Album reviews: Tallies, Ultramarine, You Tell Me, Gnash, Kero Kero Bonito, Bunny Lee/Prince Jammy/The Aggrovators, and Park Hye Jin

Park Hye Jin's IF U WANT IT will get you through the winter. Publicity image. Park Hye Jin’s IF U WANT IT will get you through the winter. Publicity image.

Tallies

S/T (Kanine)

Tallies kicks off with a frosty amalgam of ‘80s and ‘90s atmospheric alt rock—the Bunnymen and The Cran-
berries come to mind—and when “Mother” follows up somewhere halfway between The Smiths and The Go-Go’s, it becomes clear that the past is where Tallies live. Sarah Cogan’s vocals get a little yelpy, and “Not So Proud” and “Trouble” are the only undeniable jams to my ears, but Tallies is more than palatable and promising. ***1/2

https://tallies.bandcamp.com/album/tallies

Ultramarine

Signals Into Space
(Crepescule)

Originating in the halcyon early-’90s, this British pastoral electronic duo never got as much traction as fellow travelers like The Orb, and drifted in separate directions about 20 years ago. Signals Into Space sounds like a lost album from the early days, for better and worse. The electroacoustic am-
bience of “Du Sud” is dreamy and richly detailed, and guest Anna Dom-
ino’s rap on “$10 Heel” is dated in a funny/not funny kinda way. ***1/2

https://soundsoftheuniverse.com/sjr/product/ultramarine-signals-into-space

You Tell Me

S/T (Memphis Industries)

This debut album by the superduo of Peter Brewis (Field Music) and Sarah Hayes (Admiral Fallow) sounds like music made by smart kids who sketch elaborate plans while enjoying wholesome snacks. Brewis and Fallow’s tweaks of indie and pop structures are inspired, eccentric and artsy, but the songs often fall between the cracks, their pop pleasures subverted but not supplanted by weirdness. ***1/2

https://youtellme.bandcamp.com/

Gnash

We (Atlantic)

It might seem foreboding that “I Hate U I Love U,” Gnash’s international hit of 2016, shows up on We two years later—but the problem with Gnash isn’t a shortage of material; it’s the material. Gnash wants to be nerdy and cute—and his ceaselessly cheery voice should be a welcome antidote to the semi-moral bleat of Lil Peep—but the same narcissism that cheapens Lil Peep’s nihilism also reduces Gnash’s bedroom pop to irritating twaddle. **

Kero Kero Bonito

Bonito Generation
(Polyvinyl)

For those who missed this London electro-twee trio’s bubbly 2016 debut, here’s Polyvinyl with a reissue that serves as a companion piece for KKB’s busier, slightly rougher latest, Time ‘n’ Place. And actually, this older album kinda kicks the shit out of the new one, as singer Sarah Bonito delivers the knowing, per-
formative cuteness of Cibo Matto on top of catchy stripped-down track after track, from the poppy “Heard a Song” to the clubby “Lipslap.” Bonito Generation may be feather-light, but it holds up. ****

Bunny Lee/Prince Jammy/The Aggrovators

Dubbing in the Front Yard
& Conflict Dub
(Pressure Sounds)

This rereleased twofer comes from 1977 and 1982, and features a trio of Jamaican legends—a quartet if you count King Tubby Studios, where the magic happened. Hitmaker Bunny Lee (“Cherry Oh Baby,” “Better Must Come”) was the producer. Dub pioneer Prince Jammy was the engineer. The Aggrovators, King Tubby’s house band which included literally dozens of reggae stars through the years (Sly & Robbie, Jackie Mittoo, for starters), were the musicians. Throw in sleeve notes and copious photographs, and you’ve got an absolute treasure. *****

https://pressuresounds.bandcamp.com/album/dubbing-in-the-front-yard-conflict-dub

Park Hye Jin

IF U WANT IT (Clipp.Art)

Twenty-four-year-old South Korean DJ and producer Park serves notice with this assured debut EP of minimal house and and proto-dubstep. It’s hypnotic, dark, and sexy throughout, with some added lounge-jazz piano on “ABC” and a wistful closer in “Call Me.” Park’s vocals are invitingly cool, and IF U WANT IT sounds like something I’ll be coming back to all winter while waiting for her next one. ****1/2

https://parkhyejin.bandcamp.com/releases