New Soundbites: April Part 2 (album reviews)

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In the second part of our April round-up we reveal Karen O’s big secret and Frightened Rabbit still can’t find love in a hole.



Yeah Yeah Yeahs: It’s Blitz!Album of the Week
Polydor
Has Karen O only got one eye?
All this attention to which jacket she’s wearing and talk of parting the seas with new musical directions, is completely deflecting from a major inquest.
Scrutinising a number of recent pictures reveals there’s more than a Gordon Banks resemblance than would at first be considered coincidence.
In other news this is no great departure, Nick Zinner‘s treated guitar is omnipresent, it’s simply a ridiculously rad pop record striving for attention in every teenagers bedroom across the land.
It’s so crossover it’s been clipped for Goal of the Month on SSN and heard blurting from da caff in Albert Square.
My favourite is a toss up between Hysteric which has a chorus so good it can be responsible for involuntary sex wee secretion and Skeletons which should soundtrack the moment a child sees snowflakes falling for the very first time.
Reading back that sentence sounds very wrong.
But not as wrong as Karen O’s FAKE EYE!
8.5/10
For fans of: Glitterballs, Alison Goldfrapp’s dressing up box, ice cubes.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Heads Will Roll (live on Jools)

Crippled Black Phoenix: 200 Tons Of Bad Luck
Invada
Right now there’s nothing as boring as post-rock which apes the polar ice-cap melting sonics and cliche-ridden sap being peddled by those that brought it to such prominence.
Luckily, then that CBP have avoided the obvious pitfalls, instead ramping up the doom, deranged monologues (check Evil Knievel‘s spoken word ‘live every day’ intro to the 18-minute GSYBE! out-rock explosion that is Time Of Ye Life/Born For Nothing/Paranoid Arm Of Narcoleptic Empire) an spidery riffs which slowly dissolve into annihilated warscapes.
Additonal props for the Gilmour-inflected Burnt Reynolds which is up there for opener of the year, while Whissendine and Rise Up And Fight even see the group extend to avant-rock which isn’t just instantly accessible but bloody well singalongable.
Who’d have thought that from a Portishead, Mogwai and Electric Wizard supergroup?
7.5/10
For fans of: Vocalist Justin Greaves: ‘This album is about celebrating the things that have saved your life, shouting about the injustices and laughing at how shit everything is. And a bit more about dying.

Crippled Black Phoenix: Rise up and Fight (live in Greece)

Camera Obscura: My Maudlin Career
4AD
Kind of ironic in the week Van der Graff hairdo head Phil Spector gets sent down that his trademark sound is bottled to perfection in this rollicking wall of twee blast off.
Better yet, this is no act of nervous frigidity, no Tracyanne Campbell is a hopeless romantic blessed with all the vivacious sexual appetite of Diane from Trainspotting but kitted out in a librarian’s tartan mini skirt cooing with heartfelt Glaswegian yearning.
If the horny strings of The Sweetest Thing and racing brass of Honey In The Sun don’t get the blood rushing you’re a champ in the Limp Olympics.
Sheeet in ma mooooth, ye radge!
7/10
For fans of: Secretary, The Ronettes.

Camera Obscura: French Navy

Frightened Rabbit: Quietly Now: Midnight Organ Fight Live and Acoustic at the Captain’s Rest
Fat Cat
How this lot of escaped major attention is a mystery.
Pretty much every messageboard has been chunnering on about them since the release of their superb second record, 2008’s The Midnight Organ Fight (number 10 in Getintothis’ top 100), yet hardly a jot has been written or seen of them outside of webworld.
Can’t really see this superb live surge of emotive powerpop from Glasgow’s Captain’s Rest making much impact either. Ho hum. Guess that’s another indie band wearing the same gruds for another year.
7.5/10
For fans of: Open heart surgery.

Frightened Rabbit: Keep Yourself Warm (Crossing Border Den Haag)

Doves: Kingdom Of Rust
EMI
It’s getting my goat, so Lord only knows how Doves feel to have Elbow mentioned in every review – I mean I’m guilty of it already and this is just my first line…
But really, just because they hail from the North West (the former are from Cheshire, the latter Bury – but let’s shoehorn them into Manchester for the sake of ease, eh?) and have a similar (ish) career trajectory and now means every Suvern hack is talking about Mercury’s and coal pits.
But really, there’s a hefty difference in the two band’s appeal; Elbow specialise in poetic, contemplative mini anthems which you can sing at the top of your voice while lugging through a field of shit pretending it’s sunny. Doves, on the otherhand, deal in colossal slabs of dense noise assisted by Jimi Goodwin‘s endearing lisp. They’re about as sunny as Sunn O))).
But the biggest difference – Doves have a groove. Elbow simply don’t as witnessed when Grounds For Divorce cleared Le Bateau‘s dancefloor last weekend.
Kingdom of Rust is, like every Doves record before it: solid, at times inconsequential, pounding yet no classic – there’s nothing here to equal The Cedar Room – but there’s plenty to enjoy.
You’ll find it reassuringly steady and that future greatest hits is bolstered by the title track, Jetstream and House Of Mirrors ensuring a truly fine anthology. It has, however, got no chance at the Mercurys.
6.5/10
For fans of: Train journeys, Martin Mere.

Doves: Kingdom Of Rust/Winter Hill (live on Jools)

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