22 September 2009
So, we all know about Girls frontman Christopher Owens’ sad sob story – this is a band with a rather wild tale of its humble beginnings, and does not tread down the conventional good-friends-form-band-in-high-school path. Cults, drugs, girls, rock and roll. But let not this drive you away from the band’s ungoogleable name of an album. Touted as one of 2009’s best debuts, Girls’ Album sounds all sugary, sweet and nice – but still manages to retain some shade of seriousness to it as well. And the best thing about it all is that Girls make it all work so effortlessly.
The lyrics sound deceptively easy – usually about a guy’s typical wants and needs (“I wish I had a pizza and a bottle of wine”), and uhm, girls (plenty of them). But when paired with strings of equally simple chords and beats, Album becomes a failproof package filled with all kinds of pop wonder.
It kicks off with “Lust for Life” – an opener that pretty much sums up the general (musical) direction of the band; followed by “Laura”, a song with an awesome jam that still makes me wish I had a hand in it somehow. First single “Hellhole Ratrace” is a heartbreaking seven-minute epic, even as Owens slowly sobers up and channels a Morrissey in the next song “Headache”.
Declaring to others that “I like Girls!” may raise an eyebrow or two, but for an album with infectious tunes such as this one, there is simply nothing to be ashamed of. Girls, the band, is as honest as they come, and so should you.
20 October 2009
The name Atlas Sound was intriguing enough to make me have a go at this album. At first listen, Logos sounded interesting enough – layers upon layers of trippy tunes and drifting melodies. Some of the tracks here seem so big and full, it gives the impression that they can only be achieved by a full-grown band akin to that of Broken Social Scene’s; except that where the Canadian collective could be made up to as many as ten different musicians at any one time, Atlas Sound consists of only just one: Bradford Cox is the man in question, and he also doubles up as frontman for the band Deerhunter.
For a (mostly) one-man show, it comes as a pleasant surprise that none of the music in Logos sound even remotely alike – the album is diverse enough as it is, employing the use of various instruments, electronics and choice of vocals that results in one solid package of dreamy ambient music.
Though he has occasional collaborations with other musicians such as Animal Collective’s Noah Lennox in the lollipop-fun “Walkabout” and with Laetitia Sadier of Stereolab in the fantastically hypnotic “Quick Canal”, the expansive sounds in the wandering “The Light that Failed” also show that Cox can hold the fort well even on his own.
Atlas Sound is meant to be Cox’s musical solo project, but if the meticulously-textured sounds in Logos is anything to come by, I look forward to hearing more from just him in the future.
Let’s Build a Fire
24 October 2006
(One day, I too shall name my band something not as search-engine-friendly…)
Having heard three albums from +/- (or Plus/Minus), I pick Let’s Build a Fire as my favourite. Let me count the ways:
1. It has a winning album opener so eponymously titled, it indeed does help start and keep the fire alive throughout the 50-minute affair.
2. A brilliant meshing of the loud and the quiet done so naturally, it is as simple and accessible as the familiar squeak of your own front door.
3. Mindblowing and pensive, the album shifts with ease from one mood to another.
4. If you cannot find Ben Gibbard or Thom Yorke, there is still James Baluyut.
5. I simply adore and cannot get enough of the beautiful sounds that make up “The Important Thing is to Love” – it tugs at my heartstrings every single time.
Ah, pure awesomeness.
Upcoming releases for 2010:
Broken Social Scene (4 May!). The National (11 May!). Coldplay. Fleet Foxes. Franz Ferdinand. The Strokes. See Metacritic’s release calendar here.