In 2011, when Unknown Mortal Orchestra released their debut self titled album, not liking Unknown Mortal Orchestra in some circles was considered a crime against New Zealand. It was a bit like saying you didn’t like The Hobbit or Sir Edmund Hillary .
If I’d been better looking I’d have been labelled an ultra-hipster for my view that they were over-rated and that there was nothing ‘stand-out’ about them that raised them above the rest except for their Mint Chicks pedigree.
The thing is, I was wrong. I was wrong because I missed the point. Unknown Mortal Orchestra didn’t write stand out tunes that jumped out at you and that you felt straight away. The thing is, they did stand out but they stood out in your mind later – the complex, meandering guitar, the strange drum patterns, the vocals buried deep in the mix. I should have known better. You could say that I was late coming to the party.
I wasn’t going to make the same mistake about their sophomore effort and luckily for me I didn’t have to because, to get my biggest criticism of II out of the way early on, its not a massive progression in terms of style.
Another reason I was unlikely to hold the same initially silly view of II as their first album is that it does grab for instant accessibility more: tracks like One at a Time couples the trademarked Orchestra/Chicks drum-line with catchy riffs, melody and toys with the risk of a brass instrument for melodic effect. This is my favourite track.
So Good at Being in Trouble, shown below, indicates this movement to accessible and ‘pretty’ pop.
In many ways So good at Being in Trouble sets the tone of the album, even the more musically interesting tracks. The Opposite of Afternoon’ and No Need for a Leader are the most energetic tracks on here, but the energy is lighter and less immediate than anything on the debut.
The delight I (eventually) derived from the first album was that within the fuzz and chaos there were tunes that stuck in the back of your mind, almost as if waiting to appreciated later. With II, you have the same ‘save it for later’ beauty, but its not buried amongst the noise but in soporific guitar. The driving drums are still there, if anything they are more exposed and thus heavier on II than the debut.
As pretentious as it sounds to call something a ‘think piece’, and most of the time I hate any piece of music someone tells me to think about, there is no other way I think of describing why I like Unknown Mortal Orchestra and this is a rare rare thing.
It will probably come as an immediate revelation to some people, but remember, I was late in coming to this party.
Remember that time when one of your fave bands put out a couple of epic hardcore records, and then the vocalist pulled the “musical differences” card, upped sticks and left to work on a new project with the former guitarist of another great hardcore band?
For me, that time was about July 2011, when Frank Carter quit Gallows and joined up with Jim Carroll of The Hope Conspiracy in a band called Pure Love. I knew the hardcore scene was quite incestuous, but I was intrigued by Frank’s “musical differences” and then forming a band with Jim.
Fast forward to April 2012, and the release of Pure love’s debut single, ‘Bury My Bones’.
Imagine my surprise at hearing the man who once spat “we have no fear, we have no pity … we hate you, we hate this city” melodiously singing ” I’m so sick of singing about hate, it’s never gonna make a change”. After the initial shock, I realised that I was tapping my foot and that it was actually a damn fine track. And I wanted more. But I was going to have to wait until February 2013.
So now its here, and its incredible. I can’t stop listening to it, and on each rotation I hear something new or get a different vibe. I can hear elements of Morrissey, Ocean Colour Scene, Paul Weller, The Auteurs, The Cult, The Fratellis, to name but a few. It’s jingly-jangly in places, and rocks out in others. It’s radio friendly and incredibly catchy. It’s completely different from what I expected, and I love it.
The production is smooth, and has just the right amount of shine to it – the guitars still have bite without being overpowering. It’s a brilliant all purpose album, good for amping up for a night out or enjoying some beverages in the summer sun. I’ve largely ignored the “indie rock” genre for most of my life, and lived on a steady diet of metal and hardcore, but I’m sure glad that loving hardcore has brought me to this record – it’s gonna be on high rotation for the foreseeable future, and I can’t wait for the followup.
For the uninitiated, here’s some Gallows and Hope Conspiracy:
Gallows – ‘Abandon Ship’ (from the album “Orchestra of Wolves”)
The Hope Conspiracy – ‘Greed Taught, War Driven, Born To Die’ (from the EP “True Nihilist”)
If the Mayans were wrong about the apocalypse, then surely the release of a new My Bloody Valentine album is a much more significant sign that the end times are upon us. Their last album – the undeniably classic Loveless – was released in 1991, and despite the band never officially breaking up, the development of a follow up has been in the works since the mid 90s. Just think about all the water under the bridge since then: since Loveless‘s release we’ve had grunge, the entire golden era of hip hop, the rise of electronic music, hell, even the internet wasn’t around to any recognisable extent in 1991. The world is a very different place since My Bloody Valentine last released some original music. That’s a lot of historical baggage to be saddled with.
The trick to enjoying new albums from classic bands is to listen to them for what they are: forget about the legacy and avoid comparisons with the artist’s former work. And the best approach from the artist’s perspective is to not give a shit about any of this, and just go with what you feel. Which, it is a relief to say, is exactly what My Bloody Valentine have done with with their sublimely beautiful, twenty-plus-years-in-the-making m b v. For this reason I’m going to attempt to avoid any direct comparisons to Loveless in the review below.
The album opens with the wonderfully down-tempo “she found now” (all of the song titles are lower case) and instantly we’re surrounded by swirls of feedback and Kevin Shields’ ethereal, distant vocals. It’s not exactly the My Bloody Valentine that we know and love, but that’s sort of what’s great about it. A haunting, beautiful and fitting introduction to the album.
Second track “only tomorrow” is a bit closer to what we’ve come to expect sonically form MBV in the past. Belinda Butcher’s vocals rise and fall over a heavily distorted guitar and mid-tempo beat. An instant classic worthy of anything in MBV’s canon. “who sees you” is more classic MBV (in as much that the wonderfully eccentric My Bloody Valentine could ever do something that was considered typical) with those fantastic bendy guitars and a Kevin Shields vocal buried deep in the mix. It’s about this point you realise how much you’ve missed them in the twenty years that they’ve been in the wilderness and that m b v is a more than worthy addition to their body of work.
If there is a singular weak point of the album, it is track number four, “is this and yes”. A seemingly half formed Belinda Butcher number consisting largely of vocals and keyboards, it doesn’t really seem to go anywhere and overstays its welcome at 5 minutes long. It does provide a nice mid point to the album, however – sort of like an intermission – in as much that an album of nine songs can be considered to have a beginning, middle and end.
“if i am” is a return to form swirly/echoey number, and we’re back in business. Following that is the truly wonderful “new you”, arguably the closest the band has ever come to a true pop song. It’s wonderful: built around an upbeat, bouncing bassline, it’s equal parts guitar pop and downbeat electronica. It really is a thing to behold: if m b v has a ‘hit’ single (an admittedly undesirable thought) then this is it. Different enough from their back catalouge to stand out, familiar enough to leave you in no doubt as to the identity of it’s performers, the thought of a song as great as this sitting in a vault for 20-odd years gives me the shivers. Perhaps it is a new song – a thought that will help me sleep at night.
Track seven “in another way” boasts a fantastic drumbeat reminiscent of the Stone Roses at their most danceable (“Begging You”, say), and some incredible guitar work right up the front of the mix. To die for. That said, “nothing is” is the closest to a straight dance anthem on the album – a pure instrumental in 2/4 timing that just grinds into your skull with some wonderful guitar harmonics ringing out over and over until just when you think your skull is going to cave in, it fades out and we’re at the last track of the album.
There were rumours in the mid-90s that Kevin Shields’ work was becoming increasingly influenced by the then-huge UK Jungle music scene. Album closer “wonder 2″ is the embodiment of this. Built around a heavily distorted and warped, but recognisable jungle beat, the rest of the song is then wrapped in Shield’s trademark fuzzy psychedelic sound and the result is extraordinary. A true anthem that builds and builds until the album’s finale.
And that’s why m b v works where so many other “comeback” albums have failed: many of the album’s best moments are those that are atypical of the band’s sound. There is plenty here to keep the purists happy, but the true success of the album is in its ability to transcend and ultimately ignore its lofty expectations. This is the type of album I’d like to see if the Stone Roses or the Pixies ever release new material (a prospect that seems less likely every year in the Pixies’ case): a pure statement of intent with the promise of more to come. Screw expectations, this is what we do, and here it is: take it or leave it. “Fuck the Police” as another equally influential early nineties act was fond of saying.
The album is streaming in it’s entirety (albeit in reverse order) over at My Bloody Valentine’s Youtube channel. I’ve cherry-picked a couple of my favourites below: the wonderful pop gem “new you” and the jungle influenced “wonder 2″.
Best Coast’s 2010 record Crazy For You was an album that triumphed through it’s simplicity. Unashamedly pop in nature, the songs were sincere and catchy odes to love, life and sunshine. A beautiful record and one of the best released in 2010.
So two years on it’s follow-up time, and Best Coast are back with The Only Place, an album which suffers from a fairly typical case of “second record syndrome”. That’s not to say it’s a bad record: it’s not. It’s a good record – even a very good record. It just suffers a little from the very thing that made their first record so great: its simplicity.
Let’s start from the beginning. Opener and title track “The Only Place” (free download here) is top notch: a poppy ode to the band’s home state of California over jangly guitars and a melody to die for. A perfect first single: just similar enough to the last record to appeal to the existing fans and just different enough to hint at something new. Track two “Why I Cry” is in a similar vein: Crazy For You‘s overdriven guitars and reverb soaked vocals replaced with largely clean guitars and vocals but with a nice upbeat tempo and great melody.
So far so good. But it’s at track three, “Last Year”, where the album hits its first rough patch. A down-tempo number and an obvious attempt to diversify, it doesn’t really have enough melodic strength to withstand the removal of the band’s usual upbeat tempo. Singer Bethany Cosentino has never been known for her lyrics and her lack of lyrical prowess becomes painfully obvious on many of the slower numbers on the album.
Things do pick up again, however. “My Life” is a great pop tune in a similar vein to the two openers. “Do You Love Me Like You Used To” is a slightly slower but equally wonderful number that showcases Costentino’s great voice and ear for melody. And just because “Last Year” didn’t really work doesn’t mean the band can’t do slow numbers as a whole, as “How They Want Me To Be” shows, despite an ever-so-trite lyric. “Better Girl” and “Let’s Go Home” are also standouts. Best Coast’s biggest asset has always been Bethany’s vocals and the best songs on here are the ones that really give it room to fly.
That’s the thing with The Only Place, though. There’s nothing actually “bad” on here, in fact it contains many of the band’s best songs to date. Their desire to diversify is completely understandable, but like many bands famous for one type of sound (the Ramones, say, or Oasis) it doesn’t always work when they try to stretch their songwriting beyond their comfort zone.
It’s the slower numbers that suffer the most: “No One Like You” and “Up All Night”, for example, are the type of songs you’ll probably skip after the first couple of listens. On their best songs Bethany’s lack of lyrical depth is masked behind the peppy beat and melodies (hell, it’s even part of their charm), but without those elements the songs really do need the lyrics to step up a bit.
You could probably make an argument that I’m missing the point by wishing for added depth on something as refreshingly straight forward as a Best Coast record, and that’s a fair point. But it’s also true that if the band wants to diversify, then they just need that extra something, and a kick in the lyrical department on the slower numbers. Because they’re great at what they do, but if they want to do something else, then they need to adapt.
That’s not to say I don’t like The Only Place, I actually like it a lot. It’ll probably even make it to best of the year lists. It’s just not the sure fire classic album that I know the band has in them. But there’s more than enough here to keep me happy for now. Just keep an eye on those lyrics, OK Bethany?
In our Best Songs of 2011 post I mentioned that I like Fucked Up a lot, but I found singer Damian “Pink Eyes” Abraham’s vocals a bit one dimensional after a while. I still stand by that, but admit that it’s kind of a personal taste thing rather than any flaw with the band itself. I guess it’s just from being someone that was heavily into punk when I was younger: when you hear something that is so obviously punk on top of music that is so new and different you kind of wonder “what if they’d tried something a bit different with the vocals there?”.
However new song “Year of the Tiger” is a different kettle of fish entirely. A fifteen minute long psychedelic epic in which not only do Pink Eyes’ vocals not get tiresome, they work perfectly with the build and transformation of the song. This is my favourite Fucked Up song to date – it just grows and transforms and is everything that a great rock epic should be.
B-Side “Onno” is just as amazing too, if not more so – and incredibly it is even longer. (Sorry, I could only find a preview clip below). Just really great, boundary pushing rock music.
“Year of the Tiger” is part of a series of Zodiac themed singles released by the band – you can listen to all of them so far here. They just keep pushing the boundaries of what punk rock is to the point where it’s barely recognisable as punk anymore. And really that’s what punk rock should be, shouldn’t it? Music that pushes boundaries and takes new musical risks. It’s a shame that it doesn’t happen more often.
They could just be this generation’s At The Drive-In.
As Mani announces his departure to devote his life to the Lord’s work (by which I mean, obviously, the reformed Stone Roses) and front man Bobby Gillespie channels the spirit of Spinal Tap to announce the next Primal Scream record will be based around ‘one chord’ I think it is timely to have a look back at the godlike genius that is Primal Scream. Aside from being based around, one can only assume, The Greatest Chord Ever Known, Gillespie also told NME that the next record will also be very heavily influenced by their 20th anniversary touring of their classic Screamadelica album in 2011.
So, will it be Screamadelica 2?
I sincerely hope not.
I will firstly point out that Screamadelica is one of my favourite records of all time. My Top Five’ change fairly regularly and but it’s unlikely that there has been a time when Primal Scream’s epic pean to the party to end all parties has not featured in it. Screamadelica is a record that encapsulates, almost perfectly, the symbiosis between indie music and dance culture. ‘Loaded’, ‘Come Together’, and ‘Higher than the Sun’ are anthems for the ages, and Screamadelica is, in my opinion one of those rare records that captures a ‘feeling’ as much as a ‘sound’ every time it is played. And I came to Screamadelica nearly ten years after its release.
The problem is that Screamadelica captured a moment in time, and it did this by being new and refreshing. For those who come to that moment in time later than on, such as me, there will always be Screamadelica. There will also be a host of other great records, with
a host of new takes on that experience. Bobby Gillespie was initially skeptical about whether or not people would be interested in Primal Scream touring the album for its twentieth anniversary. Obviously people were; many people would never have seen Screamadelica live but this does not really mean that people need the album rebooted.
See, they don’t even LOOK like the Rolling Stones…
The Primals have had problems with the past in the past. The abysmal 1994 follow-up to Screamadelica, ‘Give out but Don’t Give Out’, was the flabby, boring, white-blues record it was mainly because for a while there Primal Scream thought of themselves as a resurrection of the Rolling Stones in their hey-day. In a cruel twist of fate, the first single off of Give Out, the submoronic chant that is ‘Rocks’, was to become the Primals’ most recognisable song and biggest chart success until 2006. Critically, and indeed, the in the way history has judged them, Give out but Don’t Give Up was a disaster. It was this
disaster because it tried way too hard to be either Let it Bleed or Sticky Fingers. Or maybe Exile on Main Street. I can never be totally sure because of course it isn’t quite any of them. The Rolling Stones are god-like geniuses but let’s not pretend anyone needed to hear them slavishly rehashed in the nineties. The same fate, I feel, could befall Primal Scream again if they refry their own past.
The other big reason a rewrite of Screamadelica would be a massive mistake is because Primal Scream are more than simply ‘one trick ponies’. It is understandable when say, The Strokes, keep releasing the same album over and over again to ever decreasing excitement; that is ‘their sound’. There’s nothing wrong with it, it is pretty appealing in fact, but it is pretty singular. Primal Scream is not a band like this. In my opinion two of their best albums, XTRMNTR (2000) and Beautiful Future (2008), show that they have a depth of varied creative talent.
XTRMNTR was a brutal opus of an album, overtly political; the lyrics are chucked hurtling along with the tempo or the beat. The radical politics were initially lost on me; I actually saw XTRMNTR as the other side of the dance experience: the head-mulching rush of euphoria in ‘Swastika Eyes’ and the fuzzy paranoia of ‘Kill all Hippies’ made a
shuddering contrast to the ‘hands in the air and hugs’ of Screamadelica. XTRMNTR holds up in a way that other records that
inspire a similar speed-freak sensation don’t because, at heart, it is a rock’n’roll record more than it is a collection of dance anthems.
Beautiful Future, as beautiful as its name suggests, is beautiful in a whole different way to the wide-eyed trance-bliss of Screamadelica. Beautiful Future is unashamedly pop; well crafted songs with catchy beats and catchy lyrics. Their 2008 album, if it owes anything to anyone else, it owes it to New Order’s later work than anyone that ever pulled on the leather trousers of rock’n’roll.
As much as the dewy-eyed nostalgic devil on our shoulder may make us wish, there should never be another Nevermind, another Relationship of Command, another Sticky Fingers, or another Screamadelica. Bands that have the creativity to make music this good also have the capacity to be different, and that is what a band as godlike in status as Primal Scream should always aim for.
Incidentally, the song to eventually better Primal Scream’s ‘Rocks’ chart performance in 2006 was a little song called ‘Country Girl.’ In my opinion this was a song that was very appropriately used in a Levis’ jeans commercial because it was a pile of pants, but I have
since discovered I am in a minority of one by holding this opinion. Country Girl was a catchy piece of Americana-influenced pop music off of the amazing Riot City Blues album that couldn’t have been further from the long shadow cast by Screamadelica.
Wavves are a kick ass rock band. Sure, they may have one of the worst Twitter accounts ever written by a fully grown adult, but they sure do write some fine tunes. Last year’s King Of The Beach was pretty much my favourite album of the year, and they’re back with a brand new EP of all new tunes that actually improves on its predecessor.
The Life Sux EP is a slightly poppier, slightly slicker release than KoftB. Main Wavves man Nathan Williams has upped his songwriting game and raised the stakes nicely. Check out opener “Bug”.
Kinda like a buzzed out and bratty Hüsker Dü meets a psychedelic early Green Day, with just the right level of stoner abandon to make it appeal to the internet generation. Cool, but it doesn’t care that it’s cool. Track two “I Wanna Meet Dave Grohl” is more of the same and available as a free download to boot:
As if you needed another reason to buy (or let’s be honest, download for free) this EP, track three is a somewhat inevitable duet with William’s girlfriend Beth Cosentino of Best Coast* (playing at a Big Day Out near you soon) fame, and is as awesome as a combination of those two great things should be.
The rest of the EP is equally great, but if you’re not convinced by now then you never will be, you ear-muff wearing old swine, you. (Although I should mention that track five is a collaboration with Fucked Up, and again is as awesome as that sounds).
Contender for release of the year for me so far.
* No news to speak of on the Best Coast front, except that they’re currently recording. Beth did just release a very nice iTunes Sessions EP though, with existing (and in some cases improved upon) versions of Crazy For You numbers. It also contains a wonderful cover of a Loretta Lynn song called “Fist City” that if you don’t like, then God have mercy on your record collection.
Wilco have a new album due out on September 27th entitled The Whole Love, their eighth since their formation in 1994. They recently posted a stream of it (a regular occurrence when they have a new album pending) on their website, but took it down after 24 hours, so I thought I’d collect up what few of the tracks are still available for streaming and offer up a review of sorts.
Wilco are one of my favourite bands of all time, and arguably one of the most important American bands on the planet at the moment. They’re certainly one of the best live bands in the world right now, regardless of what you think of their albums. But like most bands that have reached their eighth record, I’ve found their last few albums a little bit lacking compared to their earlier stuff. (For those wondering where to start with Wilco, the holy trinity of albums for me is Summerteeth, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost Is Born, plus the two Mermaid Avenue albums they did with Billy Bragg are great too.) Perhaps it’s the fact that they’re such an ever-evolving band, and I’ve simply been left behind, pining for a band from yesteryear that no longer exists.
And the new album continues that tradition a bit for me. First signs were good – really really good, in fact, as opener “Art of Almost” is probably the best song they’ve done in a very long time. Sounding like an Americana Radiohead, with splashes of dub and punk thrown in for good measure, it’s just an incredible opening track:
Wilco – Art of Almost
So, after that cracker, it seemed reasonable to hope Wilco were set for a return to a the experimental art rock that they perfected on 2004′s A Ghost Is Born, but have veered away from in favour of country and folk tinged pop rock ever since. And next track and first single “I Might” is another step in the right direction:
To be honest I’m not a huge fan of this track song-wise (the chorus just doesn’t do it for me), but I do like the musical step they’ve taken: John Stirrat’s fuzz bass is excellent, and I like the jaunty rhythm and unclassifiable genre switching. It sounds like a band having a good time, and more importantly, trying something new.
Track three, “Sunloathe” is the first disappointing track for me. Slowish piano-lead dad-rock, pretty much in keeping with their last two albums. There also seem to be a hell of a lot of xylophone bits on this album, which can often give some of the more pleasant moments a slightly kitschy feel. Not really for me.
“Dawned On Me” is another light rocker, with Nels Cline’s fuzzy guitar giving it some interesting textual elements. “Black Moon” is a more traditional folk/country slow burner, with a string section – nice enough, but I wouldn’t mind a bit more of an edge to it.
Wilco – Dawned On Me (live)
Track six, “Born Alone” seems to be the next single, as the band have just released a new video for it. It’s fairly standard upbeat Wilco fare, with some scratchy lead guitar breaks and a catchy, poppy chorus. I quite like this one:
“Open Mind” is a slow and – I hate to say it – kind of dull mid tempo number that doesn’t really seem to go anywhere. Ditto with “Capital City”, a jaunty number with an average melody that never really seems to go anywhere in particular. The latter also features those damn xylophones again.
“Standing O” is a bit more like it. An uptempo fuzz-rocker, reminiscent of A Ghost Is Born’s “I’m A Wheel”, this goes some way to fulfilling the promise of “Art of ALmost” and “I Might”. Here’s a live version:
Wilco – Standing O (live)
And then it’s back to dad-rock territory again. “Rising Red Lung” is a fragile finger-picked number similar to but not as good as Wilco (The Album)‘s “You and I”. Pretty nice actually, time will tell. Title track “Whole Love” is another jaunty number with a nice melody but not really a stand out. Not bad, all the same. I’m using the word “nice” a lot here, you may have noticed, and I think you can see where I’m going with this. Where’s that edginess you used to (and are still capable of on tracks like “Art of Almost”) do so well, Mr Tweedy?
Wilco – The Whole Love
The final track is “One Sunday Morning (Song For Jane Smiley’s Boyfriend)” another slow number that feels like it’s kind of building towards something but never really does. It’s another long one, clocking in at 11 minutes, so obviously it’s intended to close off the album in an epic, if somewhat muted way. I just wish it went somewhere, but it’s really just the same riff and melody repeated for the duration. Could be a grower though.
Wilco – “One Sunday Morning”
So that’s my initial impression of The Whole Love. A pretty decent record, somewhat hampered by a mind blowingingly good opener that the rest of the album struggles to live up to. I say “initial” opinion, because the last few Wilco albums really grew on me, especially the most recent two: Sky Blue Sky and Wilco (The Album). I was initially underwhelmed by both, but my appreciation for them grew considerably over time – I’m hoping that will happen here too.
Another thing with Wilco is that a lot of the songs don’t really reveal their true colours until you see them played live – “Bull Black Nova” from the last album is a good example. But that could be a cop out – shouldn’t an album stand up on its own merits?
Perhaps I’m being too harsh – as I mentioned above, it could be that the band has moved on musically and I haven’t. Maybe I’m just criticising Wilco for being Wilco and therefore missing the point of the album entirely. In any case, I will always be a Wilco fan and this is another good, if not amazing, addition to their repertoire – one that I hope will continue to grow on me the more I listen to it. Anyway, listen to the tracks above and see what you think. Maybe you’ll hear some magic that I managed to miss on my initial few listens.
The Whole Love will be available from the band’s official website on September 27th. Here’s the full tracklisting:
Art of Almost
Dawned On Me
Rising Red Lung
One Sunday Morning (Song For Jane Smiley’s Boyfriend)
I discovered this album today as Hype Machine‘s album of the week, and I must have listened to it through about eight times already.
I’ve been a fan of Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes for a while now thanks to his work as Lightspeed Champion – sort of a UK indie take on the Alt Country thing – and his more recent work with another favourite of mine Theophilus London. But while Lightspeed’s debut “Falling Off The Lavender Bridge” was an absolute classic, last year’s follow up “Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You” was a bit of a disappointmet. Not a bad album as such, just a difficult and somewhat sprawling piece of work.
So it’s great to see that Dev’s back in fine form with his current project “Blood Orange”. Apart from his unique voice there is little to compare to Lightspeed. If I had to describe their music I’d call it “Post Post New Wave”, with a touch of 80s pop and some nice John Squire-esque guitar riffs thrown over the top for good measure. But like so many great artists these days, pigeon-holing him to one genre does him a massive disservice, so why not just check out the album stream below and make up your own mind. I for one, am sold.
Album stream courtesy of the Hype Machine. Find out more about Blood Orange on their Facebook page (but beware of a terrible metal band of the same name that owns BloodOrange.com).
Your love is like a studded leather headlock
Your kiss it could put creases in the rain
You’re rarer than a can of dandelion and burdock
And those other girls are just post-mix lemonade
I really wasn’t expecting to like the Arctic’s latest album Suck It And See. The singles were average at best: “Brick by Brick” is a nice enough rocker, making up for what it lacks in substance with a decent beat and hum-worthy chorus; “Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair”, much like the Beatles’ “Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey” seems to be a Pilkington-esque case of great title, figure the rest out later.
However, the album itself just keeps pulling me back in, more so than any Arctic Monkeys album since their justifiably praised debut. Opener “She’s Thunderstorms” kicks of with a pleasantly jangly riff reminiscent of Johnny Marr, and establishes a more laid back vibe than we’ve come to expect from these lads. Second track “Black Treacle” continues the trend, and the hazy yet joyous vibe sticks around right until the last song, “That’s Where You’re Wrong”, a definite highlight.
The lyrics are fantastic too. Alex Turners lyrics have always been a standout on every album, and it’s good to see that, if anything he is getting stronger as a lyricist. The lines above are from the album’s title track, another highlight. My favourite lines from any song released so far this year: if you haven’t listened to Suck It And See yet, I strongly recommend that you do. Don’t let the uncharacteristically weak singles put you off.