BITTER RIVALS by Sleigh Bells
When you have a sound as unique and immediately memorable and catchy as Sleigh Bells, the trick becomes how to grow it adding touches here and there without totally alienating your fans. Each Sleigh Bells record has been bigger and better than the last and BITTER RIVALS is their best yet. They’ve taken their mix of cheerleader yells and softer squealing, amplified riffs, slamming door programmed drums and the ability to completely change the arrangements of a song in a split second without losing anything and added to it even sharper melodies. Songs like 24, Young Legends, and Lovesick are a step forward to a more diverse sound. Sleigh Bells has made the jump in my mind from great band with a cult following to great band that should have widespread appeal. Hopefully, the general public will follow suit. A superb record.
TOY by Toy
The easiest way to describe Toy’s debut album is a less heavy Slowdive with more synths and less attitude. Shoegaze is the main influence but it has been diluted enough to be played on the radio - Nicely layered but not all noisy. Songs like Lose My Way and Colors Running Out are decent if unremarkable. I do look forward to what they do with their sound in the future.
NEW by Paul McCartney
How does one review a Paul McCartney album? Well overall I don’t think NEW is as good as his last two records CHAOS AND CREATION IN THE BACKYARD and MEMORY’S ALMOST FULL but there are plenty of good songs and it does try a few new things most noticeably the amount of keyboards and electronics. His voice has gotten steadily more whispery but that is understandable for a man in his 70’s. My favorite songs on NEW – Queenie Eye, I Can Bet, Road/Scared
MOON TIDES by Pure Bathing Culture
What this duo do well is to combine an understated female vocalist (and that’s a welcome relief in the day and age of howlers, shriekers, and overemoters) who plays keyboards with a guitarist who puts one in mind of a quieter Johnny Marr. The end result finds and works an unexpected space between Basia/ Rah Band samba rock and the softer songs of The Sundays. Very pretty music. A most promising record. It would be nice to hear what they would sound like with a full band (especially a drummer as they use programmed percussion on this record).