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Posts Tagged ‘album review’

Struggling to find their niche somewhere between Bruce Springsteen, New Order, and down right cheese. They call themselves the Killers. “Losing Touch” starts as a classic rock song and turns into something of a swoon of good ol’ songwriting. I feel like I have heard this song many times before, but perhaps it’s because it’s executed without much of an edge to it (besides the saxophones). It is rock and roll, and for the opener, it is fantastic. “Human” is another odd song. Brandon Flowers plays all these songs seriously, but all get hit with big smelly cheese somehow. I do like it, but if this is their single, the Killers may have peaked a while ago. I don’t want to review “Spaceman” But I will…

“Spaceman” is all sorts of bad. Did they try to hire Markus Dravs (the Arcade Fire, Coldplay) to produce the first 30 seconds of this song? And after he refused, they just threw some shit together that sounded kind of like a chorus of “woah’s”? This song is not only bad, but it is embarrassing to listen to for me as well as actual spacemen.

After this, things get for the most part better. The album grooves as if it were being performed on Hawaii. It’s breezy, slower, less explosive, and maybe that’s where their life force lies. A Flock of Seagulls excelled with guitar lick driven tracks. Am I comparing the Killers to A Flock of Seagulls? Well, yes, because solid pop can be created by anyone, but consistently, it’s hard. “The World We Live In” builds nicely (same beginning chords as “When you were Young”!!!), and ends nicely. The album ends without any dramatic closing track (creepy “Everything Will Be Alright” from Hot Fuss was creepy and a good closing track). So where does that leave the album?

At least when the Killers did “Hot Fuss”, we could grit out teeth and smile politely. They’ve departed for a bizarre mix of Springsteen and MGMT. I still love Brandon Flowers’ delivery, but the day he is regarded as a serious musician, is the day I top 50 views (Probably not going to happen until I upload the nudie picks of myself).

A mess? No, not totally

Some songs a mess? You betcha.

The Killers are still searching for that special style of music to fall into. And when they do, I will be right behind them scalping tickets for maximum profits. Until then…

Album Grade: C

Album in a sentence: Scattered release that feeds off island groves, straightforward rock, and a little bit of Brandon Flowers secret magic potion for song creation; cheese. 

 

The Killers -Losing Touch

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A lot has changed since Viva La Vida or Death and all His Friends came out. We elected a black man as our president (pretty cool), the Packers stink again, and that’s about it. Actually not too much has happened. This EP was released with some obvious holdovers as well as some reworking of tunes. This album also features a revolution era painting with thick uncompromising brush strokes. Fantastic!

            It starts out with basically a 12” (circa 1980s lingo) of Life In Technicolor. Now if you are familiar with the first Life In Technicolor, you know that it should replace Sirius (by the Alan Parsons Project) as the intro song for everything. Imagine it while, uh, “now introducing, your 1996 NBA Champion Chicago Bulls” or “and now for our Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council, Heather A. Higginbottom” with that song proudly playing in the background. We wouldn’t be in a recession. We would be in a success-sion. “Life In Technicolor II” is better when it’s “Life In Technicolor I” but I am happy they decided to at least try to make this a full song.

“Postcards from Far Away” is just a piano melody. Clocking in at :48 it is their second shortest tune (“Parachutes” is :46, right?), but sometimes melodies like these deserve only to be this long. Let’s just say it doesn’t waste any time, but doesn’t merit any more.

“Glass of Water” makes no real impression till the last ten seconds of the song or so when an oddly but beautiful piano chord progression bounces and Chris Martin explains that they are drinking glasses of water.

“Rainy Day” feels like it was written right after “Viva la Vida” with all the orchestral huffs and whatnot. It’s nothing special.

“Prospekt’s March/Poppyfields” is a peculiar number. It belongs on X&Y and is about as dramatic as they get. It’s smooth listening, and I have to say this song belongs on some album. I’ll put it on my debut album if they don’t mind. “Prospekt’s March” is fabulous; “Poppyfields” is not a song but just noises, but not bad ones.

“Lost+” rocks with extra umph that only a man named Jay-Z can bring. Unfortunately, we settle for someone named Shawn Corey Carter instead*.

“Lovers In Japan (Osaka Sun Mix) is an odd one because it really isn’t a mix. It’s more of a correction of the part between the chorus and the next verse. On the album, it just kind of sits there and feels unkempt and over-extended. Here, we are given neat “woahs” to clean up the mess. The song still has some pacing problems, but it does sound more focused and sharper.

“Now My Feet Won’t Touch the Ground” is “ ’Til Kingdom Come”. It is! I swear! But at only 2:30 I can excuse it.

            The album is an EP that functions as we most EPs are supposed too. They contain songs that did not make the album for a reason. And I can see this is the case for most of the tunes. Regardless, Coldplay puts out another generally enjoyable release for material hungry fans, as well as casual listeners.

Album Grade: B (low B but not B-)

Album in a sentence: This EP is mixed with some non-anthem friendly (Coldplay’s stronghold) and dull under-produced tracks while featuring some downright gems.

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            *A Joke

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I will begin with a shout-out to the awesome cover art. Honestly, If this art looked any different, the album itself would have gotten a lower great. Seriously, the artwork is an extension of the art presented by the artist (said ‘art’ 3 times, awesome). We are set up for a mildly cheese up epic of an adventure. I think of MST3K when I see the album cover. If your browse around, you see many awesome posters (link) for many very bad bad movies. I was transformed to late 80s early 90s, but was set up for disappointment. This however was a solid listen. Luke Steel basically sings with a constant puckering of his lips. It makes for strange arrangements, and even stranger successes. The album is definitely loaded for singles in the beginning giving way to more ambient and less hooky tunes at the end. Yes, some songs are not as tightly and awesomely packed as say “Walking on a Dream”, but I can handle it. “We are the People” naturally is the 2nd single worthy track on the album. “The World” is creepily helium-y. “Without You” feels more of a Spandau Ballet creation perfect for any late 80s high school dance. “Swordfish Hotkiss Night” makes me laugh. I was annoyed during my first listen to it, but I’m warm to it. Sexily Warm. It’s a satisfying and strange listen. I hear Supertramp, When In Rome’s “The Promise” (only because the chorus), and really, I can’t describe a lot of the other musical influences. 

Album Grade: B+

Album in a sentence: Meant for the late 80s, these Aussie’s create oddly accessible pop music tip-toeing the line of masterpiece and cheese. 

Album Artwork: A; best artwork for an album this year, hands down.

Empire of the Sun – Walking On A Dream

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Empire of the Sun – We are the People

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Copeland writes solid music. As described by a friend earlier, their early material can easily be identified to high schoolers experiencing adult things with over-excitement for the first time. Their sound has progressed and finally realized with “Eat Sleep Repeat”. They release their least accessible album on Columbia records and naturally, they are dropped. Now, that takes courage to do. So they are back on a different label and their sound is more realized than over. 

The album starts with “Should You Return” and sets the stage awesomely. It’s a crooning track that almost feels like it was left off “Eat, Sleep, Repeat”. To be honest, this whole album could make that claim. Some tracks more then others, but their is not a great departure from the previous album. Just a much more focused effort. None of these songs scream single to me. “The Grey Man” could be one if it was reproduced and tinkered just a bit, maybe “The Day I Lost My Voice” but that is a stretch. That’s fine though. This record’s intentions are not to be picked and chosen from. “Strange and Unprepared” is naturally the most vulnerable track on the album. It succeeds greatly where “Not So Tough Found Out” well, just kinda panders. I do like the song, but at 10 minutes long, it doesn’t build the way most of these epic closers are supposed to. It’s kind of like a review of the album. It’s got everything from those Editor like guitar rifts, horn section (i think), the voice of Rae Cassidy (from Brookfield woo woo), and scattered drum beats, but it doesn’t really build. Regardless, it’s a solid album, yet again from Copeland. Releasing better and better albums. The songs as a individuals are not as good as “Eat, Sleep, Repeat”, but this is an album review. And a good album it be. 

In a sentence: “You Are My Sunshine” coo’s with not melancholy tunes but a certain restraint that appears throughout this fantastic arrangement of semi-forgettable music tinged with jazzy sensibilities.

Grade: B

rapidshare

Copeland – The Day I Lost My Voice (The Suitcase Song)

 

EDIT: I re did the review. I have heard the album 3-4 times now. I gotta say, 3 songs are making any sort of long lasting impression. “B+” becomes “B”. Sorry Copeland

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I haven’t really been big on Keane for about a year plus now. I thought Under The Iron Sea was solid when first listening to it, but it didn’t age well for me. I find it a bit boring now. Regardless, they have blown up over the world and now try to reach new heights with their 3rd LP. It’s funny how all the new bands I got into 2-3 years ago are releasing follow up albums in the up coming months (Killers, Snow Patrol, etc.). It’s like a rehash of old favorites. I now use that word ‘favorites’ carefully with Keane. Partially because I don’t listen to them anymore.

The album starts with the single “Spiralling”. It’s a good song. Sure, the lyrics are a bit dopey, but that boppin’ bass fits so imperfectly, it worsk. Tom Chaplin’s voice soars nicely even though we can see he is doing his best Brandon Flowers (the Killers) impression. You can get away with a single like this, but unless every other song on the album hit’s these hooks, your out of luck, and you fall into another cheesy mess. Keane finds itself out of luck. They are re-working old songs (which aren’t great to start) and the album is just forgettable. I don’t understand how this can honestly be called a ‘concept’ album or ‘departure’ from the safe-zone. ‘Under the Iron Sea’ had more direction and edge, but fine. So be it. Welcome back Keane.

ALBUM GRADE: C-

 

Keane – Spiralling

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I got this album about 2 week ago (yes a leak, sue me). I’ll be honest with you readers. I don’t like this album. Well, most of it. It’s thin on actual music. Now, don’t get me wrong, I can entertain the ‘art’ of these sort of albums as much as the next music fan, but this just didn’t do it for me. It is a bad and boring album, and if anyone wants my copy of it, it is there’s. However, there is one bright spot on the album. Naturally it’s the last track. At the time of listening to it, I was generally drained and had deep resentment for anything Swedish (sorry Sven) but this track made me enjoy the good ol’ Swedishness of pop music. “At The Seaside” is what it is called. 

 

ALBUM GRADE: D+ 

Listen to Peter Bjorn and John – At The Seaside
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I just learned Sven is actually Norwegian. I can still love him… and I do.

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