New Soundbites: Titus Andronicus, The Drums, Freelance Whales, Archie Bronson Outfit, Crystal Castles & Band Of Horses

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All this lot have played Liverpool this year but only one has been given the thumbs up by my mate Bob. The fussy get.



Titus Andronicus: Monitor
XL Recordings
More excruciating tales of waking face down in your own whiskey-induced vomit with only pity as your remaining friend.
Choice lyric from A Pot In Which To Piss – ‘I’m covered in urine and excrement – but I’m alive.
I saw Titus main dude Patrick Stickles outside Zanzibar during this year’s Liverpool Sound City and to say the guy looked like he’d lived through his own civil war (to which this concept album loosely alludes to) would be the understatement of the decade – he was only there five minutes smoking a tab and at least four people threw him loose change.
I hope he spent it wisely, his pants needed some serious attention.
8/10

The Drums: The Drums
Island
Early in 2010, for about ten minutes, The Drums were a fun, sun-addled milk-man’s whistle stop tour to the nearest beach holiday.
Then they were hyped out of all context (not their fault) and developed inflated egos (their fault) which was hardly backed up by dross live displays and a pretty forgettable cliched nonsense of a debut album.
Having caught them live last week I can understand their throwaway appeal. Likewise that of MacDonalds food but I have no interest in digesting either.
4/10

Freelance Whales: Weathervanes
Sony
On the face of it Freelance Whales suck. Wimpy tunes, xylophone-overload, twatty vocalist who refuses to pause for breath blendingallhiswordstogetherlikethis, a waft of knowing pretention and a fixation with cutesy imagery. But, like Death Cab For Cutie‘s annoying little brother, Weathervanes is packed with delicious tunes perfect for snuggling into your seat on the bus ride home.
Alternatively, if you don’t get the bus, try it on the train. Or late at night in bed.
Just not before you’re due out partying as you may stay in and decide to have a bath.
6.5/10
Getintothis Freelance Whales review live at the Shipping Forecast.

Archie Bronson Outfit: Coconut
Domino
Quite possibly the most feral release of 2010, Coconut comes at you like a dribbling junkie desperate for his next fix; all shaking rhythms, schizoid vocals and teeth-grinding metallic wheeze.
DFA‘s Tim Goldsworthy is on production duties for much of it, and his stamp is evident on the glam-disco stomp of the likes of Magnetic Warrior and best of all Chunk, but rudely the second half loses it’s way in a haze of misguided delirium leaving you feeling a tad short-changed. Bummer.
6/10

Crystal Castles: Crystal Castles II
Polydor
More scare-the-bat-shit-out-you bleeps and screams from Ethan and Alice only this time they’ve cleverly injected touches of pop (see the ghostly Celestica and bubbling synth riot of Baptism) which ensures their crossover appeal continues to rise.
My mate Bob’s been to 47 gigs with me this year, every single one he’s said, ‘Yeaaah, it was alright,’ at the end, in the kinda fashion you’d say ‘Yeaaah, work was alright.‘ After Crystal Castles he was stoked and couldn’t sit still. Two weeks later he still brings it up in conversation.
I reckon he’s google imaged Alice too.
7.5/10
Getintothis review of Crystal Castles live at O2 Academy, Liverpool.

Band Of Horses: Infinite Arms
Columbia
There’s so many quality Americana bands doing the rounds, it’s easy to be flippant of yet another hairy, slightly melancholic, soaring-vocal, Neil Young-indebted US bunch of cowbuds but when they’re producing tunes as big as this, with instant heart-breaking refrains and the kind of nagging melodies which’ll have you humming in your sleep, you can’t help but doft your stetson and say, more please.
7/10
GetintothisBand of Horses live review at Manchester Ritz.

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