A Stranger's music :: #46 Lemetre, Antlers and more Radiohead [video reviews]

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Any comments or suggestions are more than welcome.

A Stranger Presents...

A Stranger's Music

and every now and again, other peoples' too.

Well hello there! I've been preaching writing about various albums and bands for a while now and it has come to my attention that there are a few people who are interested (the large majority aren't) so I thought I'd make it easier for those few people and write all my little musings in one, easy to find thread. I'll be adding a new review every -whenever I feel like it- so be sure to check back in a week or so if you enjoy what you see, be sure to leave any comments, queries or suggestions. Happy? Good let's move on to the first one.

1

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Reservoir by Fanfarlo

Genre = Alternative Rock/ Folk

Number of songs = 12

Highlights = I'm a Pilot + Finish Line

This particular album got off to a rocky start for me, I had been told by the internet that it was one of the best albums of 2009 but all I could hear in the first moments of the opening song I'm a Pilot was the steady stamping of dozens of feet. Then the rather pub sounding piano kicks in along with the singers rather gruff but pleasant to listen to voice. As some of you will have noticed I've written that I'm a Pilot is one of the highlights of this album and that is because of one simple reason; as soon as the chorus kicked in with " Okay, I'm a Pilot, it's all I believe in" so does the orchestra which really helps to elevate the song into one that you could happily listen to for hours.

The whole album retains a kind of folk feel as well as incorporating things like the aforementioned orchestra, some trumpet solos and quite a bit of very pleasant sounding guitar. The singer's voice fits perfectly with this style of music and is almost faultless with the exception of a few songs where he seems to take ages in reaching the right note and it just sounds slurred and lazy. You know what the most annoying thing about this is? It's that this is most prevalent in Finish Line and prevents the song from becoming a classic, the same eagle-eyed people as before will have realised that this is my second highlight of the album, it incorporates some genius song-writing and easily contains one of the best outros that I've ever heard, seriously youtube it it's incredible.

What I like most about this album is just that the sound is so different to anything I've ever heard before. Fanfarlo are certainly a band that are not afraid to experiment and try something new, and it works; everything from the ghost like I'm a Pilot to the instrumental finale to the album Good Morning Midnight has a certain charm to it that can't help but demand your undivided attention. Each song has a very strong beat behind it, whether it be stamping feet, clapping or even your humble old bass drum, this really gives the songs a lot of their energy and also gives them a rather progressive feel, like they're building up to something. Which they do, but I've already talked about that.

The album does have its bad points though, there are many songs on Reservoir that simply do not work for me, some like Ghost just try to be too clever and it ends up sounding like a bit of a mess and Fire Escape, while quite upbeat, I just find to be a bit boring compared to the rest of the album.

Here's a taste

This is a brilliant album and deserves so much more attention than it currently has, some of the tracks are some of the best I have ever been privileged to hear but the rest of the songs just feel overshadowed, if you have the money I'd reckomend only buying I'm a Pilot and Finish Line and if you want more try out the rest of the album, just in case I've missed something.

Thanks for your time as I've said, there's more coming.

I think something that could enrich your reviews greatly would be embedded youtube videos of the songs. Listening as you read could really help to strengthen the points you are trying to make.

Music recommendations generally don't work for me. The only stuff with vocals that I enjoy are from the late 1900s. I do enjoy newer orchestral music, though, so if you do a review on an album in the vein of David Bowie, Bob Dylan or Beatles style stuff, I'll definitely be interested.

In regards to the actual critique of your review, I think it's very good and quite to the point. An enjoyable read overall.

A final note, if you don't know how to embed videos, here's how.
Take the link you want, eg: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zi8VTeDHjcM
Take the last bit of it with lots of random stuff after the watch?v=
In this case it's zi8VTeDHjcM
Now take that code and put tags around it like so, [yewtube=code goes here][1], of course spelling youtube correctly.

the final result;

[1] I had to do that so you could see what the formatting looks like and I know he could have just quoted my example, but I'm trying to be helpful

'Twas a good review. The album seems like something I could enjoy as well, I'll check it out one of the days.

starfox444:
snip

Thanks, I actually planned on putting one in but for some reason I completely forgot, thanks for the reminder, and the feedback of course.

Another one done less than 4 hours after the first, they don't take me too long, I enjoy doing them and I have a lot of free time so there is a strong possibility you will be bombarded by these. A good reason to do them all in one thread then. Oh and in regards to the album cover, I hope it's okay putting it up but who am I kidding you're too busy looking at it to read this aren't you?

2.

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Fine Fascination

_by Red Light District

Genre = Indie/ Electronic

Number of songs = 10

Highlights = Meccano, With Lights Out + The Alamo

This album blasted its way into my life on the back of Red Light Company's three previous singles and a wave of MGMT induced hysteria. Back in early 2009 people in the music industry expected Red Light Company to be 'the next big thing', well you can probably tell how that worked out can't you. To my knowledge they only received one radio play and that was of Arts and Crafts, arguably one of the weaker songs on the album but somehow it had been chosen as 'the single' that they would sell the album on the back of.

Now I hope that by now the majority of you have heard of MGMT and to those I can say that there are some extremely strong similarities between both these bands. To those that don't, both bands use a large variety of instruments and synthesisers compined with dream-like lyrics to produce generally upbeat and carefree feeling songs. However, the bands differ in the fact that Red Light Company like to go a lot louder with their songs, a prime example of this would be With Lights Out which (excuse the term) goes fucking crazy in the chorus. It seems as though they got to the point where they choose effects and whoever was in charge said "I want that one, and that one, oh and that one, maybe a bit of that and just a hint of this" and the overall effect is pretty good if not a little overwhelming.

All of the songs in this album are extremely energetic, there isn't even one downbeat song that I can see. Another thing to note about Red Light Company they do like to use bells (the bell effect on a keyboard anyway), I have no idea quite why and the overuse of bells does make some of their songs sound as if they're going for Christmas #1. The more tasteful use of these is in possibly the best song on the album, Meccano. Why is this the best song? Well, all I can say is that it is incredibly catchy, uses memorable lyrics ("Crying out loud, the weekend is over!") and builds up almost to the point of With Lights Out. Have a listen....

The gripe I have with this band, and it is a major gripe, is that I cannot stand the singer's voice and I'm not the only one as it's the main thing that prevented this band from becoming huge. His voice just sounds as if he's whining constantly and gets really irritating after a while plus (this is on a more pathetic note) he looks completely retarded.

I can't make up my mind as whether to reckomend this album or not, I know that some people will reject it instantly thanks to the singer's voice but if you work past that there are some really good songs on this album and unlike Reservoir it doesn't seem as if any song is drastically better than the rest, they're all pretty good. What I do not understand though, is why they named the album after one of the B-sides (which was really good and deserved to be on the album).

I don't know what it is about the 3 hour mark after doing a review that just makes me want to do another one, oh well it keeps me entertained. Enjoy!

3.

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Antidotes

_by Foals

Genre = Electronic/ Indie/ Dance

Number of songs = 12

Highlights = Cassius, Red Socks Pugie, Big Big Love(Fig.2) + Tron

Where do we start with this album, well lets start with that Foals are a band centred in the nearest city to me (Oxford) and I am led to believe that 2 of the band members went to my school, unlucky them. Listening to the Foals it is not something that can easily be described (which is why there will be a video posted later in the review, as is custom) as the music they play varies drastically but somehow manages to retain the same feel. This is probably due to the use of various elements in every one of their songs such as trumpets, repeating lyrics and what appears to be the same setting for the guitar.

If you've ever listened to Foals before it would have probably been the song Cassius, a frantic, upbeat song that makes you want to start jumping around whatever room you may be situated in. As I've said before this is not the only style of music that they play, in fact I would argue that the slower stuff on the album is by far the best written and the best to listen to. Songs like Big Big Love(Fig.2) are in complete contrast with the more upbeat parts of the album, it's incredibly mellow and relaxing and makes you want to stop jumping around your room like an idiot and just chill and enjoy the music.

Now Big Big Love (Fig.2) is going to have it's own special paragraph in this review for a few reasons. Firstly, it is by far my favourite song on the album and I'm currently listening to it for the 144th time because it still has a great effect on me. This is an effect that can most easily be transferred by giving you a listen.

Secondly, I have friends (surprising right?) who are very into their metal and even they are not ashamed to admit that they like this song, it's that good. If you aren't listening to it now I can only say that you probably don't have a soul, sorry if it came as a shock to you.

Foals are a band that draws you in with it's upbeat and catchy singles but keeps you listening to their intriguing use of effects backed up with trumpets and guitars. The percussion is very prevalent and most of the songs have a build up quality to them that I really enjoy. As a listener you're played around with, they build up a song slowly, introduce a really loud chorus, drop back down and come back again even louder. All that you can do is just lie back and go wow

I've been trying to think of a bad thing to say about this album and apart from the fact they do one song in French I can't think of anything else. All that is left to say is that this is a phenomenal album and well worth however much you have to pay for it, they have a new album coming out too so hurry up before I have to give you a sermon on that as well.

4.

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Go

_by Jonsi

Genre = Indie/ Classical

Number of songs = 9

Highlights = Go On + Tornado

I had planned what I was going to review as my 4th album in this thread and that was Technicolour Health by Harlem Shakes but I'm going to have to leave that until next time. Since then a friend introduced me to this album and it would probably be a crime if I didn't share it with you as well.

Jonsi is best known for his work as the guitarist and singer for the Icelandic band Sigur Ros who made possibly the most overused song on British TV that I can think of, Hoppipolla (translates as Jumping In Puddles), also known as 'that inspirational song with the piano and that.' He has carried a lot of Sigur Ros' style into his solo work such as packing each song with multiple instruments and playing his guitar with a cello bow.

Now, when I first picked up this album and lay down on my designated listening spot (my bed) I was rather blown away by the first song Go On with its very chirpy sounding intro and Jonsi's flute-like, Falsetto voice. It could have been easy for me to dismiss the song as a bit too weird for my liking but I have to admit it does grow on you after a while. Go On is very reminiscent of Sigur Ros and also, oddly enough the soundtrack to Little Big Planet [/shameless plug], it has a very strong beat over layered with all manner of flute sounding instruments and Jonsi's piercing voice.

This album continued to surprise me as listened to it further, directly after Go On comes Animal Arithmetic, a slightly faster and, dare I say it, more bearable song for the first time listener. But this song does not matter as much as the next, Tornado might just be the single most beautiful song I have ever come across. If you ever want a master class in how to build-up a song then just listen to this, the intensity is constantly swelling up and down until it reaches a crescendo at the end. Tornado was the main reason I decided to put 'classical' as one of the genres because to me it feels like the next step for classical music. It contains, what sounds like, a whole symphony orchestra and would be pure classical music if it weren't for Jonsi's voice and the few computer effects here and there; it really is phenominal.

And the whole album carries on in this manner, while I can't say that they're all spectacular I can't leave you without mentioning Kolnidur for being incredibly dark and incredibly awesome. The variety on this album is fairly limited in the fact that the style is very prominent and Jonsi only seems to be able to sing in one way, although he does it well. There is however, some variation and that is enough for me.

So what can I say to sum up? If you are willing to try something new then I cannot reckomend Jonsi highly enough, make sure to pre-order the album as it comes out on the 5th of April. How did I get it you ask? Um... well... *runs*

-Thanks for your time, oh and don't worry I am planning on buying it when it's out so it's all (sort of) legal.

5.

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Give Up

_by The Postal Service

Genre = I have no idea/Electronica

Number of songs = 10

Highlights = Brand New Colony, Natural Anthem
__________+ We Will Become Silhouettes

I'm now in the process of steering this review series towards more 'heard of' stuff under the presumption that for some reason people like to read reviews of things that they already own, can't think why but judging by the fact I get about 20 extra views per review I think it's wise to consider any alternatives. Last time I did promise Harlem Shakes but there is probably no hope in hell that anyone hear has even heard of them, so I've gone with The Postal Service since they seem to be pretty big with 'the youth' nowadays.

Now Give Up was released in 2003 but did not receive recognition till around 4 years later when one of the singles Such Great Heights made the rounds on the internet and with good reason too. The Postal Service are yet another one of these bands that take a while to get into thanks to their rather unusual style, but when you do get into them they are a delight to hear. They are not so much a band as a project set up by Benjamin Gibbard, the lead-singer of Death Cab for Cutie, and Jimmy Tamborello of Dntel. It's very surprising that this kind of electronic music is mixed by Gibbard who is mostly known for his acoustic stuff.

Yes, this album is very heavy on the ol' electronic sounds, in fact I don't think they use a single conventional instrument, it's made up entirely of sound effects made on a computer so expect heavy percussion and a variety of bleeps and bloops if you give this a listen. The pre-mentioned Such Great Heights is possibly the most upbeat song on the album and contains an intro that I'm pretty sure was stolen for Fireflies, a very catchy chorus and feel-good lyrics. However, this is only the 'outer shell' of the album, when your ears finally adjust to the other songs then you begin to appreciate just how complex and well done this album is.

A prime example of this would be Natural Anthem an (almost) instrumental song that gradually builds up (over about 4 minutes) until the actual 2 minute 'singing bit' kicks in. It is very well done but takes some 'discovering' as you are initially distracted by the catchy tunes of the rest of the album but it really never grows old and boring. We Will Become Silhouettes may not be as musically advanced or unique as Natural Anthem but it is nevertheless a great, feel-good song and well worth a listen. I've provided a nice little Youtube link for that express purpose, enjoy.

Should you get this album? Yes, yes you should. It is (/was) revolutionary and you'll keep listening to it in your old age thanks to the fact that none of the songs ever wear on you. Also, and more importantly, it will make you look cool with the other kids at school; now run along and buy it children!

My goodness, you have a knack for picking music I don't quite like. Especially the Postal Service. I have a burning hatred for the multitude of singers who sound like that, just can't stand it.

Aside from that, lovely reviews so far. The content perfectly fits their length.
A quick note about copyright, in Australia, there exists a policy of fair use of copyrighted material. You can get a copy for the purpose of reviewing whichever way you want, just delete after you're done and everyone is happy.[1]

[1] But then again, we all live on The Internet, so do as you please

starfox444:
My goodness, you have a knack for picking music I don't quite like.

Have any suggestions? I'd quite like to review something a bit different, maybe metal or something.

6.

A weird electronic internet music special

_ worst. title. ever

Hey there I'm going to go ahead and mix things up a bit by introducing a completely different type of music that I've been reviewing before, it helps to keep this shit fresh - so to speak. Okay first I'm going to introduce you to a bit of Dubstep, more specifically Mt Eden and then I'll show you some other tracks that don't really fall into any genre at all, now if you'd please follow me.

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Mt Eden

You want to know what the greatest thing about the majority of Dubstep musicians is? It's that all their music is completely free, and legally too which makes a nice change. And Mt Eden is no exception, in fact it could be argued that this is the man who bought Dubstep to the masses, he did this via his ever expanding Youtube page.

Those of you reading this who are completely ignorant of this new wave of music will be wondering what, exactly, Dubstep is. Now what Dubstep is, is amazingly similar to Drum & Bass, but (in my opinion) a lot better. Dubstep is essentially remixes of songs using heavy percussion and very heavy bass that usually has a 'wobbling' quality to it. However Dubstep, especially the Mt Eden variety, is not afraid to stop assaulting your ears. You're not meant to get the urge to jump up and down like a lunatic when you listen to it, you're meant to enjoy it. In fact the techniques used are very reminiscent of Classical music in the way that it uses mostly instruments to inflict emotions upon you; the tracks are constantly souring and then pausing which really plays around with your feelings.

This is what Mt Eden does especially well, in all of his songs there's a contrast between the heavy, bass ridden parts and the soft, piano parts and the overall effect is pretty damn good. I have to say though, that not all Dubstep musicians are the same, many are frankly terrible and treat it exactly the same as Drum & Bass while others are still good but never quite manage to find the balance.

Funnily enough, Mt Eden's most well received song is a remix of Sierra Leone and I have to say that, while the song is by no means perfect due to its overuse of the snare drum and rather too much repetition for my liking, it's very close to getting there. In fact, I'm going to show you a youtube video of it
so you can listen and be one of the four million others who've also heard it.

Mt Eden is also by no means a one trick pony, all of his remixes are different and they are all of pretty high quality, if you are interested in listening to more of this stuff I would advise checking out his remix of Silence and I'll be there for you. If you subscribe to his Youtube channel then you will get a new mix every month, for free! So there's no reason not to do it.

Other Stuff

Keeping on the Dubstep front for the time being, there is another guy worth mentioning, he goes my the name of Autopilot and makes a softer but more disjointed version of Dubstep. And his music is free as well, along with all the mixes of his music and the mixes of the mixes, ah it's a good world that we live in, to be sure. There's also a nice novelty piece of Dubstep that I'll tell you about, it's a mix of the song from the Lloyd's TSB advert and while it is completely terrible it is pretty funny.

What else? Well there's this little gem that doesn't seem to fall into any genre I can think of, it's called Noon and by some people/ a person named Dakent. This is yet another youtube-link worthy song so I'll link the video below. You should note though that this takes a long time to build up but it's well worth sitting through it.

There's not really too much left for me to say apart from thanks for you time and please leave suggestions for what I should do next as I am fast running out of ideas. Tarah.

Stranger of Sorts:
[center][h2][color=indigo] 5. GIANT SNIP

No, there aren't any conventional instruments...Gibbard recorded the vocals and sent them via mail to Tamborello, who independently crafted the rest of the tracks. It's all electronic.

I really like electronica, and when you combine it with the oft-vaunted "widescreen" sound of Death Cab and Gibbard's sharp-as-a-razor songwriting...man. Great stuff.

Incidentally, the genre is probably electronica.

Huxleykrcc:

No, there aren't any conventional instruments...Gibbard recorded the vocals and sent them via mail to Tamborello, who independently crafted the rest of the tracks. It's all electronic.

I really like electronica, and when you combine it with the oft-vaunted "widescreen" sound of Death Cab and Gibbard's sharp-as-a-razor songwriting...man. Great stuff.

Incidentally, the genre is probably electronica.

I put the genre in there; even though the album is good I don't think anything Gibbard does will top Transatlantism. Now that is a good album.

Stranger of Sorts:
snip

Ooh, boobies! Something that my undeveloped 17-year old mind can't handle!

In all serousness, the Mods probably won't take kindly to the album cover. Just a warning.

On-topic: Eh, doesn't sound like my kind of thing. Sorry.

7.

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Technicolour Health

_by Harlem Shakes

Genre = Rock/Pop

Number of Songs = 10

Highlights = N/A

Okay I digress, this review is going to be the last obscure one for a while in the hope that reviewing albums that you have all heard of will bring me more recognition and therefore a much needed boost to my ego. I will be very surprised and also impressed if any of you have heard of Harlem Shakes as they passed below my radar pretty easily and it was only thanks to a lucky set of events that I stumbled across them. If memory serves I was putting together a review of Conditions by The Temper Trap and while I was searching for the album cover I clicked on the thumbprint in Google images and it came up with a list of someone's favourite albums of 2009. I spent a while browsing this list while scorning at the suggestion the Reservoir was only 16th yet an album I had never heard of was 1st. So I picked said album up and proceeded to listen to it.

It has to be said that the opening of the album took me by suprise, it opens with a little electronic jingle that wouldn't sound out of place in a Pokemon game soundtrack, followed by a pulsating riff that would be more suited to Grand Theft Auto and then the verse kicks in. Suffice to say that Nothing But Change Part II is a very odd tune to start of with, least for the fact that the name itself leaves me wondering where the first part is. It is however, a very feel good song full of up-beat trumpet interludes and very pop-like vocals. This song sets the tone for the rest of Technicolour Health with the feel good vibe and oddly insightful lyrics which sometimes border on humorous, encompassed in the closing line to the song, "One down, nine to go".

So what of the next song Strictly Game? Well, it continues the precedent of opening with a seemingly unrelated jingle (this time it's a trumpet jingle) but is noticably down-beat compared to the first song; yet some how managing to sound hopeful thanks to the repeated line "This will be a better year" and the way the song gets more light hearted as it progresses. It also gets louder, which is always a good thing. I can honestly say that as an avid music veteran and amateur reviewer that I've never seen this type of build up before, never has a song slowly changed its mood it has always simply got more epic.

And the next song? Good. The next? Good. Next? Good. You can see where this is going, those more acute eyed of you will have noticed that I did not list any highlights in this review, I did that as I couldn't be bothered to write out every song on the album. It's one of those albums where you change your favourite songs on it by the hour. I think the closest to a highlight that I can see on this album is Winter Water which starts off like the others. Only this jingle is rather more eerie and, like the first, reminds you of the old game boy game soundtracks. The song itself is remarkable, it is one of the most bat-shit crazy songs I have ever heard. On the second verse Harlem Shakes decide to abandon structure as far as instruments go and just pile in effects which give a carnival crazy feel to it, this effect is added to by the chilling vocals of "I can name 300 medicines, I just can't choose". However, this is broken up with a very nice chorus complete with loud instruments and backing singers.

So is this the best album of 2009? No it isn't, while it's innovative it could use some polish and while every song is good there is no song which is that amazing. What I will say to you is that if you're interested then definitely buy it, if you're not then it is possible to live without this album.

Stranger of Sorts:

starfox444:
My goodness, you have a knack for picking music I don't quite like.

Have any suggestions? I'd quite like to review something a bit different, maybe metal or something.

I would like some contemporary jazz.

starfox444:

Stranger of Sorts:

starfox444:
My goodness, you have a knack for picking music I don't quite like.

Have any suggestions? I'd quite like to review something a bit different, maybe metal or something.

I would like some contemporary jazz.

Ah contemporary jazz, now there's a field of music where I am completely clueless, any artists in particular? Otherwise it will probably be Miles Davis since iTunes listed him.

Even if you are joking, you're on.

Stranger of Sorts:

starfox444:

Stranger of Sorts:

starfox444:
My goodness, you have a knack for picking music I don't quite like.

Have any suggestions? I'd quite like to review something a bit different, maybe metal or something.

I would like some contemporary jazz.

Ah contemporary jazz, now there's a field of music where I am completely clueless, any artists in particular? Otherwise it will probably be Miles Davis since iTunes listed him.

Even if you are joking, you're on.

I'm not joking at all. It's just that a lot of the stuff I like is quite old.

starfox444:

Stranger of Sorts:

starfox444:
My goodness, you have a knack for picking music I don't quite like.

Have any suggestions? I'd quite like to review something a bit different, maybe metal or something.

I would like some contemporary jazz.

8.

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Kind of Blue

_by Miles Davis

Genre = Jazz

Number of Songs = 15 (CD 1)

Highlights = N/A

I asked for something different and that is exactly what I got, Contemporary Jazz was what was requested but I'm afraid I picked up this guy in the vague hope that he might be. When it comes to Jazz I have no idea what I am talking about, I don't know what makes good Jazz or what makes bad Jazz but I do know what I like so lets go with that, shall we?

There's something about this type of music that I have realised is not for me, there are no vocals. And as many people will tell you vocals give a focus to the song, ultimately they are what grabs your attention and it's what the instruments centre around. Music without vocals can work though, the most memorable music moment of my life was sitting in a field and having Jupiter by Gustaf Holst blasted at me by 20ft speakers, it was the only time I have ever seen my dad cry and that, as many of you may know, leaves a powerful effect on you. The difference between that music and Jazz is that classical music demands your attention when it is played, it is complex and multi-layered in ways that you can't help but appreciate. Jazz, to me, will always be backing music, it is not complex and only involves a handful of instruments that are all played the same way, there is nothing that shocks you.

This albums is no exception, all the songs are pleasant enough but I cannot remember a single one to save the life of me. Even now, as I write this, I am listening to the album to try and remind myself of which songs I like. The main problem is that they all follow the same template: lightly tapped snare drum, repeating rhythm and then a freestyle over the top. There is not a single song on this album which stands out, which is why most of this review is full of me reviewing the genre itself.

If I had to pick a song to mention it would be Freddie Freeloader due to the fact that it seems to be a slightly more pleasant song in a sea of pleasantness. There's a nice bit of trumpet soloing which is quite upbeat and makes the track more noticeable.

Overall, this is an absolutely great album if you are thinking of opening a resteraunt and need something playing in the background to keep everyone in a pleasant mood. As an album that you actually listen to it is extremely lacking.

Wow that may just be the shortest review I have ever written. To make up for it I'll link a more 'full' review that I just did It's About Time :: Dragon Age: Origins

Stranger of Sorts:

There's something about this type of music that I have realised is not for me, there are no vocals. And as many people will tell you vocals give a focus to the song, ultimately they are what grabs your attention and it's what the instruments centre around...The difference between that music and Jazz is that classical music demands your attention when it is played, it is complex and multi-layered in ways that you can't help but appreciate. Jazz, to me, will always be backing music, it is not complex and only involves a handful of instruments that are all played the same way, there is nothing that shocks you.

Thanks for giving it a go. In regards to this massive paragraph I would have said the exact opposite, well except for that part about classical being multi-layered, I agree with that.

I think you may have started out on the wrong foot. I think that this song certainly doesn't feel like everything is the same.

9.

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Oracular Spectacular

_by MGMT

Genre = Pop/ Electronic

Number of songs = 10

Highlights = Time to Pretend, Kids + Of Moons, Birds and Monsters

There is a very strong and simple reason why I find that I've chosen to talk to you about MGMT's old album just as their new one is released. And that is because I listened to their new one and was so confused and sickened that I have been consoling myself with Oracular Spectacular for the past week and a half. Don't get me wrong, the new album is bad by any means but to me it just isn't anywhere near as good as this. I may review it later on but I'm afraid all the review would consist of is comparisons: this wasn't quite as good as this and that wasn't as inspired as that. Anyway I'm sure you understand after that paragraph of waffle so let's move forward shall we?

_
Now I'm sure that most of you will have heard of MGMT and (probably) heard the singles: Kids, Time to Pretend and Electric Feel as they have all been systematically played to death on the radio since, compared to the other shit that they air on Radio 1, they are amazing. MGMT's music can be described as upbeat and with very prevalent melodies that consist of electronic beeps but are pretty easy to listen to. Kids is very notably centred around the melody, which is very simple, loud and of course, catchy. However, the rest of Oracular Spectacular defies this precedent and is surprisingly sophisticated.

When I first played this album I was expecting much of the same, nonsensical lyrics, catchy beeps and upbeat choruses though, suffice to say I was pleasantly surprised. The first song I came across that wasn't a single was Weekend Warrior, a song that stars deceptively simple but quickly turns into a jaunty, fast-paced tune full of backing singers and suprise sections/ key changes. While it is slightly let down by the singer's rather whiny voice I would argue that it was better than MGMT's singles. And that is just the first song, the next song, The Youth, is very 'drifting' and more downbeat but equally enjoyable to listen to.

The album continues in this fashion, each song being unique and surprising in its own way, that is until we get to Of Moons, Birds and Monsters which is by far my favourite song on the album. It sets off pretty well with a pretty standard, happy verse with a guitar riff behind it, only when the chorus arrives there is only a quiet interlude where all but a few of the instruments stop, then it picks back up again. This happens twice and then the song changes completely into what has to be my favourite 'surprise outro' of all time, it just comes out of nowhere. A soulful, slow, building up instrumental piece that is the last thing you expect from a band such as MGMT, when I first heard it all I could do was lie on my back and gawp in awe.

Listening to it yet? You better be otherwise you're missing one of the most inspired songs of whenever this was written. Overall I can do nothing but praise this album, which annoys me as a reviewer, but as a music listener I couldn't be happier. If you haven't got this album yet I urge you to do almost anything to obtain it.

- Thanks for your time.

I really wish other people would comment on these. You really damn well deserve it.

starfox444:
I really wish other people would comment on these. You really damn well deserve it.

You know what? So do I! I mean, I know people are reading this, unless you've clicked the link 270 times.

I've never been a fan of mgmt, but I couldn't agree more on how they've really dropped the ball on the latest album.
I don't like mgmt by any measure, but they sort of had a bit of cred, then I heard a few songs off the travesty they released last and cannot find it in myself to respect them anymore.

10.

image

Parachutes

_by Coldplay

Genre = Pop

Number of Songs = 10

Highlights = Sparks, Trouble + Yellow

So here we have it ladies and gentlemen, my 10th review! When I first started this series I expected my enthusiasm to fizzle out by the time I got this far but I proved myself wrong, my blind dedication to a lost cause has been paid off with... well nothing, but this keeps me from going psycho so I think it's best if I continue. Actually, to be honest these have never been much of reviews, I do that elsewhere like in my It's About Time! series which seems to be going pretty well at the moment, as in getting twice as many views on one review than this thread has, oh well shall we continue?

Now what I imagine a few of you are wondering why I, of all people, am reviewing Coldplay; a band renowned for being as mainstream and generic as possible whereas my music tastes border on the obscure. Well I'm sure all of you have heard Coldplay's latest stuff and that most certainly is generic and mainstream, but have you heard the album that made them so big in the first place? No. Or maybe yes. Either way I expect you to read the rest of the review because I'm demanding and am a narcissist so look sharp!

Parachutes opens up with Don't Panic, a very calming, acoustic dominated song which is overlayed by Chris Martins very good voice, it follows the classic Coldplay template of adding a loud, electric instrument when the chorus hits which plays uplifting scales to lift your mood and make the song a lot more memorable and catchy. However, while this song is good the formula seems to be ruining it, Don't Panic would probably be a much better song if the 'uplifting notes bit' was removed in favour of something a tad quieter. Confusingly the actual song Parachutes is only 45 seconds long and by far the worst song on the album it features an acoustic guitar and Chris Martin trying to sound deep and meaningful, it really doesn't work.

And then, as we reach the second half of the album things take an abrupt turn into awesome. Sparks, follows a similar style to Don't Panic but seems to be a lot more successful, the 'uplifting notes bit' is a lot less prevalent and the voice takes centre stage along with the rather haunting bass which just seems to make this song complete. It's funny how the smallest things like the bass really help elevate a song from standard to great. Sparks is then blown out of the water by Trouble, the piano ballad on the album. It's nice to see bands use the old trusty piano, all the most powerful songs involve the piano, and this song is most certainly powerful. It is, quite simply, a masterpiece. Then, last but not least, we come to Yellow. This is another formulaic song but yet again, it works; most likely because the formula is a very good one, Yellow features heavier guitar and drums than the rest of the album which is probably why it was the single, it's still very good though.

So yeh sure, Coldplay are as mainstream as you can get, "everyone sounds like Coldplay"... do you know why? It's because Coldplay created mainstream! Sure they may not be the best band in the world but they gave the world a formula, and that formula worked.

-Thus concludes my 10th review, thanks for your time.

It's obvious you're into indie-ish music, so I give you a challenge. Review Colors by Between the Buried and Me.

I just want to get as far off from what you're listening to. If nothing else, it will give you some idea of some other kinds of music.

FinalHeart95:
It's obvious you're into indie-ish music, so I give you a challenge. Review Colors by Between the Buried and Me.

I just want to get as far off from what you're listening to. If nothing else, it will give you some idea of some other kinds of music.

Holy shit that'll be a challenge, actually wait I remember getting pretty into Alaska, okay will post a review up soon.

Eh. You like your indie too much.

The coldplay album was good, granted.

and maybe it's just that I'm on a 90's and earlier binge but I like my rolling stones and bob dylan more than the stuff that's new.

acosn:
Eh. You like your indie too much.

The coldplay album was good, granted.

and maybe it's just that I'm on a 90's and earlier binge but I like my rolling stones and bob dylan more than the stuff that's new.

It's a shame as there's some really good new stuff, granted I don't really like Bob Dylan, sure he writes great music but he can't sing at all.

One album I'd like to see you review is Sub Focus by Sub Focus. Don't think you've reviewed anything like it yet, and I personally think it is a great album. 'course don't let my opinion on it affect yours ;)

Stranger, I would like to see what you think of Crack the Skye by Mastodon

FinalHeart95:
It's obvious you're into indie-ish music, so I give you a challenge. Review Colors by Between the Buried and Me.

I just want to get as far off from what you're listening to. If nothing else, it will give you some idea of some other kinds of music.

11.

image

Colors

_by Between the Buried and Me

Genre = Heavy/ Death Metal

Number of Songs = 8

Highlights = Foam Born (A) The Backtrack + ...

Do you know what song sits in my playlist of favourite songs in between Kreuzburg by Bloc Party and 23 by Jimmy Eat World? It's Suicide Season by Bring Me The Horizon, an 8 minute orgy of screaming guitars and heavy riffs among a list of quiet, soulful songs. So when FinalHeart95 asked me to review this album thinking that it would be a challenge for me, he was wrong. So wrong in fact that I actually already own some songs by Between the Buried and Me, so when I downloaded this album and pressed play I was expecting much of the same. I couldn't have been more wrong.

This album starts of with a very slow piano piece, the trick usually played by bands such as this is to start with something quiet and then kick off with the screaming and the soloing when you least expect it. In fact, what Between the Buried and Me do is just to bring a voice in, the voice does not scream or shout, it sings in a soft, pleasant tone to accompany the piano. Needless to say I was pretty confused by this point, then the drums kick in and a chorus that would fit in better in a Muse album starts. Electronic Arpeggios and everything. But in the last 30 seconds of the great introduction that is Foam Born (A) The Backtrack, the screaming starts... and then it carries on into the next song.

You see lady and gentlemen, as well as taking lessons in music from Muse this band also take the from The Beatles, with songs seamlessly going into the next to create one continuous song, rather than a collection of 8 songs. This is the reason I only put one highlight because in all the other songs there are only certain parts that are good as the songs are constantly changing. What Between the Buried and Me like to do is show the listener (that's us) a contrast between the extremely heavy and the softer, more easy to listen to parts of their songs. This makes the heavy parts sound heavier and the softer parts softer and it really is interesting to listen to. If I had to pick an example I would pick Informal Gluttony, a very Egyptian sounding song while keeping it extremely heavy which at one point, suddenly stops to let the soft, singing part in. The effect is very powerful, any Bloc Party fan (such as myself) will instantly link this effect with Ares which is essentially 3 minutes of screaming and 10 seconds of calm, which is worth listening to the 3 minutes for.

Having all the songs blend into each other does create a problem though, they're all similar to each other. Apart from the opener, not a single one bucks the trend of starting off insanely heavy and introducing the calmer sections later on. It also feels like they've forced in some of the heavier sections in places since it really doesn't work, such as (B) The Decades of Statues which is frankly terrible. Confusingly, for a predominantly heavy metal band, the actual heavy metal bits are the weakest parts of the album.

This video is of the first 2 songs

If you are a metal fan then I would seriously reckomend this album as it is done quite well, but it feels disjointed and some parts don't work so for the rest of us, I can safely say that you can give this album a miss.

I think I can plug my other reviews now...

And now for some unrelated stuff

JackTHerbert:
One album I'd like to see you review is Sub Focus by Sub Focus. Don't think you've reviewed anything like it yet, and I personally think it is a great album. 'course don't let my opinion on it affect yours ;)

I don't think that will be possible, I've tried to get into DnB but I can't, the closest I've got is Dubstep (review 6.)

Stranger, I'm enjoying this series. I have two suggestions for you: LostProphets' Fake Sound of Progress, or The Airborne Toxic Event.

I agree completely with your review by the way, excluding them sounding the same (for the most part). It's far from a non-metal fan's kind of album. I am a metal fan however, and it is my favorite album from them, and possibly from any band.

Well done!

BlueInkAlchemist:
Stranger, I'm enjoying this series. I have two suggestions for you: LostProphets' Fake Sound of Progress, or The Airborne Toxic Event.

It'll probably be The Airborne Toxic Event since according to people I know I just don't 'get' Fake Sound of Progress. Might have it up by tonight if msn gets quiet enough for me to do something else. Oh and I'm glad someone other than myself is enjoying this.

FinalHeart95:
I agree completely with your review by the way, excluding them sounding the same (for the most part). It's far from a non-metal fan's kind of album. I am a metal fan however, and it is my favorite album from them, and possibly from any band.

Well done!

Thanks.

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