Rhys Marsh – Sentiment (progressive rock)

The sweet clarity of Rhys Marsh’s voice unifies his album with a luminous, melancholy calm, effortlessly bridging the steepest dynamic gradients in arrangements that can swing rapidly from finger-picked acoustic guitar to weighty chunks of rock. The instrumental textures on Sentiment are dramatic and powerful, but there is never any doubt in which strand’s service the whole thick, complex braid is marshalled. This is rock music in the service of song, or it is the songwriter’s art writ large and bold, in the deep, layered colours of which progressive rock orchestration is capable. It’s not about instrumental

Reagan’s Polyp re-releases (satirical anti-rock)

When I’m asked to review a fistful of reissues I might ordinarily feel a moment or two of guilt at never having listened to the band before (which is usually the case, given my perversely idiosyncratic listening habits). Not so with Reagan’s Polyp, an obscure and wilfully unappetising band from Little Rock, Arkansas. Rather than going to some other place, where their brand of satirical, lyrically infantile, musically heterodox, avant-garde rock might have been appreciated by hipsters and bohemians, they stayed in Little Rock, released thirty-odd albums, earned predictable notices in the local music press (‘abusive …