Boomkat Product Review:
Immaculately crackling the FM dial between late Cocteau Twins, 'Rumours'-era Fleetwood Mac and Kate Bush, Laura Groves' latest full-length is a nostalgic pop delight that'll tickle anyone into Dean Hurley & Gloria Endres de Oliveira's 'Oceans of Time', Marissa Nadler or Angel Olsen.
Bradford-born singer-songwriter Laura Groves was signed to XL and recorded as Blue Roses, went independent and recorded a run of material with Nathan Jenkins (aka Bullion), and then signed to Bella Union - maybe the ideal home for her ethereal pop sounds. 'Radio Red' is the first full album she's released under her own name, and it's her most complete statement, billed as "echoes and snapshots of half-remembered pop songs, piano ballads, chopped up TV theme tunes, ambient synthesised sounds and electronic music." In many ways, it's a less cynical, more British counterpart to Oneohtrix Point Never's 'Magic...' full-length, fuzzing between 1970s folk-pop, '90s shoegaze and '80s soft rock but retaining a unifying romantic lilt throughout.
So if songs like 'Sky At Night' (a sparkly, piano-led radio ballad with a chorus straight out of Cocteau Twins' 'Four Calendar Cafe') or 'D 4 N' (an analog-synth led 'Hounds of Love'-cum-Italians Do It Better slow burner) sound familiar, it's completely by design. Groves' voice is powerful enough to shake off the inevitable comparisons; even on 'Any Day Now', a track that seems bult around the same emotional hook as Massive Attack's 'Teardrop'. Groves sounds knowing and purposeful, assembling a hazy mixtape of sorts that chimes with her personal experience of growing up in Yorkshire, listening to Fleetwood Mac and Kate Bush and imagining the complexity and emotionality of the wider world.
And these aren't simple covers, they're patchworks of half-heard themes and sonic signifiers. At any given moment we might hear a guitar riff from a Christopher Cross album, or a Michael McDonald vocal line, while disco synths bubble in the background and prog rock organ sounds simmer overhead. It's all quite lovely, purposefully uncanny stuff.