Albums: October 11, 2013 | EW.com

Music

Albums: October 11, 2013

Reviews of the new albums from Lorde, Sleigh Bells, and more

Lorde, Pure Heroine
The 16-year-old born Ella Yelich-O’Connor came out of nowhere (a.k.a. New Zealand) and staged a late-summer radio coup with her excellent ”Royals.” Which could be the recipe for one-hit wonderdom (what’s up, Gotye?), but this girl’s for real: 10 songs here, and not one loser in the bunch. Pure’s mix of woozy dream-pop, killer beats, intriguing vocals, and fanged lyrics about culture and millennial ennui signals the arrival of a new kind of star. A- Ray Rahman

Sleigh Bells, Bitter Rivals
The Brooklyn noise-poppers seemed locked in a formulaic game plan on last year’s Reign of Terror. On their latest, the duo incinerate the playbook and call audibles like the stutter-dreaming ”Young Legends” and the glammy-goth ”24.” It’s all still loud and lovely, but with a fresh dose of dynamism. A-Kyle Anderson

Cage the Elephant, Melophobia
The rowdy Kentucky fivesome trade expertly curated vintage grunge for Brit-garage grime on their third album. The sonic shift leads to some hook-drowning hiccups, but the manic commitment of frontman Matthew Shultz carries it through, especially on the scuzzy-slinky ”It’s Just Forever.” B Kyle Anderson

Pusha T, My Name Is My Name
On his first official solo album, the marvelously menacing Virginia rapper looks past the coke-dealing rhymes he perfected as one half of Clipse. A dude like him doesn’t evolve so much as expand his reach, which he does here with the aid of producer-label boss Kanye West, guests ranging from The-Dream to Kendrick Lamar, and a steely gusto unmatched in hip-hop. A-Nick Catucci

Amos Lee, Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song
The Philadelphia folkie’s follow-up to his surprise chart-topper Mission Bell showcases his strikingly soulful voice (think a blend of Adam Levine and Ray LaMontagne). This pretty collection brims with introspection about life and love, but it’s hard not to wish that Lee would exercise a little less emotional restraint. If you’re singing about ”Mountains of Sorrow,” you’re supposed to fall apart. B+Grady Smith