Writing a positive review for an electronica (or “indietronica”) album after slandering Rogue Wave’s repetitiveness makes me feel slightly guilty…but only slightly. The nine songs on Swim develop with a precision that keeps me nodding my head and pacing my elliptical machine strides to match. I didn’t buy this album for the lyrics (and a good thing too considering that several tracks have none); I wanted ethereal funk, and it delivers.
Dan Snaith (using the stage name Caribou after all-but being sued out of using Manitoba…by an American band) won the Polaris Prize¹ in 2008 for Andorra. Continue reading
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Remember that really cute song from a few years ago by Rogue Wave called “Eyes”? I know, right!? Awesome. That’s these guys!
The above was what my brain told me when iTunes recommended Permalight based on my then-recent Athlete purchase. So I bought it at the same time not realising the cruel joke iTunes had played on me. It, in its infallible wisdom (praise be to iTunes), obviously thought that if I was buying one mediocre album that would make me crave similar works by better bands, I’d want another. Just a simple misunderstanding, and I’d be happy to forgive you iTunes if it had not cost me money.
Do you like Stars, the Decemberists, and Death Cab for Cutie? Continue reading
4 Comments | tags: death cab for cutie, eyes, good morning, indie, music, narrow stairs, permalight, review, rogue wave, tyr's day | posted in Reviews
Double dose of reviews today! I was just too excited about this album (released on April 6) not to post the review as soon as it was done.
Sigur Rós is on an indefinite hiatus, but fortunately their lead singer, Jón Þór Birgisson, has released a solo album in the interim. If you are familiar with Sigur Rós, then you are used to not understanding a single word sung. Their songs are either in Icelandic or in the band’s own made-up language Hopelandic. The vocals are just another instrument and you can let your imagine fill in possible lyrics. In fact, on ( ), you are supposed to do this and record what you want to hear in the blank liner notes.
In the first track, “Go Do”, on Jónsi’s solo debut Go, I immediately started imaging English phrases to fit the words he sings: “Go sing. Too loud. Make your voice break. Sing it out.” Wait. It is English. Aw, hell yes! Continue reading
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This was another purchase based on the previous accomplishments of a band. I have been an Athlete fan ever since I heard their first album Vehicles & Animals while I was backpacking around the British Isles. Joel Pott’s immediately recognisable voice has a pleading quality to it that makes me believe he means every word he sings (even if he is a snarky bastard in real life). Their last forgettable album held my attention only briefly, so I was awaiting a return to form. Wrong.
The first song, “Superhuman Touch,” has a Keanean synth quality to it that is impressively worked into Athlete’s trademarked sound (of synth parts similar to the Final Fantasy “Crystal Theme”). It’s an energetic intro to a slow blah album. To be fair, the first three songs are fine. Continue reading
Leave a comment | tags: all in good time, athlete, barenaked ladies, black swan, joel pott, Keane, music, review, synth, tourist, tyr's day, vehicles & animals, wires | posted in Reviews
Thanks, that was fun, Steven Page. The Ladies are now without the writer and lead singer of their most popular songs from their 20 year history, so All in Good Time is an important album for the four remaining members to prove that they can hold their own.
Barenaked Ladies’ albums have always had an unorganised quality because of the two writers, Steven Page and Ed Robertson. Kevin Hearn and Jim Creeggan have made additions here and there, but it was always the Steven and Ed show. With Steven gone, Kevin and Jim step up to write three and two songs respectively, but I wish they had just left the song writing to Ed. I’ve never liked Kevin’s whiney voice, so his three tracks are instant negatives for me. His potentially listenable “Another Heartbreak” becomes boring as the already repetitive chorus is repeated over and over to no useful effect. Jim’s “On the Lookout” is okay; skip “I Saw It”.
The album only shines when Ed is at the helm, but, even then, not all the time: “Four Seconds” shows that he has forgotten how to write catchy “One Week” style raps. “You Run Away” is the first single; it’s a meaningful song to the band and a beautiful song in general. In a CBC Radio interview, host Jian Ghomeshi mentioned that the song was written about Steven’s departure from the band. Ed, paraphrased from my faulty memory, replied: “Hey, don’t jump to conclusions Jian. This song could be about anyone who suddenly left a band I was in for 20 years”. For that old Ladies’ sound, look no further than “Ordinary” (makes sense) and “Golden Boy” with its fun sing-a-long-able chorus. “Every Subway Car” has a great verse and bridge melody, but its chorus falls flat.
With a handful of good Ed songs among his misses and the yawns of the others, I am excited to see what Steven releases as a solo-effort in response. Barenaked Ladies’ albums of old were fun and witty and had the benefit of two talented song-writers who put forth their best material. Without Steven, the Ladies are even more naked than before (hah! I’m so witty. I bet no other reviews of this album will use that joke). Objectively, it’s a pleasant listen…but not what I, as one fearing change, expect—nay, deserve—from the Ladies.
Not recommended. It’s good as unobstrusive background music, but honestly! What kind of a recommendation would that be?
Buy/Steal/Youtube: “You Run Away”
Or just get: Barenaked Ladies’ Disc One: All Their Greatest Hits, you cheater.
2 Comments | tags: all in good time, barenaked ladies, music, review, steven page, tyr's day, you run away | posted in Reviews