Albums of the Week: Disco, Power Up, Art of the Mandolin

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Kylie Minogue performing in Cologne, Germany

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Kylie Minogue performing in Cologne, Germany

New releases from Kylie, AC/DC and Avi Avital

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The Week Staff

Friday, November 20, 2020 – 9:10am

Pop diva Kylie Minogue is back in her “natural habitat” with a triumphant return to her disco roots. “Gnarly heavy rockers” AC/DC make a blistering comeback with Power Up and Avi Avital, the world’s leading classical player, offers a “very enjoyable” introduction to the delights of the mandolin.

Kylie: Disco 

Two years ago, the world’s favourite Aussie soap star turned pop diva made an “unconvincing detour” into Nashville-style country, said Will Hodgkinson in The Times. Understandably, Kylie fans were worried that the album, Golden, signalled a “new exploratory phase” in her career. “What if she ended up on a jazz odyssey?” Or worse? So it’s a great relief to report that, in a year when “unexpected directions from beloved pop stars have been about as welcome as a second lockdown”, Kylie has returned in triumph to her disco roots. 

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Kylie’s “natural habitat” is the dancefloor, agreed David Cheal in the FT – and this “terrific” album is a “remorselessly upbeat succession of catchy tunes which encourage dancing and singing to a degree that is almost irresponsible in a pandemic”. Traditional disco elements are here: “slap bass, snappy hi-hats and swooping Chic-like strings”. But they’ve been “steroidally boosted” by the synths and electronic beats of contemporary EDM (electronic dance music). The result is a “very, very danceable album”.

BMG £11

AC/DC: Power Up 

Since AC/DC’s last album in 2014, the band has lost a fair few of its members: one has died; another was sacked after being accused of making death threats; a third retired and a fourth was forced to quit, mid-tour, after bursting an eardrum. It’s fair to say that fans never expected to hear from the “gnarly heavy rockers” again, said Neil McCormick in The Daily Telegraph. Yet here they are for one “last stand”, in the form of 41 minutes of “riotous noise-making” that is as “exultantly fierce, furious and – let’s be honest – belligerently dumb” as anything they’ve done. It is “headbanging, fist-waving, foot-stomping, raw-throated, hard-screaming” maximum rock ‘n’ roll. 

For this blistering comeback, lead guitarist …read more

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