There’s more to life than Radiohead on the Getintothis jukebox…
Minus The Bear: Planet Of Ice – Album Of The Week
To say 2007 has been waiting for a record like this is an understatement. What with the majority of the year belonging to the beat, you’d be correct in thinking guitar bands have gone into hibernation.
From the moment Burying Luck, with its staccato chunky patter and dense textures of gurgling heavy electronica kicks in, the lights flash WINNER!
Here is a record which blends the furious avant-rock of Oceansize and a prog-lite dalliance hardly a world away from Pink Floyd all the while gift-wrapped in five-minute parcels rubber-stamped ROCKNFUCKINROLL.
Dig the way in which the twin guitars of Dave Knudson and Jake Snider on Knights twists and circle round the robotic keyboard work of Alex Rose – its reminiscent of the Mars Volta minus the otiose excess which has so clogged up their latest output.
And its exactly this interplay between Rose’s electronic pulses and the intricate tapestry painted by the rest of the band which makes Planet of Ice such a dense, yet utterly addictive record. See the closing minute of White Mystery were organs parp and whistle offset by a thundering clamour of riffage or Throwin’ Shapes‘ giddy pop hurtling along, all the while guided by Roses’ subtle spacey hum.
Elsewhere Part 2 borrows from Floyd’s Brain Damage, When We Escape is a masterclass in mini guitar solos while closing epic Lotus is a two-suite eight-minuter merging grandiose tremolo-heavy spacerock into grinding, electro metal.
Don’t be fooled by the title, Planet of Ice is a flaming ball of white-hot brilliance.
For fans of: Riffs, beards, time travel.
Radiohead: In Rainbows
Radiohead’s Official Website
Once upon a time this lot made records which sounded like no other. Now they make records which sound like Radiohead.
No bad thing, and after the abortion that was Hail To The Thief, this collection is their strongest since the heady days of Kid A. And not only is it innovative, evocative and all those other traits associated with their very special landscape – it is also loose, swaggering and carrying a certain colourful joie de vivre, something which has been absent from Team Yorke for some time.
In opener 15 Step they’ve concocted the perfect blend of everything they’ve become; propulsive Phil Selway beats, gorgeously restrained Jonny Greenwood licks and humming electronica cocooning Thom’s paranoic refrains.
Elsewhere there’s seemingly effortless classics to add to their cannon; All I Need is awash with glowing Eno-isms and a skyscraping coda, there’s the blistering hyperkinetic fuzz of Bodysnatchers and best of all Reckoner a subtle, slow-burning orchestrated groove which reaffirms they’re back on the road to greatness.
For fans of: Radiohead.
St Vincent: Marry Me
Annie Clark is adorable. Just look at her pixie features peaking out, all doe-eyed, mystical perfection. For umpteen years she’s skipped around in her smock as part of the Polyphonic Spree, while also flitting between tours with Sufjan Stevens, but at last she’s spread her faery wings and unleashed this magnificent mini-opera of delights.
Her solo musical pageant is as rich as her collaborators, mixing the usual assortment of eccentrics; namely Kate, Bjork, Tori and Regina without ever losing sight of her own individuality. And how could she, for a woman that lists all fourteen instruments she’s plucking, blowing or clanging this is a veritable feast of ideas and stylistic showmanship.
There’s coy, playful bossa nova (Human Racing), feisty Hounds of Love-era balladic rock (Now, Now), frenetic prog-pop (Your Lips Are Red) and even straight up pop (All My Stars Align).
Just in case we’re left in any doubt of her all-round magnificence, she’s room to hit us with this type of lyrical gem from Marry Me ‘We’ll do what Mary and Joseph did, without the kid.’
For fans of: Libraries, secret love-affairs, Pre-Raphaelites.
Tuung: Good Arrows
Full Time Hobby
If Tuung suddenly get dropped, they’ll have no problem setting up their own hardware store. Good Arrows employs more nails, saws and clattering wood blocks than a Handy Andy half-hour.
Its a shame then, for all their lovely folksy cuddling they fail to evoke anything quite so moving or textured as their lost uncles The Beta Band. Only Soup dares to step out of the sawdust bubble, for what begins as a pandora’s box of twinkly samples soon explodes into Aphex-style techno and grock guitar nastiness.
Sure there’s beautiful lullabies in the looped, stoned simplicity of Bullets and Arms but the likes of Alfie were peddling this gear ten years ago.
For fans of: Sawdust, Twisted Nerve, vintage clothing.
The Go! Team: Proof Of Youth
It is scientifically proven that listening to The Go! Team eradicates depression, stress and all anxiety.
No-one packs more fun in their lunch boxes than this multi-cultural Brighton sextet. If you heard Thunder, Lightning Strike then you’ll know exactly what to expect, if you didn’t, buy both now and inject a bucketload of happiness into your life.
Like its predecessor, Proof Of Youth is a whirlwind of lo-fi guitar-pop, cheerleader ra-ra-ing and 70s kids TV themes all led by Britain’s funkiest leading lady Ninja.
If the BBC wish to cut costs and show repeats they could do worse than to have Ninja shaking her arse to this barrage of aural ecstasy all night long. Be good to yourself, vote Go! Team.
For fans of: Joy, rapture and messy nights.