Albums: July 8, 2011 | EW.com

Music

Albums: July 8, 2011

Reviews of recent releases from Ashton Shepherd, Incubus, and more

Ashton Shepherd, Where Country Grows
Shepherd revs up her mighty Alabama twang, calling out an unfaithful carouser on first single ”Look It Up” — she wants to be invited, not left at home by a guy with a wandering eye. (And good-time girls still love the Lord, even if they can’t always be early risers — see: testifyin’ ”Tryin’ to Go to Church.”) Among strong, young hardcore-country women, Miranda Lambert is Ashton’s only real competition. A-Ken Tucker

Yacht, Shangri-La
On their fifth album, the playful electro-pop duo tackle epic themes (man’s search for paradise, fear of apocalypse), melding John Donne and Star Trek quotes with disco beats. What could have been insufferably conceptual is saved by the jubilance of songs like the funky-frenetic ”Utopia” and chugging art party ”Beam Me Up.” Set phasers to fun! B+Joe Lynch

Lloyd, King of Hearts
The Southern lothario’s latest works overtime to collect the love muscles of pretty ladies all over. Some he snags with his yearning coos (”Lay It Down”), others with blunt sexual advances (”Shake It 4 Daddy”) — and the remainder with charm, set to soulful, Isley Brothers-smooth grooves. BBrad Wete

Gillian Welch, The Harrow & the Harvest
Welch’s bleak folk balladry dives even deeper here; dolor and pessimism prevail. She and guitarist Dave Rawlings refuse the listener any escape, any real pleasure. It’s impeccable music for masochists. C+KT

Incubus, If Not Now, When?
No longer operating in their jam-friendly Primus phase nor their crunchy nü-metal incarnation, L.A. rockers Incubus are left with chiming guitars and some pleasant ambience. ”Isadore” is thrillingly seductive, but the rest is cosmic fluff. C+ —Kyle Anderson