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The album artwork has not been included in this post for reasons relating to its stupidity and shortage of “art”. My first impression of this album came from “Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair” which is highlighted by the idiodicy of the title that is very deliberately annunciated throughout the track. Following up from “Humbug” which was my least favourite album which Alex Turner was involved in writing, not to suggest that the album was poor, just that it didn’t strike me as his other works had.

“She’s Thunderstorms” continues this this annoyance relating to lyrics which seem lacking in direction yet appear be emphasised through the vocal with “She’s Thunderstorms” almost being looped. The song is a gentle way to open the album with strong connections to Last Shaddow Puppets sound coming through and this all seems to be a little blurred where one band starts and the other ends. This is not how I would ever have picture the Monkeys opening an album pre LSP however it’s a nice track. The concept is quite simple, but the execution is very elegant.

I can’t say that I know what a “Black Treacle” is and I refuse to waste thirty seconds googling either (maybe I did).  This is a song that has grown on me a little, but it just seems to drag with no visible sentiment or emotion being involked. The guitar work seems bland and the drumming took the day off during recording on that day. “Brick by Brick” finally starts talking some sense to me. The tempo changes through the song and the drums actually make a contribution. There is finally a sense that the music is challenging my ear and the boys finally introduce us to a fun 70’s inspired and interesting song. There is a strong QOTSA vibe that grows the more that you listen to this track, especially in the deep backing vocal used.

“The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala” once again confuses the borders of Monkeys and Last Shaddow Puppets while reintroducing us to some checky little bass work and more meaningful drumming although the song does get a little lost in the middle. It displays the best song writing of any track on the album with Turner using several different vocal techniques through the song to entice us to sing along and support from some percussion which has been well thought out. This is followed by the most drab and boring song on the album which I would prefer it if it didn’t  draw any further attention from this review.

“Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair”,  sorry but I must reinterate that this is probably one of the oddest track names/lyrics used in recent times. It’s really hard for me to get past the vocal on this song and I have really tried and for a band who were lyrically one of the absolute best through “Whatever People Say” and “Favourite Worst Nightmare” with tracks like “Yellow Bricks” and “Mardy Bum”, take your pick basically. This is an ok song musically it’s just too distracting lyrically and vocally it is dull. “Library Pictures’ takes us on a journey back to where I remember these chaps residing back in 2006. There is a real bleakness to the song and the guitars are alive for the first time on the album, however the countdown in the song should never have been allowed. The song is short and sharp yet suceeds in delivering a strong message.

“Reckless Serenade” and “All My Own Stunts” fail to introduce anything new or exciting and I am just left waiting for something to happen and by this stage songs are starting to all feel  the same, with the exception of “Piledriver Waltz” I am left looking for something to grab hold of but am finding myself cluthing at thin air. There is just too much emphasis on the vocal and it is not doing anything for me. Personally many of my favourite Monkeys songs were the ones with big, juicy bass riffs and drumming that had me bashing my stearing wheel out of shape. There are no film clips centred on drumming (The View From The Afternoon) coming from this album.

I have read through NME’s review to see if maybe I was a little harsh and to be honest it was a rather pompous in it’s attempt to tell me that I was not sophisticated enough to appreciate the sound or the use of big words like “paean” to try and make feel little. I shouldn’t need a thesaurus and the song lyrics printed out to understand the intensions of the song writer. I honestly don’t know the lyrics to many of my favourite artists well known tracks yet I can get what the song is about and I don’t get that here or from NME.

What I don’t like about this album and “Humbug” is that they have extracted the edge from the soul of the vocal by slowing it down. There is enough song writing ability in Turner’s big toe to sink five ships to make it work on the odd occasion however without an understanding of what made them the voice of a large portion of young males with their witty lyrics and edgy tones. 2011 Arctic Monkeys would never write a song about fake tales or vampires in bars and it is that raw emotion which is missing and also what made them what they were (others may argue: are). If I am feeling nostalgic in a pub in ten years time and put a few dollars in the jukebox, I highly doubt that any of these songs would get selected over any song off the first two albums. If you like the clip I have added then you will probably disagree with me.

ALBUM RATING: One for the bandwagonners….Do me a favour and stop flattering yourself


No messing about with an intro, cause this album does mess around. The album opener “Lion’s Share” is an incredible track to open the album with. It has strong paternal qualities which are carried by the lyrics and the vocal which is allowed to ebb and flow through the song by a very simple musical backing. The emphasis is definitely on the vocal, however the piano despite being quite simple, in contrast with the drum machine/synthesizer which is being quite effectively used are quite enjoyable.

“Bed of Nails” starts with a very strong electronic sound which for a while had me cringing about what I was going to hear next due to the obvious pop beats that were being used. The drumming continues to provide a simple platform and with the introduction of guitars and keys create a very busy song which the singing floats across elegantly. “Deeper” takes you in a different direction as there is a stronger guitar influence and piano offering more of a supporting role. The busy-ness of the song is quite contrasting to the slow tempo of it which gives you different toppings to explore with every bite. The vocal has a kind of Pete Murray feel to it, but the “shortness” and “burstiness” make it very invoking in a way that Pete Murray could only ever hope to be.

“Loop the Loop”, ah man. I just have to leave this track alone because any description that I would have would sell the song short, truly magical. Same goes for “Albatross” for that matter.

“Plaything” has the unfortunate task of following “Loop the Loop” and sees the drumming take control with some graceful keyboards give the song great depth. This song is the epitome of the enormity of this album as it could easily be overlooked as being more of the same yet is so capable of carrying any other mediocre album on its back. “Invisible” exemplifies the great contrast in this album as it is capable of being so much but is not what the album calls for and is cut somewhat short. The guitars are again used in an unorthodox fashion and really grab your attention. Despite the brief nature of the song, the vocal actually feels like it’s in a rush,which really works well in between the neighbouring songs on the album. “Albatross, ah, “Albatross”, what a song.

“Reach a Bit Further” brings the punch to the album with some really punchy punchness to the vocal. This song sums up what WB was trying to achieve with everything that they have brought to the table with this piece of work and it’s over in a heartbeat. “Burning” and “End Come too Soon” do a wonderful job of maintaining the emotion and passion that is generated through this album. The piano work through the album seems to reach a peak here without ever being complex or challenging.

This album has great power through the control of tempo through the vocal over very busy and often simple keyboards and percussion which are used to great effect. I often forget that the guitars are even there at times. The songs seem really complex and well written without being hard to listen to. The vocals are amazing. Best vocal I have heard in a long time, it controls every song and pulls each track in directions that feel obvious yet it can disappear at times to allow the music to take over. Each song seems to grow on the last and there is no let down in the quality of the work, every song fulfills its role in relation to the album.

It always intrigues me to look at bands’ Wikipedia pages and to see what genre’s they are listed as. I remember one listing being “Math Rock” (I thought it was Muse but I seem to be wrong), however “Art Rock” and “Dream Pop” are two of the funnier listings. But that is the thing with Wild Beasts, they defy common classification. The very correct, traditional sounding vocal which makes it difficult to pigeon hole Wild Beasts as rock. Personally I don’t agree with trying to label bands, however to recommend bands you often need to. Wild Beasts on the other hand should be experienced by everyone regardless of personal musical tastes. Having said that though, I doubt that they will appeal to everyone. As mentioned, the vocal won’t be for everyone, but the album doesn’t falter. If they ever reach mainstream I will shed tears. I can’t say enough in favour of this album, so I say adieu.

ALBUM RATING: A moving musical odyssey. Absolutely amazing. AOTY material, without doubt.

The Gorillaz are back with little rest, and why would they need any? They are cartoon characters, right? When listening to them you always know just what to expect….. a lot! With “Plastic Beach” still warm on the stove top Damon has released the follow-up without wasting any time.

The album opens with “Phoner to Arizona” which is close to my least favourite Gorillaz’ song. Well after the first few listens it was. It appeared to be just a combination of electronic noises without any vocal or direction. There is an odd vocal type noise which doesn’t work so well for me later in the song. The track does grow after a few listens however it feels like it drags as it takes it time developing into something meaningful.

Comparatively speaking “Revolving Doors” pulls on the hand brake and does a one-eighty spin back in the right direction. That familiar vocal of “Stuart” is reinstated over a bold acoustic sound crossed with electronic beats to quite dramatic effect. “Hillbilly Man” continues with a soft introduction which grows as the song morphs into a quite odd beast. This album is obviously taking steps to challenge the listener more than previous albums, which were  a little safer. The backing vocal is a little on the nose and there is a lot happening towards the end of the song and I am not so sure that it is comes together. It’s a worthy track which challenges the listener.

“Detroit” seems to be written specifically for someone who is not me. It is short and sharp and is not written to be listened to when driving to work half asleep at 6am. The extremely repetitive beat to the song can get a little grinding however the other aspects of the song are quite enjoyable which gives this track real love-hate quality.  “Shytown” brings the album back towards traditional Gorillaz framework. The song is well constructed being quite relaxed and “un-rushed” which induces a celestial feel to the sound.

The term “outer space” seems to have lost its meaning since the 70s and 80s and “Little Plastic Bags” does its best to renew the meaning of the term. There is a real feeling sense of being lost when listening to this album and no song sums up the sentiment more that this one. But, then you get to “The Joplin Spider” which is a musical reenactment of a Star Wars battle with vocal accompaniment. “The Parish of Space Dust” moves into a more post-apocalyptic vein with dark tones through the vocal contrasting against an up-beat melody and background radio reporting which flows into “The Snake in Dallas” which with “Amarillo” continue to timeless/spaceless feeling of the album which is quite haunting in parts and is achieved in part by using a lot of short tracks.

The back end continues to flow with a similar tone with out any greatly noticeable high or low-lights to mention. “Bobby in Phoenix” is probably one of the more forgettable tracks. If there is anything to fault this album by its that there is not too much variation in song structure or tone of the lead vocal.

The album feels like Damon just wanted a low-key release with some more experimental ideas. This is light on the big pop tracks that have dominated the past three albums, but is still true to that familiar Gorillaz sound. There is a sense of a concept album which tells a story of being lost in deep space and the songs seem to hold each other up. On their own they are a little confusing and lack substance at time, but as a whole they become “The Fall” which is aptly named and tell a story full of emotion and fear. Electronic samples and random talk or chatter are used to good effect to deliver on this vibe. Some of the tracks achieve this feat better than others but as a whole the album will probably be overlooked by some, while taking others on a musical journey.

ALBUM RATING: An insight into how it would feel to be lost in space

Following up from what an album which was full of angst and could have taught those Emo kids a thing or two about being Emo, The Orchestra are back with their new album “Simple Math”. Despite “Mean Everything to Nothing” bearly making a blip on the radar, these young guys from Georgia have big things waiting for them on the horizon.

“Deer” takes the kick-off an immediately takes control of possess with a gentle, country inspired acoustic track which really eases you into the album. It is an unusual way to start the album especially given way that the  song conflicts against the introduction of “Mighty”. Having said that as I have listened to the album more it has really grown on me.

“Mighty” starts with what can only be considered a cheesy 80s rock intro however as the song progresses it feels as though it is aiming for a stadium rock sound. The vocal takes some getting used to, it is a little clunky in some ways. The bridge feels a little flat and predictable at first however after a while the construction of the song begins to make sense. The chorus really saves the song which otherwise would be a forgettable song and this fact really is testament to the dedication of the song writing.

By the time the album reaches “Pensacola” I am a little confused about the varying tracks and how they are intended to fit together. The lead in to this song is horribly predictable and on the nose however the song gets better as it progresses. I am a little confused by this songs inclusion on the album. I feel like I have heard this song a thousand times on mainstream radio (there’s something 2000’s Green Day about parts of it). There are aspects of this song which work, if any this is that must skip track on the album, however I can understand that others will like this for the same reasons I don’t love it. The chorus is really quite enjoyable and fun, just needed to trim the crusts off the sandwich for me I guess. To this point, I think that that the vocal and the bands sound really carries the song writing at times and is a little bit of a surprise given what I was expecting. It’s like ordering the Peking Duck Pancakes at yum cha and then you bite into it and get a mouthful of cucumber and wrap, just not quite what you were hoping for.

“April Fool” immediately pulls the album back in the right direction with a bang of Orchestra anger which is a really catchy and fun song with a big chorus. The vocal takes over what is otherwise a pretty simple song and turns it into a powerhouse. It’s often said that less is more, well this songs agrees with this statement and contradicts it in the same breath with a super-sized serving of Hull’s tonsils. This song could easily slot right into “Mean Everything to Nothing” and is the tightest song on the album as it is very direct in what it is attempting to achieve and does it in bag fulls (yes that sentence doesn’t make sense, but I don’t care).

“Pale Black Eye” is a throw back track in terms of vocal sound from the past. Violins are a lot more prevalent on this album and combined with the guitar work on this song builds into ball of emotion with builds to a stadium rock chorus. This song is no “Shout it Out”, it is just so different from what they have done previously, it’s more matured and constructed with millimetre precision, where as previously it felt like the songs were written to fit around the vocal and not the other way around. Either way the songs work, but it’s nice to see a talented band explore with their song writing and find new ways to reinvent their brand without having a producer rebrand the sound. The guitar work is delicate and deliberate allowing the song to build and the vocal to flow.

The chorus effect which is used through “Virgin” has a big sound which with the horns that give this track a familiar feel. The use of children for backing is something that hasn’t been used for many years now and combined with the heavy guitar sound which runs through the track makes for a dark and angry piece of work. This takes me back to Pink Floyd’s “We Don’t Need No Education”. The lead vocal is normally the core feature of Orchestra songs however this song really breaks that tradition and gives great contrast with the various vocals used. By this stage we are right into the meat of the album and the edges may be a little fatty but I am pretty sure this is a rib eye fillet.

“Simple Math” was released as the lead single from this album and displays a different approach from MEtN. This is a really elegant song built on the back of a more main-stream sound with a smoother vocal from Andy Hull and an injection of violins through the chorus. The mood of the track is not as intense as on previous releases however it is still not lacking in emotion which builds with the power of the guitars through the song. Despite being a change in direction for Manchester this is evidence to a mature approach to song writing and is a real power ballad in the Orchestra sense of the word. It has taken quite a few listens, but this is a really powerful track which pulls you in a lot of different directions.

“Leave It Alone” delivers that gentle Orchestra beat with more and more voilins being used, which is not over used as it really suits the bands sound. This song really sells the modesty of the sound that these boys from Georgia can deliver, which gives a sense of intimacy that other bands could only hope to deliver. “Leaky Breaks” is a great closing song in a similar vein that “505” was for the Monkeys as it leaves you wanting more and floats off into the background. This is probably the biggest screwball thrown by the Orchestra’s pitching rotation. With a smooth vocal Hull, takes us on a journey and leaves us with some soothing “oohs” to end the album.

The review took me some time to write because initially I started out writing a “meh” review as the album took some getting used to. The big punch that “Mean Everything to Nothing” seemed to be missing and there was a lack of flow between the songs especially at the start of the album. There is a distinct attempt to stretch the sound of the band and to explore its possibilities, there are some softer tracks which really are great on their own, but feel a little out of place next to some of their colleagues at times despite being great songs on their own. It is a genuinely good album without requiring any coat tails of previous albums to keep it aloft.

ALBUM RATING: Lacking in continuity but not in substance

I will kick off with a confession that I have not listened to Noah and the Whale in the past, however with all of the fuss that I have heard about this album, I kinda felt that with little else to review at the moment that they probably deserve a run.

I totally understand what the band was trying to achieve when they wrote “Life is Life” and they have almost achieved it with probably the best song that I listened to. This song is driven by the vocal which is well constructed without being mind blowing.

Following this is “Tonight’s the Kind of Night” which should not be listened to by anyone with a dairy allergy (waiting, waiting, yes a cheap joke is coming you know it)…..cause this song has every type of cheese forced into it. It’s like a giant block of swiss with people standing around it holding in all of the other cheeses (I don’t care if this is a word, cause it is now) in but its so cheesy that it’s about to errupt in a cheese explosion. Yes this song will probably be popular with  the current generation of kids, well I ain’t one of them. This song is just horrible in every sense and if you can’t see that for yourself than you need to get yourself some ear glasses (bad jokes are really flowing right now).

“L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.” achieves everything that the group failed on with that other thing I just had to listen to. It is still borderline cheesy however the song is fun and light, but is well enough written that it doesn’t quite have permanent residence in Gouda Country. “Wild Thing” is ok in parts but feels like a hundred other soft rock songs that I have heard before that I feel like its wasting my time.

This is an album which I have difficulty getting past the first few songs as the vocal is a little whiny and girly. I fight myself and try and make myself overcome my issues with it, but it’s just not happening for me. I am cutting the review short on this one, cause I found that vocal so bland, uninteresting and constantly got on my nerves. There is not enough  musical content for me to get past it as everything about this album is so predictable and although there are some ok/tollerable songs here, I really didn’t enjoy this album. There is simply nothing indentifiably unique about their sound that would draw me to listen to their music, everything seems to revolve around the vocal which I can’t stand. Next!

ALBUM RATING: Heaven for some, Hell for others

Finally. With much anticipation and feeling very nervous about what I was going to hear, the second album from The Wombats was before me. I had already heard “Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves)” and knew that the much-loved harmonies that were prevalent throughout the first album were on the way out, which was to be expected.

The album kicks off with “Our Perfect Disease” which makes it very clear that these boys have moved on since 2007. It’s a dark way to kick off an album and reintroduced a few of the tools that were really effectively use on Guide. Lyrically, you can feel the anguish in this song with “I need you” being a resonating through the song.

“Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves)”, which I first heard somewhere around July last year, should require no introduction to ‘Bats fans. Following from OPD, it feels as though you are waking up the next day after something tragic. When I first heard this track I wasn’t a huge fan, but now it has a real familiarity to it which does assist in getting acquainted with this album. It is quite heavy on synth however it does this in a professional manner and the song possesses good balance.

The darker side returns with “Jump into the Fog” and the song possesses a very gloomy feel, with the keys that are being used and as the song progresses the vocal contrasts well off it, while maintaining that angsty feel that ruled “Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation”. This is a real deep song from a band who were all about pop and the fears of teenagers only 4 years ago. The drumming on this song is much more involved than on their debut which was a lot more vocal centric. The sound used with the keyboards gives that musty feel of fog horns across a bay that provide a strong backdrop for the optimism that grows through the vocal trying to find a way out. It is obvious that this stage that this release is the yang to the debut albums yin in terms of mood.

The violins that open “Anti-D” have a very morbid feel to them especially of the back of Fog. As I try to comment on this song I can only think one thing… This is not at all what I expected while day dreaming about this album. Someone must have been constantly chewing on prozac while writing this track to get the feel just right. By this point it is quite evident that these guys are determined to drop the pop rock tag, however, I get the feel that this may not convert into chart success, but then that’s only one of many reasons to write an album. “Last Night I Dreamt…” follows this and makes no attempt to change the tone of the album. Not my favourite song on the album, yet it warrants its place providing the ebb and flow of emotion that rolls through the album with a release of confused feelings, “I tend to cry in a room full of laughter”.

“Techno Fan” is oddly named and it is not at all what you might expect, I pictured a funny song making fun of techno fans, but it actually turns out to be an enjoyable little pop song. Not too far removed from their debut album in terms of the techniques that they have employed, although in this instance the backing vocal being implemented seems to be feminine to work with the softer feel of the synthesizers. Unfortunately, I don’t like the use of synth as much on “1996” which I really don’t understand, it sounds a little too boy-band mainstream in parts.

By the time the intro of “Walking Disasters” comes around I am starting to get over the electro sound a little. Just when you are thinking that it is over it returns through the chorus, there are elements of this song that are enjoyable and it could have done with a little more work and a stronger chorus. “Girls/Fast Cars” is full of background noises which I find are not contributing to the song which disappear as the song progresses and it feels a little Muse inspired with the sci-fi feel. “Schumacher the Champagne” ends the album in an odd tone leaving the listener a little confused as to the two sides of the album, the dark and gloomy and the last few tracks which kinda just happen and drop any mood that was built.

This album makes you want to crawl under your doona (duvet/comforter, I make no excuse for being Aussie) and find a reason to feel sorry for yourself. The album feels like a journal of what seems to have been not the standard rise to fame for a group of young lads hitting the big time. It full of anguish and emotion and the most grim album I have heard in a long time. Having said this there is a real beauty and elegance to the songs, it’s just too bad it just doesn’t carry it for the full ten tracks.

ALBUM RATING: Very different/dark output from a very versatile band, worth the wait

OK so yeah this was released over a year ago, but I kinda missed this one even though I was familiar with many of the tracks through the radio. Two Door Cinema Club bring a big electro/rock pop sound that has drawn a lot of comparisons since their debut album with their primary tool of choice being lots of energy.

The album opens with a very Bloc Party inspired twaggy intro that develops further into “Cigarettes in the Theatre” with enough punch to leave you with a nice shinner. The drumming beat is quite simple but it ensures that the song never lets up and provides the base which allows for contrasting tempo as the song develops. The vocal which doesn’t stray too much through the album, is quite boyish or feminine and is not off-putting and reminds me of Phoenix lead singer Thomas Mars.

For a band who have only one album to their credit they immediately follow-up with another big pop song “Come Back Home” which is very easy to identify with as it is loaded with more pop beats and flowing vocals. At first listen you might be tempted to think that a young band is trying to make a name for themselves with a couple of singles on a front loaded album but this never develops. “Do You Want It All” has skip me written across its face with a very predictable sound and feel, however it provides a change in tempo for what is a very up tempo album. Don’t be fooled though cause this song changes pace and is bouncing off the walls before you know it. With the introduction of “This is the Life” quickly following I find myself pushing this album away, however this song sits on the border of Cheese Town.Depending on my mood decides whether I consider it to be an inhabitant or not.

This is quickly forgotten though. “Something Good can Work” follows and is such a fun, drag your woman to the dance floor tune that is over almost by the time you get there, but that is ok because you can just stay there for “I Can Talk” and work on your robot dancing and watch her return to her seat as you bounce around like a tool. This song shows of the guitar driven side of the band which to me is the strength of the band who fall back on electro sounds to fill in the gaps.

By the time “Undercover Martyn” reaches your ears, you think that you have seen all that TDCC have to offer, but these guys have energy in their sound. The sound is a little one dimensional, but having said that, it works. “What you Know” proves this by providing a platform for Trimble’s gentle vocal which is a perfect fit for the general sound of the band, which is light and fluffy. The song rolls and gains momentum until it reaches the point where it is firmly stuck in your head.

The back-end of the album continues with much of the same rush that the remainder of the album just left with. This could easily be cut back in order to make the album tighter, given their sound they shouldn’t be trying to put out double albums, more love me and leave me nine track numbers. There are some borderline forgettable songs here, I am looking at you “Kids” while they aren’t horrible they just don’t add to the album.

“I Can Talk” has to be one of the catchiest and fun songs of 2010. This has to be pretty close to what musical heroin must be like, as the song ebbs and flows it ends but holding you in its arms and then dropping you onto the dance floor. Having said this, it is hard to decide by the end which song is your favourite as there are quite a few strong tracks here to the point that I always worry about young bands and whether they should hold on to one or two to ensure they don’t become one hit wonders. This is a really enjoyable album which could liven up a funeral, however every time I listen to it I worry what their second album will be. TDCC could easily get into bed with the wrong producer and cut back on the guitars which I have seen all too often to the detriment of bands.

ALBUM RATING: LSD in musical form

I first stumbled upon Lykke Li on the first Twilight soundtrack which personally I thought was an amazing compilation with some fantastic artists, yet I never managed to convince anyone that it was any good. Her track “Possibility” was just so beautiful, dark and haunting at the same time, showed immense depth beyond her years.

I hate to say that the talents of Lykke will be somewhat lost on the young female audience who generally hoard towards any act with a female vocalist and don’t look forward to seeing her live.

The album title aided by the artwork is somewhat misleading. I initially had the impression that this would be a dark and emotional musical experience, yet this could not be further from the truth. This album has a more mainstream sound than I expected, yet is still quite an enjoyable listen.

“Youth Knows No Pain” sets the tone early with a nice short pop track to open the album. There are a lot of elements with some nice keys, percussion and strong vocals overlapping to provide a solid entrance to the album. “I Follow Rivers” continues off the quality pop sound with a really catchy and addictive sound that grows every time you listen to it. It is the signature track in a sense for this album as you can enjoy it at a fun, pop song yet it is also much deeper if you are so inclined. This is definitely one of the best songs out there from the first half of the year.

“Love out of Lust” turns towards the deeper, heartfelt side that I was expecting from this album. It is slower and softer than the previous songs and really shows off Lykke’s gentle, almost girlish voice.

“Unrequited Love” is probably never going to be my favourite track on this album. It really doesn’t sell the vocal even with a stripped back sound, having said that though the backing vocals are quite enjoyable and save the track before it starts getting on my nerves.

“Get Some” is a song that has me listening to the lyrics trying to figure out what the song is about (I have read them and yeah, let’s leave it at that). It’s a good little pop track if you are able to separate yourself from the lyrics and just enjoy the song. The song shows off some nice percussion and that familiar floating vocals. Like the other up beat tracks on the album, it really has addictive qualities which flow from the brilliant use of the vocal as the primary instrumental sound through the song and very abstract drumming. By this stage I seem to have forgotten what I had wanted from this album and am really hooked.

The keyboard sound that leads into “Rich Kids Blues” seems in vogue of late and really reminds me of something by the Arctic Monkeys, of their Humbug days. Despite this, the song goes in a very different direction and stays away from a darker sound. “Sadness is a Blessing” is another song title that suggests something hauntingly beautiful yet seems not to even attempt to deliver on the promise. Using an intriguing drum-kit sound and a very simple piano as backing. This song seems to attempt to pull at the heart-strings but it’s just too fast paced and the vocal has too much warmth which is very confusing. Once again, I find myself forgetting the lyrics and just enjoying the music as it misses the mark to a degree.

“I Know Places” brings you back to where “Youth Novel” left off, with a very bare and gentle acoustic sound supported by a male backup vocal which really gives the first taste of that heart-felt sound that I was waiting for. This is the highlight of the album as the songwriting never tries to do too much and allows the song to flow with little effort. The song transitions into an instrumental piece which flows on beautifully from the first part of the song. This is exactly what I had hoped for from this album and it continues with that warm tone on “Jerome” which takes a move in a more up tempo direction, with more some interesting electronic sounds that keep folding back through the track and reflects well off the vocal.

Percussion is a key element to this album and it’s no surprise that the closing track “Silent My Song” features an entrance that is heavy in industrial sounding drumming machine. I really love this kind of pop music and I keep using that word, however this will never tear down the charts. It’s just not the kind of thing that would ever sell in the States, which for me is great as I don’t have to have it ruined by the shopping mall radio which I think is probably still playing Kings of Leon on loop. I could rant on all day about this album, but really just go and listen to it cause it’s a ripper. Watch this space, because I think this young lady is about to take over the indie scene.

ALBUM RATING: Brilliant pop album displaying a very unique vocal

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