Getintothis delves into the records which have gathered dust over the first half of the year, and Matt Eland delivers his verdict on the best of the rest.
The Long Blondes: Couples – Album of the Week
Things havenÃ¢ÂÂt been going well for the Long Blondes recently.
Ticket sales have fallen at the apex of their NME-led hype campaign and there are whispers of discontent within the band, but on this evidence theyÃ¢ÂÂre far from a creative spent force.
They kick things off with CenturyÃ¢ÂÂs under whelming intro, but once the dull synth and crass lyrics are displaced by some cheeky loops and Kate JacksonÃ¢ÂÂs staccato description of a Ã¢ÂÂwhite-black-grey-light-space-craftÃ¢Â?, the standard never drops.
WeÃ¢ÂÂre on more familiar territory with Guilt and Here Comes the Serious Bit, as anyone whoÃ¢ÂÂs heard their previous hits can attest to, and itÃ¢ÂÂs here that JacksonÃ¢ÂÂs vocals really cut through.
ItÃ¢ÂÂs been said before and IÃ¢ÂÂll say it again now; sheÃ¢ÂÂs a born star in every sense of the work, her immaculate hooks pitched perfect and lifting the band above so many of their contempories. Just to prove that the band can keep up as well, thereÃ¢ÂÂs some unexpected weirdness on Round the Hairpin with a loopy bassline and an understatedly catchy beat.
Steven Malkmus and the Jicks: Real Emotional Trash
IÃ¢ÂÂve never been too bothered by anything Steven Malkmus has done.
Pavement never interested me, and on Real Emotional Trash he chooses to imbue his music with embarrassing tweeness.
Song titles such as Hopscotch Willy and Wicked Wanda tell half the story Ã¢ÂÂ heÃ¢ÂÂs not writing about anything with any kind of weight, despite the raw, bluesy nature of the music. On Dragonfly Pie he interrupts some promising noise with nonsense about a Ã¢ÂÂdragonfly wanting a piece of pieceÃ¢ÂÂ, and even a bit of cutsie-poo glockenspiel in the background. Maybe IÃ¢ÂÂm being unfair, but thereÃ¢ÂÂs no danger here, no depth, and despite multiple, multiple listens, nothing inspires.
Moby: Last Night
I put the new Moby CD on and a strange thing happenedÃ¢ÂÅ it was as if I was suddenly sucked through time into an M-People 90s hellcatraz.
Ooh Yeah is indicative of the rubbishness of most of the record (the final three tracks gamely try to rescue it, but more on that later).
It keeps building layer upon layer of rubbishnessÃ¢ÂÅ shit sampled vocal, dull Ã¢ÂÂfunkyÃ¢ÂÂ guitar riffing, treble heavy nineties dance keyboardÃ¢ÂÅ a quite catchy vocal hook wades in, but by then the child is already fitting on the seabed.
At least you can rely on Moby to provide some nice advert music, and that comes at the end Ã¢ÂÂ Sweet Apocalypse starts to inject a bit of darkness into things, hinting that maybe, if he tried to stop hitting every genre base, he could produce something a bit nastier next time around. On Last Night he lets the vocals take over, lets his super producer attitude slide, and itÃ¢ÂÂs so much more effective.
Midnight Juggernauts: Dystopia
I was excited about hearing this band, a total unknown quantity for me, and from the cover alone it looked like I was in for some prog fun.
First comes the synth, then the R2D2 bleeping, and I was all ready for the rock to blare out of the speakers, but then, a moments silence Ã¢ÂÂ and something like AIR comes out, mixed with falsetto vocals and a disco beat.
Unexpected, then, but not entirely unwelcome. ItÃ¢ÂÂs almost a little too chilled, however, lacking the streak of lunacy that the Klaxons, for example, would bring.
This means that the album tends to blend into one, which isnÃ¢ÂÂt necessarily a bad thing. The chord progressions impress mostÃ¢ÂÅ impossible to second guess.
Charlottefield: What Are Friends For
Charlottefield are probably ace live, but on the evidence of this record thereÃ¢ÂÂs not much too them, since they never deviate from the blueprint set by first track Beatings. Roving basslines and steady fill heavy drum beats holding together intermittent lo-fi guitar work Ã¢ÂÂ itÃ¢ÂÂs impressive at first, but itÃ¢ÂÂs all at the same head banging tempo, no light or shade or texture. ItÃ¢ÂÂs a shame that theyÃ¢ÂÂve just broken up, as I would have liked the live experience to contextualise all this.
Teenagers: Reality Check
I donÃ¢ÂÂt want to say too much about this band, they annoy me that much.
They could be good – the music has promise, thereÃ¢ÂÂs some catchy stuff but lyrically, the spoken word bits it all exposes their lack of soul. This is fashion music, crass and charmless, devoid of ingenuity, passion or depth, with stupid French accents.
All the songs are vacuous tales of fucking and drinking and being a trendy teenager. This would be all well and good if you felt a bit of empathy, maybe even raised a smile now and again.
But this isnÃ¢ÂÂt ironic. They just come across and nasty, self obsessed brats bragging about shagging their stepsisters. And no amount of Bret Easton Ellis references can save them.