining women are perfectly capable of handling the harmony on their own. Hercules & Love Affair, aka Andy Butler, releases his fourth album, 11 bouncing tracks humming with life. He gets a little help from Sharon Van Etten and Anohni, as well as Lebanese band Mashrou' Leila. Irish band Picture This releases their self-titled full-length debut album, a collection of 13 anthemic tunes. And the UK trio The Script releases their first album in three years, a collection of 14 songs that change their sound to a bit more of a dance vibe, without keeping the core of the band.


"The Punishment of Luxury" (OMD)

"The Punishment of Luxury" (OMD)

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, aka OMD, releases their 13th studio album, the 12-track "The Punishment of Luxury," with the name taken from an 1891 painting by Giovanni Segantini. OMD's Andy McClusky and Paul Humphreys considered this a DIY project, taking care of all the writing, producing, recording and mixing themselves. "On this album we have managed to make beautiful things out of noises and repetitive patterns," McClusky explained in a press release. "The trouble is, we just can't help but write a catchy melody!" They're already making waves with their new single, "La Mitrailleuse," (French for "The Machinegun,") with its loops of guns and cannon fire, and the single lyric, "Bend your body to the will of the machine." Um... okay. They kick things off with the title track, with its complex electronica arrangement and bouncy vocals, "so close your eyes and shut your mouth/ you make me want to scream and shout." Their tech-forward cut "Isotype" employs elements of spoken word over electronic samples, which pairs excellently with "Robot Man," with its a cappella intro that has McClusky singing about a creature who "has a hole where your heart should have been." The formulaic instrumentals are paired with a soft-pedaled message of regret; the melodic elements bleed into the next track, "Precision & Decay," which features spoken word snippets melded in. "As We Open, So We Close," has a very dark cast as they sing of one's "concrete handsome" façade, asking, "did you touch his cruel veneer/ born of pain and forged in tears?" Their "Art Eats Art" sounds like what would happen if Siri was your DJ, but it is bookended by "Kiss Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Bang," a poppy if dark cut. "I never heard a woman calling out my name with the love and the power and the passion that you gave," they sing in "One More Time." At six-plus minutes long, "Ghost Star" is the epic that you never asked for, where McClusky sings, "And on that night and in that place, you wove your magic story, the broken boy is healed again/ I fall into you wholly." They wrap up a massive science project of an album with a slower cut, "The View From Here," that employs sweeping electronic soundscapes. If you're ever looking for a soundtrack for a reboot of the '80s flick "Weird Science," OMD is the band to tap. OMD tours the UK and Europe this fall.
(White Noise Records)


"Fifth Harmony" (Fifth Harmony)

"Fifth Harmony" (Fifth Harmony)

The girl group Fifth Harmony lost one of their five last year, when Camila Cabello hit the road to pursue solo projects. But a listen to their new self-titled third album reveals that the four remaining women are perfectly capable of handling the harmony on their own. Their 10-song release balances hip-hop and trop house beats with the empowerment anthems that the group is known for. Their lead single "Down" is a sexy cut featuring Gucci Mane. She's looking for someone who's patient, because you know her temperament. In "He Like That," they sing about the character traits of the men they like, from the roughnecks to the thugs. "Sauced Up" is a party cut that will have you clapping your hands to the beat, and "Make You Mad" is a sultry cut peppered with electronica, with the promise, "I'm gonna make you miss me, I'm gonna make you so mad, I'm gonna make sure I'm the best you ever had." She reassures that you'll get everything you ordered on time or your money back in the catchy cut "Deliver," and demands that you "get ya, get ya shit together" in "Lonely Night." With a rasta patois, they sing, "No room for fools around me." She's been patient, but she asks that you "Don't Say You Love Me" unless you do. Skrillex and Poo Bear produce "Angel," with its heavy bass and hi-hat cymbals. "When you look at me, what do you see? I'm more brilliant than you'll ever be," they reply, answering their own query. "No touching up; there's no filter," they sing in "Messy," a song about the imperfections of life. They end a short but sweet album with "Bridges," a song about not dwelling on regrets. They don't want to separate; they build bridges, not walls. It's a nice sentiment for today's complicated world.
(Epic Records/Syco Music)


"Omnion" (Hercules & Love Affair)

"Omnion" (Hercules & Love Affair)

Hercules & Love Affair, aka Andy Butler, releases his fourth album, 11 bouncing tracks humming with life. He gets a little help from Sharon Van Etten and Anohni, as well as Lebanese band Mashrou' Leila. Van Etten lends her honeyed pipes to the melodic title track, asking, "Are you there? Can you hear my voice tonight?" Horrors frontman Faris Badwan helps out on "Controller," a techno cut with an old-school '90s vibe that you will love, and the invitation to, "Use me; it's all I want." Rouge Mary sings out on the cacophonous gospel/house anthem "Rejoice," with its chimes intro and heavy bass distortion lead. She resurfaces later in the club cut "Wild Child," finding herself black and blue, telling herself it's not true, the pain you put her through. The lush Arabic-language track "Are You Still Certain?," features the Lebanese band Mashrou' Leila. Sisy Ey helps blow the roof off with the bass-heavy cut "Running," which bubbles up with synthesizer offset by sweeping strings. "I'm running, my feet won't touch the ground," sings Sisy Ey in her sonorous soprano. Butler gets personal in "Fools Wear Crowns," singing in his froggy voice about how he's "a fool when I've been drinking, I'm glad that I didn't today/ It was foolish to lie here, to think I could wish all the clouds away." A similar sentiment comes across in "My Curse and Cure," featuring Gustaph singing over a sick bass beat, "These broken bones they hold me up/ I put one foot in front of the other, but it takes everything I've got." Gustaph's breathy vocals overlaid on robotic electronica effects also bring "Lies" to life, as he sings about how life is not guaranteed. Fari's clipped English vocals pepper "Through Your Atmosphere," and Butler wraps the album up with Gustaph on the tinny "Epilogue." Butler made his name by collaborating with Anohni on his biggest hit yet, "Blind." But it's nice to see that his continued collaborations have yielded results that we can all see.
(Atlantic Records)


"Picture This" (Picture This)

"Picture This" (Picture This)

Irish band Picture This releases their self-titled full-length debut album, a collection of 13 anthemic tunes. The team of Jimmy Rainsford on drums and Ryan Hennessey on vocals and guitars have moved from Jimmy's home studio to the international radiowaves. They kick things off with the acoustic strummer "Take My Hand," an earnest cut about love with the vulnerable line, "I want to catch you staring at me." "I fell in love four times today, but they don't even know," sings Hennessey in "Dreams," an impassioned look at the battle scars of love. His mind is hazy from the gin, but he's been thinking about packing it in and leaving a town that's too small for "You & I." He doesn't know what you want, but he hopes it's him in "Addicted to You," a fast-moving ballad with an infectious chorus. They pick up the pace even more in the following cut, "Everything I Need," a drum-fueled tune about talking it all out. "Jane" is a sad love song to a woman with expensive tastes whose cuts are razor-sharp; pick me up, he sings, because I want to lay you down. You're an island in yourself, but he's here to tell you he's lost in you, in "Never Change." "You drink a lot for somebody who doesn't like drinking," Hennessey observes in "Carry On," a song about a girl he wants who didn't care for him -- at least not before he became famous. He's wishing he could forget about you, the smell of your skin, your new man -- and the fact that nowadays, you "Smell Like Him." "Let's Be Young" is a typical anthem of youth empowerment, where the biggest obstacle is leaving your worries and your phone at home to go get drunk. He's only 21, but he's in love in "95." "The songs on the radio all have the same old beat, why can't anyone think for themselves anymore?" they sing in "Difference." Ironically, this song sounds an awful lot like the previous tunes on "Picture This." Which is to say, the band has a definite sound that is all its own. They end the album on lucky number 13, "Saviour," a catchy tune about redemption. The band heads to the U.S. for their first stateside headlining tour this September, hitting Mass., Philly, D.C. and NYC before heading to Toronto, Chicago, LA and San Fran.
(Republic Records)


"Freedom Child" (The Script)

"Freedom Child" (The Script)

The UK trio The Script releases their first album in three years, a collection of 14 songs that change their sound to a bit more of a dance vibe, without changing the core of the band. Danny O'Donoghue is on vocals and keyboards, with lead guitarist Mark Sheehan, and drummer Glen Power. They kick things off with "No Man Is an Island," a gritty punk-inspired track that somehow also has a catchy island backbeat. "Woke up this morning can't shake the thunder from last night," they sing, realizing that whenever she's gone, all it does is "Rain." It wouldn't be a surprise to find this catchy song featured in a commercial before too long. In the next track, he'd send back that rain if he could, but he's got "Arms Open" for you. They didn't listen when they said it can't be done; they're about to blast things open and "Rock the World" in one anthem, and they get a hip-hop vibe in the catchy cut "Mad Love," one of the album's best, singing, "whoever said if you love someone you should set them free they don't know whit about you and me, cause I won't let you go." He can't tell if he's falling forward or in reverse in the mixed-up, bass heavy "Deliverance." They tackle current events from protests to white-collar criminals to gunmen in the loaded but excellent rap cut "Divided States of America." They slow things down a bit in the clap-track cut "Wonders," a tune about realizing all at once that you're in love and want to do all those things you only talked about, before you hit the pearly gates. In "Love Not Lovers," O'Donoghue recounts all her failed hookups, but lets her know that her day will come. "Eden," a song about his kingdom falling down, has a ska beat, while "Make Up" is a sad song about a girl whose beauty doesn't need to be covered up. He's got scrapes on his heart from all the battles, and his song is "Written in the Scars." Their cut "Awakening" starts slow but builds up to a crescendo, then merges into the albums final and title cut, "Freedom Child," about how only love will defeat hate. Their sound may have changed -- but it's clearly for the better. The Script will play smaller clubs and venues in the UK this fall.
(Columbia Records)



Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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