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A new young band from ye old London town going under the name of The Vaccines have hit the town and haven’t they caused a stir.  Probably one of the more high profile debut releases on the British charts since the Arctic Monkeys announced themselves to the world, by reaching the #4 spot with their album “What did you expect from the Vaccines?”

The album kicks off with the very short and sweet “Wreckin’ Bar” which is generous way of putting it. It’s a nice little track, but really they could have put a little more time and effort into it. It doesn’t quite open the album in the way that “Girls, Boys and Marsupials” does for the ‘Bats, where the track is obviously just an intro/exit piece. On the flip side “Wreckin’ Bar” has been released as a single and leaves me wondering what they were trying to achieve.

Now that I have had my whinge for the day we can get down to business. The second track “If You Wanna” gives a lot more substance to dig your claws into. There is some really simple techniques implemented with the drumming and tambourines, simply put this is a nice little pop rock song (in the alternative sense, not the Pink sense…..shudders). From here you are taken onto “A Lack of Understanding” which shows that these rookies have an idea of song writing based on the “patented Schnitz theory of musical longevity”. The theory basically states that if the band can put together a decent slow track (relatively speaking in terms of this album) then they can write songs and will last the test of time. I really like this track , but I really want it to be a little longer. Maybe should have been a bit of a seventh inning stretch song. The most evident thing on this track is the vocals which are really solid. He sounds like Martin McVeigh of The White Lies, although not as haunting and dark.

“Blow it up” starts nowhere and just doesn’t see to go anywhere. Enough said. “Wetsuit” follows this up and it just feels as though the album is going through the motions. Saying “C’mon” thirty times in a track doesn’t constitute song lyrics and gets on your nerves after a few listens. When listening to the song, I just find myself waiting for it to end, but unfortunately it’s not as short as “Wreckin’ Bar”. What does “Put a Wetsuit on” or “Put a t-shirt on” mean? Seriously, no really buying into it.

“Norgaard” gives a step up in pace and energy, but really I wanted it about half a track earlier. This is a fun song which makes me wish I was seventeen again and gets the album back on track. If there were more songs of this calibre then this band could have a real future and then a hundred seconds later its over. “Post Break Up Sex” is the highlight of the debut and is a decent output, however I am just not sure what I can say to is good about it? Lyrically this song could teach a few of its buddies a lesson or too.

The back end of the album definitely shows of a little more creativity with “Wolf Pack” and “All in White”, but I am just not feeling it by this stage. Also it has taken an interesting turn away from the punk vibe which was flowing through the start of the album that really has me confused as to what this album is trying to be.

As I write this I am finding that the songs feel short and it’s as though the band was is in a hurry to be somewhere else when they wrote it. It’s not until the fifth track that anything reaches past the three minute mark and I know, I know they are working with a bit of a punk theme, but every song doesn’t need to be written for radio. Please write the occasional track for me, the listener, I pay your wages!

Ok, so we have made it through the album and I finally have a chance to sit back and think about what I have been listening to, ’cause geez, The punchy and rushed nature of the sound makes the tracks feel short and the fact they genuinely are short makes the album feel like its around fifteen minutes long. This is tidy little debut album, however I am not quite seeing what all the buzz is about. There are not really any killer tracks to discuss and the individual songs don’t change tempo for start to finish. The drumming throughout is pedestrian and very unimaginative, the vocals feel the same on every track with a lack of emotion and there is no experimentation with different instruments to offer any variety.

I’ll definitely give this a few listens, but once done it will probably just gather dust. The sound would probably transfer well to the stage, but why would I want to go to a concert full of twenty year olds breaking their concert cherries to see a mediocre band, when I could save $80, stay at home and put the cd on and allow it to put me to…….

ALBUM RATING: Not sure what all the hype is about, album is ok

Probably not the best place to start with this album review would be the album title “Skit I Allt” which essentially translates to fuck it all. The reason I say this is that it truly doesn’t reflect the feel of the album. The sound is as crisp and deliberate as Dungen have ever been while remaining true to their past, however this album is a bit more folk influenced then I remember them being.

I had been looking forward to Dungen releasing some new work for a while after hearing Tame Impala’s cover of “Remember Me” and thinking for around a month that it was Dungen, similar are the psychedelic sounds of the two bands. After finding this band as a support act for Wolfmother of all bands (before their 2nd album, aka mental meltdown) at the Hordern a few years back, I have kept them as my personally little secret, hoping that by me not telling my small group of friends that they wouldn’t make it big and ruin their sound. So I apologise to the band for the delay on reviewing their now 6 month old album and holding back their careers.

The album opens with “Vara Snabb” which is the first of many tracks to show off the flute sounds which direct traffic through this album and allow the other instruments to contrast off it. The recognisable tones of those Dungen guitars are there and they feel like they are under tight reign to the point that they almost are lost in the background, but they are very noticeable on repeat listens. This is a classy instrumental track which sets the tone of album and is simply mind blowing.

“Min Enda Van” is such a beautiful track that shows off great song writing ability and control. Violins, flute and piano elegantly folded together to create oral orgasm with really simple and effective clapping used instead of drumming which really works well with the track.

“Brallor” is a track that I have like certain aspects yet hate others at the same time. This is the first time that I have come across Dungen using a female vocalist, I know that I make this sound like a negative, I can’t help who I am. I love the transitions in this song and the growling guitars that I am at home with when listening to Dungen. At times the female vocals seem ok and then they introduce the harmonies and it really grates on me as the contrasting vocals don’t work for me. This is that track on the album that I hate cause it breaks the continuous feel of the album and forces me to use the skip button. I must add, that I am not a fan of too many female singers, however on this track it just doesn’t add anything and just works as a distraction from the rest of the song which is really not that bad at all.

This album is what I envision “The Priest” from The Mighty Boosh ended up writing after killing Beta-max. Introducing, “Hogadalstoppen”. “Barnen Undrar” is a fantastic piece of psychedelic rock showing off the fuzzy guitar sound that Dungen fans would be all too familiar with and somehow manages to lead effortlessly into the track “Blandband” which surely isn’t an English title as Ejstes’ song writing is anything but grey. The album is full of little adventures as the sound ebbs and flows with subtle changes from track to track culminating in the closer “Marken Lag Stilla” which brings everything to a close.

This comes across as one of those albums that you think you can put on while you’re doing housework or on a long road trip, assuming that it will drift into the background, yet it never allows that to happen. The band has definitely taken a turn in a softer direction as the guitars and drumming are toned down and there is more focus on percussion and flutes on this album. That is not to suggest that there is anything lacking, it’s just that this album feels more folk than psychedelic compared with previous albums which honestly threw me off a little at first. The song construction is second to none and the instruments and vocals come and go as they please yet never feel like they are intruding. This album makes me feel like I should be sitting back in a deck chair with a cool beer and a blindfold when I listen to it and not on the side of the road swapping registration information with the car I just back-ended. Oh well, Skit I Allt!!!

ALBUM RATING: They could easily be using a restaurant menu for their lyrics, but who cares; the sound is the same old solid Dungen, with just a little more chilled out

Check out what you have missed over the past decade. Not too bad of a list, nothing is  ever going to be exactly what you want.

 

http://www.nme.com/list/the-top-100-greatest-albums-of-the-decade/158049/page/10

The best place that I can recommend to start, with Beady Eye is to check the YouTube clip out below. The sound will be very familiar to a whole range of music listeners both young and old given where this group of musicians past and their influences on this album.

Beady Eye are essentially made up of those who have managed to scrape their way out from under rubble that was once known as Oasis. In other words, anyone not named Noel. The opening track “Four Letter Word” doesn’t quite deliver the punch that the title suggests, it’s by  no means a bad track and is not far removed from the very familiar Oasis sound of yesteryear.

The following song “Millionaire” moves away from the Oasis-like vocal and brings a country sounding 60s number, which seems to go round and round with out ever reaching a purpose. This song really started to grind on me after a while, and doesn’t really seem to serve any purpose other than to provide a transition into “The Roller” which is a far better song. Despite this fact though, there are some distinctively “Beatle-esc” guitars and tambourine use, which just feels a little too close to the real thing to really represent an original piece of work. By this point of the album my mind has started drifting and I am wondering which Beatles album I should have put on as opposed to Beady Eye.

The album continues with this tone through the tracks “Beatles and Stones” and “Wind Up Dream” which are decent songs and easy to listen to, it’s just the familiarity and continued tempo of the tracks which fail to stand out from one another and blend into a continuous tribute album. “For Anyone” is a rip off if every I heard one. Everything I hear screams “Beatles!!” about it to the point that I feel that they need to be taken to court and forced to pay royalties, so close is the sound.

“Bring the Light” brings some classic 60s rock and roll sounds and gives a modern feel to them in what is probably my favourite musical experience of the album, and probably also my favourite song. I think this is what Oasis-lite was trying to achieve when they set out to make this album, to take an existing style and expand and modernise it. It has a great energy and I love the old-school piano work that they added to this song that has some great punch to it.

“Wigwam” is a track which is the track which derived my theory that this album was in part written with the goal of being directed towards a live sound, with the drum solo of sorts that starts the song off in the right direction, yet seems to fizzle as it progresses. The back  end of the album, unfortunately is a continuation of the same.

If you like the Beatles then you will enjoy this album, however it just seems so similar to me that why wouldn’t you just pull out your favourite Beatles album and listen to that instead? I think that the group have delivered exactly what they set out to achieve, however I am just not sure if its for me. I don’t understand the reason for writing an album which sounds so much like another bands work. I cant’ figure out the motivations and I don’t hate it, I simply don’t understand it. Having said this, I feel like this makes for some great music here that would deliver well to a room full of people.  I don’t mind the fact that they have used such a classic band for inspiration, it just feels like a little more than inspiration and needs to find its own sound and carve out its own identity by incorporating some new sounds into the mix.

 

ALBUM RATING: Feels like a Beatles cover album by Oasis. A little bit too predictable to be inspiring

 

Here is a taste of what Alex Turner of the Artic Monkeys has been up to in writing the soundtrack for Submarine by Richard Ayoade. He is obviously a very busy young man, with The Monkeys set to release their fourth album on June 6th and a side project to boot. Only 6 tracks long, there is not much in terms of quantity to sink your teeth into, so check it out.

 

After a five year hiatus, Julian Casablancas and The Strokes are back with their fourth studio album titled “Angles”. The band started working on this album with Joe Chicarelli, who in recent times has worked with The Shins and The White Stripes, which lead me to think that this may be a flop in the making.

The album opens with the track “Machu Picchu” which gives the listener an immediate impression of what this album is about. The vocals are gentler, the guitars are warmer and the overall sound is full and mature from their earlier days as well as showing off a distinctly new direction, from a band that may be accused of being a little safe for the past two albums.

Don’t be fooled by the tone of this review. If you are after an album which feels like “Is This It” well you will have a few tracks which are up are your alley, having said that though there will be people that I assume will find the follow on from “Phrases for the Young” (I don’t care how Julian spells the title, I refuse to use US English in MY review) a little too “poppy” for a want of a better word, with a lot less raw emotion put into the songs.

The lead single “Under Cover of Darkness” had me a little confuzzled at first listen. I didn’t know what to make of it. The song felt a little confused itself and I didn’t know how to react. The more I hear this song, the more I love it. This is exactly the song that the alternative rock community needed to drag the kids away from the deamons of the garbage dance music that they listen to these days (end rant).

The bass guitar work is fantastic throughout the album with the highlight being the “Taken for a fool”, but who would guess otherwise as Fraiture has always been a rock for The Strokes and doesn’t get the credit that he deserves. Even on this track you find your self getting dragged away that funky as bass sound and drawn into Casablancas’ vocal which is clearly showing off great flexibility from earlier works.

I absolutely loved “Gratisfaction” from the first moment that I heard it. The song is chock full of fun and energy, it really makes it hard not to smile and tap away on the steering wheel as you drive along. The band then follows up with “Metabolism” which is quite chunky and brings back the Strokes sound of old, with that distinctive vocal taking control.

The songs are well written with much of the bands signature drumming style and guitar sound surviving the groups extended vacation. The sound is quite deliberate with no sense of fodder, the album title “Angles” suggests that Casablancas and co had a good understanding as to what they had created with this album. Parting was with their original producer didn’t phase them in the slightest.

I am not going to say that this is the best Strokes album, having said that, it is their best. The have never displayed such range or maturity in their sound on previous albums in the way that they have here. The Strokes have never been a band that have demanded listeners to sit down and take a lesson in rock, but that is exactly what they are doing here. Not that the band demands much commitment to gain reward, it’s just that the sound is fuller and more layered than before. The band has taken a lot of ideas and managed to fit them into on album and make it work. There is some great funky sounds on this album with some really great guitar work and people wanting to judge them as past their best should give this a chance.

This album gives me the impression that the band was trying to please too many people and comes off as somewhat disjointed from track to track, despite this though the sound is strong and as each song is enjoyable on its own you can easily get past the lack of flow. I think this comes down to the band not being certain about what they are after such a long lay off and side projects to boot. I must say I love this album and think that it will be tough to run this down in album of the year stakes.

ALBUM RATING: A bit of everything for all varieties of Strokes fans

In conversation with Tristian the other day there was 2 bands that I mentioned that I realllly, realllly wanted new music from TVOTR and Grissly Bear. I scored with 1/2, so am very pleased.

Here is the new single from TVOTR who are clearly showing off their softer side with a nice track. The band’s new album “Nine Types of Light” is due on the shelves on on April 12th. Check out the single for yourself below:

Unfortunately for some, Splendour in the Grass is returning to Woodford, Qld despite a large push to return the festival to the Byron Bay region. Lineup and ticket release are soon to follow.

Dates: July 29th-31st 2011

Chatting with Tristian the other day, I mentioned planning to work on a review of “Mine is Yours”, only to find out that he was not at all interested in hearing this album. “Mine is Yours” is the third studio album from CWK after the somewhat disappointing “Loyalty to Loyalty” its predecessor “Robbers and Cowards” which was an enormous success. I started out by reminding myself what “Loyalty to Loyalty” was about and honestly is wasn’t as forgettable as I had labelled it.

The first that I had heard of this album was the lead single “Louder Than Ever” which had really got me feeling that this band had remembered what it was all about. The track is definitely by far the champion of the album and could easily slot onto the bands debut album “Robbers + Cowards”.

The album opens with the title track “Mine is Yours”,  and is a nice little opening track, which it really sets a good foundation and tone for the rest of the album. A very nice contribution in terms of lyrics backed up with some emotive vocals remind you how this band made its name. Once “Louder than Ever” is finished doing its thing, the album moves on to “Royal Blue” which injects some nice percussion, piano and bass guitar. This is a nice little track which offers so much, yet leaves you feeling like you ate a 2 course dinner when you ordered 3 courses.

“Finally Begin” is a weird track, I seem to love it one minute and then am grossed out by it the next. The guitar transitions in the song are really predictably pop sounding and are simply there as support to the vocals. The song is just neither here nor there and needs an injection of something to give it some identity.

“Out of the Wilderness” is probably the most adventurous track on the album from a band which I feel is quite narrow in what they try and achieve. The sound is big and bold, while retaining a gentle feel. I get the sense that maybe this song would have worked better as a closing track as opposed to the middle of the album. They also could have tried merging it with “Skip the Charades” and really challenged the listener.

The back end of the album, seems to lag a bit with “Bulldozer” being a real love it or hate it track. It has a nice little bass line which is not serviced all that well by the chorus.  The album really needs a injection of something in the later stages as the sound can get a little monotonous at times, I get the feeling that this is due to the vocals and absent drumming, more than anything else. I get the feeling that CWK are trying to show a transition in the album to a darker side at the end, however it doesn’t really go dark as I would like to hear and is really just a collection of songs as opposed to a united piece of work.

Overall, the bands sound has not changed course since the first album, which gives them a sense of familiarity which at times works but at other times you are left with a feeling that they are just flogging the same old product straight off the conveyor belt. This album will grab some people’s attention however it fails to grab hold of my shirt and make me listen to it over and over. I will definitely have an ear out to see what they do next, however if it isn’t a little more edgy and new then they may be getting locked away in the basement. The biggest disappointment of the album is the drumming, where was it? Was it even there? It’s as though he went on holidays to Spain for a few months while the band was writing the album and came back with 2 weeks remaining in the recording studio. The disappointing thing about this album is that it stinks of complacency and doesn’t challenge the listener as they are surely capable. This review is probably a little harsh, however this is a band capable of blowing your socks off and they just aren’t doing that with this release.

ALBUM RATING: Few great tracks, overall listenable

This was just released yesterday. Not sure what I think of it. Don’t hate the new stuff that the Monkeys have released but part of me certainly does wish that they would move back to the high intensity, fast paced sounds of yonder.