Reviews: CD releases

CD reviews including Drake's new album Views.
CD reviews including Drake's new album Views.
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We take a look at all the hot new music, including Drake’s new album.

Drake –Views: 2015 was a triumphant year for Drake; three platinum-selling singles, two successful surprise mix tapes and one of the most memorable music videos of recent times. So there was a lot of hype for his fourth studio album and the 20-track offering is a massive mixing pot of perfect-for-radio pop (see Too Good ft. Rihanna), straight rap songs (Grammys ft. Future) experimentation with dancehall (Controlla) and his trademark special – thinking about your ex and wallowing (Childs Play, and Redemption). Critics and fans were quick to compare Views to Drake’s rich back catalogue of critically acclaimed mixtapes and albums - some claiming it didn’t match up to previous efforts while others praised him for conquering new musical ground. Claire Hubble

Gregory Porter – Take Me to the Alley: Gregory Porter makes jazz that’s hard not to roll your shoulders to. Take Me To The Alley is a bewitching, pared down record, spilling the sophisticated kind of music you’d want playing in the background when your dinner guests turn up. The American singer and Grammy Award winner (for his 2013 album, Liquid Spirit) pours out luxurious, soulful vocals with what seems to be incredible ease. Consequence Of Love ripples with emotion, punctuated with a sax that yanks on your heartstrings, In Fashion ups the tempo, jauntily riffing, the chorus plinking away, while the warming Holding On yearns and soars. It’s a romantic and soothing set of songs brilliantly crafted, so if you and Porter are yet to be introduced, now’s the time. Ella Walker

The Boxer Rebellion – Ocean by Ocean: The Boxer Rebellion’s fifth studio album, is undoubtedly their best and most cohesive since forming in 2001. Clearly influenced by the likes of Muse, Radiohead, and The National, their guitar and keyboard-driven indie rock is made for big arenas, although Nathan Nicholson on guitar and vocals, lead guitarist Andrew Smith, bassist Adam Harrison and drummer Piers Hewitt, have yet to join the likes of The Killers and Coldplay in rock music’s A division. Nicholson’s falsetto actually draws favourable comparison with Chris Martin, while the band’s knack for penning catchy, sing-along songs, suggests their time has come with Ocean By Ocean, which is uniformly excellent. it’s a quantum leap forward from their last album, and could make them major players. Kim Mayo

Mike Posner – At Night, Alone:Mike Posner’s comeback track I Took A Pill In Ibiza (Seeb remix) topped charts worldwide last year and re-introduced the American singer-songwriter and producer to the ears of many. He hasn’t been resting on his laurels in his six-year sabbatical since his hit single Cooler Than Me made it into the top 10 though, in fact, he’s helped pen a number of smash songs for artists including Justin Bieber, Labrinth and Maroon 5. His latest album At Night, Alone is a mixture of sounds from the dance heavy I Took A Pill, to the more stripped back, acoustic tones of Buried in Detroit. Be As You Are has a punchy drumbeat and big band feel, whilst In The Arms Of A Stranger shows off Posner’s vocal range and is a standout track. A one trick pony Posner certainly is not. Rebecca Flitton