No longer what you require.
8 August 2008
It is not easy to ignore the radio-friendly songs by Irish band The Script – especially when a particular local radio station here has willingly undertaken the task of regularly playing the band’s hit singles, with one of its deejays even proclaiming his avid interest in the band.
Miraculously, a few songs off The Script’s self-titled album proved to be rather uplifting tunes fit for battling the daily traffic even when repeated to death. The album is generally direct and light in its approach, with songs that are simple, unthreateningly honest and with a hint of harmlessness to them – why, they make you easily forgive and forget even when a driver nonchalantly maneuvers into your lane without indicating.
Part of the album’s appeal is to the storytelling evident in a few of its songs, with lyrics that have no trouble at all working their way into your heart, such as in the beautiful “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” (“How can I move on / When I’m still in love with you”) or the smooth “Breakeven” (“ ‘Cause when a heart breaks no it don’t break even”).
Alas, the album is not without its flaws. It starts out strong, with all first five tracks (the two aforementioned tracks, “We Cry”, “Before the Worst”, “Talk You Down”) having gone on to become either chart-topping hits or popular favourites, but the later part of the album slows to a near snooze and is rendered almost negligible.
No One’s First, And You’re Next
4 August 2009
Modest Mouse makes a temporary return with leftovers from their previous two efforts (We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank (2007) and Good News for People Who Love Bad News (2004)). Strangely, some of the eight tracks available in No One’s First, And You’re Next do exude some sort of a B-side feel to them – neither here nor there, though that vibe is considerably eliminated once they are neatly arranged together here in this album.
While there may be no strong standouts such as “Float On” or “Dashboard” present, one cannot help but wonder the magic that tracks such as the mellow “Autumn Beds” or loud “King Rats” could have done, had they been included in their previous albums. Still, better late than never, eh?
This album sees singer Isaac Brock’s distinctive yelps and the band’s usual treatment all over it – jarring chords, extended guitarwork, and the like – and makes it all the more easier for it to be accepted by the average Modest Mouse fan.
No More Stories Are Told Today I’m Sorry They Washed Away No More Stories the World Is Grey I’m Tired Let’s Wash Away
25 August 2009
The last time I became briefly enamored with Mew was when Frengers was released in 2003. (I gave And The Glass Handed Kites a miss, ugly cover and all.)
The new album’s long title No More Stories Are Told Today… does not at all surprise fans, given the weirdness and oddities that Mew regularly stamps onto its work. It starts off with the disorienting and unimpressive “New Terrain”, which moves like a broken song (it has been said that when played backwards, it reveals another song called “Nervous”); but rapidly gives way to the melodies and tunes more expected of Mew (as predictable as they could get, anyway).
Highlights of this album include the dreamy “Silas the Magic Car”, which to me keeps painting pictures of The Faraway Tree (for reasons unknown); the sunny “Beach”, with its instantly accessible and appealing uptempo beats; and the pop-ish “Tricks of the Trade”, which builds up nicely towards the end.
Mew pulled out the usual tricks on this one – it is not as experimental as I fear it to be – and indeed has the comforting sounds that fans have come to learn to love.
Sound the Alarm
8 September 2009
Howie Day finally unveils his latest album Sound the Alarm, after more than five years of recluse, rehabilitation, and recharging, since the universal success that was the popular, chart-topping hit “Collide” from 2004’s Stop All the World Now.
Piano-driven tunes seem to dominate most of this album. The songs do not immediately draw you in, instead silently requesting that you take a few more discerning listens to let them grow inside you. There are gems, however, though few and far between – first track “So Stung” is such a sweeping, haunting number, you would have to have a heart of stone to not appreciate it. This is then followed by “Weightless” and “Longest Night”, which both just scream hit single potential.
“Be There” is the first single that has been put out to test the waters, and it does not at all disappoint. Sound the Alarm will not hit the heights to match that of its predecessor’s (truth be told it will take an astronomical effort to shed off the expectations that come after “Collide”), but no doubt there will be those who will happily welcome the Day the music plays for them again.
Upcoming releases for 2009:
Kings of Convenience. David Gray. Editors. Flaming Lips. Islands. John Mayer. See Metacritic’s release calendar here.