Neil Young – PSYCHEDELIC PILL
PSYCHEDELIC PILL Neil Young’s first album with Crazy Horse since 1996 is like a comfortable old chair. It’s a known quantity filled with heartfelt singing and sloppy jams. A lot of the lyrics are auto-biographical referring back to Young’s recent biography WAGING HEAVY PEACE. Some of the songs here are long – two 16 minute long tunes and one that is 25 minutes plus and others sound like past tunes in Young’s catalog – The “Hey, Hey, My, My” riff is recycled on “Walk Like a Giant” but if anyone has earned the right to self-plagiarize themselves it’s Neil Young.
Madness – OUI OUI SI SI JA JA DA DA
Like Neil Young, Madness (a favorite band of mine for years) has also achieved a certain comfort level for appreciators of their music. OUI OUI SI SI JA JA DA DA is a decent collection of mid tempo Ska numbers. Entertaining but on a songwriting level not as impressive as earlier works especially their last album THE LIBERTY OF NORTON FULGATE perhaps the best record of their career. The problem can be traced (in a band with multiple songwriters) to too much Carl Smyth (he writes four separate tunes) and too little Mike Barson (Madness’s founding member and best songwriter).
The Vaccines – COME OF AGE
A second album can be a curse for a band but it can also be a blessing if the band improves as musicians and songwriters and this translates to the recording studio. The Vaccines’ second release COME OF AGE is thankfully the latter. The short punchy pop style of their debut, Buzzcocks updated to present day hipster chic, has been made crisper with a more complex sound and a better relationship between the music and the vocals. A major step forward!
Letting Up Despite Great Faults - UNTOGETHER
UNTOGETHER, Letting Up Despite Great Faults second album, is first and foremost New Order-ish. Everything is filtered through a masculine bass line, metronome percussion, in and out of the mix guitars and most importantly synths and more synths. Is this bad? No- an enjoyable record even if the songs sort of flow together into a pleasant enough soup. Here’s a link http://lettingup.bandcamp.com/
Christian Bookshop - CHRISTIAN BOOKSHOP
CHRISTIAN BOOKSHOP, The self-titled debut of this acoustic duo, is spare but not in the boring Iron and Wine acoustic whining way but spare like Perfume Genius with an acoustic guitar taking the place of a piano. Haunting music with a troubled underpinning. Here’s a link. “The Past Tense” and “Penitentiary” are especially memorable http://christianbookshop.bandcamp.com/