May 23, 2009

Album Review - Camera Obscura

BAND NAME: Camera Obscura

LP TITLE: My Maudlin Career



RATING: 5/10

In our ever-changing world, it’s nice to know some things remain the same. Scottish baroque-pop ensemble, Camera Obscura, has been around over a decade, and has not noticeably changed their sound since the establishment of their band in 1996. They have released several critically acclaimed albums, whilst staying loyal to their relatively unique sound. Their newest release, My Maudlin Career, is just more of the same.

Now, sticking with a sound that works is no musical felony, but change is definitely necessary for a band to grow. Essentially, Camera Obscura still sounds the same as they did in the late 90s. The band probably won’t lose any fans over this record, but they wont gain many new ones either.

Tracyanne Campbell’s somewhat unusual voice is the only notable feature of this album. However, due to her apparent love of studio reverb, she often sounds like she is singing through a megaphone – or a rolled-up newspaper. Her voice is reminiscent of Dolores O'Riordan from The Cranberries - but without the lyrical depth and soul.

Though her distinctive voice may attract some listeners, the music itself does little to enhance the album. Camera Obscura’s generic, predictable and shallow melodies are tedious at best and completely irritating at times.

Another factor to consider is the album’s melancholy motif. The record drips tragedy, heartbreak and failure. After sitting through the 46, long minutes of this album, I felt rather depressed myself.

With all this said, the album holds together adequately with reasonable lyrics and almost-tolerable melodies. Although, as the album progresses, the similarity between songs begins to grate; the songs meld together, making for a fairly tiresome record. It’s not that there are any truly dreadful songs on My Maudlin Career, but there aren’t any good ones either. Camera Obscura’s affection for the past shows a bland sentimentality and morose romanticism: thus the title of the album aptly fits.


May 14, 2009

Album Review - The Horrors

BAND NAME: The Horrors

LP TITLE: Primary Colours

LABEL: XL Recordings


RATING: 7/10

The Horrors - an English quintet, notable for wearing circulation-inhibiting black jeans and too much makeup; a band whose member’s names range from Spider Webb to Coffin Joe.

Strange House - The Horror’s debut album that was once labeled Zombie Garage Punk; an album that appealed to a very small demographic group of estranged Goth kids; an album that featured lead singer Faris Badwan screaming incoherently in a manner that was only marginally decipherable to the untrained ear.

Yes the gothic, vampire shtick was entertaining, but nobody expected them to go anywhere.

And now, 2 years later, The Horrors have released their sophomore album, Primary Colours.

A band that was once known for spitting on their audience during shows, are now being dubbed the saviors of Rock n’ Roll.

The sound of Primary Colours is so different to The Horror’s first attempt at music that many fans are asking the simple question, “What the hell happened?” Did the band really experience such drastic changes in their lives that they decided to change their sound completely? Or did The Horror’s have it in them the whole time, and have just been eluding the public with their morbid image. Or is this simply proof that The Horror’s are a lot more talented and multi-faceted then we were led to believe. Whatever metamorphism the band experienced it certainly has helped them reach out to a much wider audience and will inevitably result in an increase of record sales and commercial success.

Primary Colours has an amalgamation of different shoegaze and post-punk influences. My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus and Mary Chain and even The Cure are just a few of the bands that The Horrors pay homage to.

From ethereal atmospheric melodies, to front man Faris Badwan’s indolent yet passionate tone, Primary Colours explores new musical territory, whilst keeping The Horror’s signature deathly undertone alive.

Album Review - The Boy Least Likely To...

BAND NAME: The Boy Least Likely To

LP TITLE: The Best Party Ever

LABEL: Too Young To Die


RATING: 8/10

We live in an era of entirely predictable music. Music that lacks character, charm and in many cases a decent melody. With that said, occasionally one stumbles upon a band that is so refreshingly original, it reassures us that though scarce, good music still exists somewhere out there.

The Boy Least Likely To provided me with such reassurance. The band’s debut album, The Best Party Ever, has such a unique sound that I found it impossible to put a label on it. Their sound completely defies the mind, seduces it and then defeats it.

Listening to the album magically transports you to a time of youthful innocence and naïveté. A time when magic was real and reality was whatever you wished it to be, a time where colours seemed brighter and more vivid. Though this may seem a bit twee, the album itself is as poignant as it is poetic. Main lyricist Jof Owen sings about neuroses and delusions, which range from the difficulties of fitting in, to arachnophobia, to a fear of flying and ultimately to death.

Despite the subtle nuances of paranoia and angst, the album is extremely fun to listen to; is the perfect remedy to a bad day; is incredibly catchy and entertaining, and is definitely the perfect soundtrack to the best party ever!

May 11, 2009

Music Reviewing Format

Here is the format for my music review headers, just so everyone knows...

  • LP TITLE: 
  • LABEL: 
  • TRACKS: 

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