Having been around for more than a decade Coldplay have become one of the most successful bands on the planet, in that time they have released four astonishing albums that have set the bench mark for British alternative rock.

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Ben Howard was once referred to as so unique that he will make you feel like he is the original troubadour. Whilst that may be a hugely sweeping statement, I find it hard to argue with, he seems to almost be an upbeat Nick Drake. Having released two EP’s already gaining an ever growing fan base his debut album ‘Every Kingdom’ was greeted with high anticipation. It was no surprise that the CD was truly fantastic, everything from the soulful voice, which has a very distinct sound and I feel makes the album, to the lyrics on tracks like ‘Old Pine’. The song that really leapt out at me in front of all other songs in ‘Black Flies’, there is something about its slow slightly dark feel that completely hypnotizes you.

Technically the CD matches up to its expectations as well, bringing that finger picking folk sound to the songs and the way the album has been composed truly does give the whole album a completely original and unique sound. It isn’t too often in songs where you can clearly hear every single instrument being used but you can with this, which is just another plus.

There are no real negatives to this album. There are several songs on the record which have been on EP’s; but those songs have been altered slightly adding a new element to them.

I would definitely recommend you give this album a listen if acoustic music is your thing, and even if it isn’t you will most likely be pleasantly surprised. This really is one of the greater releases of the year and is not one to be missed.

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Ed Sheeran is without a doubt one of the most hyped UK artists around at the moment; with the recent release of his debut album ‘+’ there was some serious expectations to live up to.

When I first listened to the album I wasn’t that impressed, it seemed like he had given up some of his quirky style to get the album made, and also a lot of the tracks on the record were already well known, so it seemed to lack anything that new and exciting. On the second listen however I was blown away. The vocals on tracks such as ‘Give Me Love’ are comparable to those of Damien Rice and the lyrics in ‘Kiss Me’ are some of the most poetic songs I’ve ever listened to and stood out as my favourite on the album. What I liked most about the album was the fact that even though there are tracks that have been floating around for a while he has completely reinvented the songs to make them brand new ‘U.N.I.’ and ‘Wake Me Up’ are just a few examples. This man has the poetic ability and guitar skills of Jason Mraz, whilst creating love ballads that can relate to listeners of all ages.

However he isn’t a one themed musician, he covers varying subject matter from love songs, to up beat songs to the more serious ‘The A Team’ telling the story of a young homeless girl who was pushed into prostitution, he even does a version of the old Irish folk song ‘The Parting Glass’.

If you are a fan of the acoustic troubadour then this is definitely an album for you. He is your traditional acoustic singer/songwriter with a twist.

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Alex 9

Alex Clare is a musician based in London; he recently released his debut album ‘Lateness Of The Hour’. The record is a bag full of surprises, containing soulful voice comparable to the likes of John Legend and James Morrison, he also presents some pretty deep lyrics that will touch the listeners. However all this is shrouded with generic dubstep beats, which have become all too common to today’s music listeners. Now this isn’t to say that there is something wrong with dubstep as a genre, but this kind of feels like an attempt to grab extra fans, which is a shame as this album had some real potential.

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PJ Harvey is a well known English Singer/Songwriter, a veteran in the music scene making her professional debut in the 1990’s. Harvey has been known for changing sound with each new album she releases as to not repeat herself twice. Her newest eighth studio album ‘Let England Shake’ is no exception; we see a very unique idea for an album, one that can only be described as courageous with an artist that has a big following.

The album, which was recorded over a five week period in a church giving a slightly airy feel to it, entered the UK album charts at #8. Harvey sticks with one main theme throughout the CD and that is the sense of ‘English Pride’.

It contains strong undertones of patriotism; with one of the titles itself named England. You really do get this sense of English pride from the album, without the pretentious ‘we are better than everyone’ attitude. The artist claimed she researched historical conflicts whilst creating the record, this influence is made very clear by tracks such as ‘The Glorious’ with bugles playing in the intro. On the whole it seems to give off a slightly more upbeat and less folksy Laura Marling ‘I Speak Because I Can’ vibe. On the downside the album does start to get a bit repetitive as it nears the middle, and transcends from an individual and bold CD of Glorious England into one long list of why England is good.

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Artist: The King Blues            Album: Punk & Poetry            Location: London

The King Blues are one of the, if not the most, underrated bands of current time. With a unique blend of Punk, Ska, a set of raw vocals and some of the most thought provoking lyrics you are likely to find, they have all the ingredients to be a terrible band, but instead they have pulled it off and created some of the best music I have ever heard.  They are back with their third album ‘Punk  & Poetry’ and have comeback hard.  Tracks such as ‘We Are F****** Angry’ shows the society questioning, anarchist side of the band that fans have grown to love; whilst songs like ‘Headbutt’ show their lighter playful side.  The King Blues are one of the few bands that are continuing to evolve in their music and their lyrics, and deserve way more credit than they get. This album is a must for any music fan, anarchist or anyone who generally questions the government. Go out and by it now, you won’t be disappointed.

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