Sunday, 27 June 2010

New Album Releases- W/B 21/06/2010

Perfume Genius- Perfume Genius (Organs)
An album that contrasts its season of release, as Perfume Genius is the antithesis of anti-summer, an album of songs so bleak and intense that they would sit perfectly in a feature film about a guy who wants to end his own life, indifferent at first, but gradually finding more and more in the world to push himself over the edge of the building. As with the album's most poppy track "Mr Peterson" told from the point of the view of the albums protagonist, close (possibly homosexually) to a teacher who rewards him with tapes of Joy Divison and a place to smoke drugs but killing himself mid song because he feels that something is missing.

Perfume Genius main narrative drive (and these songs are mostly broken stories) are cold as ice... there is no real sympathy here but just a surrender to how bitter and cruel the world is and hope is naive and wistfully hopefully (and by turns unrealistic) In "Mr Peterson" the narrative is so deadpan that the only hope is that he may find "there's room above or down below" while "Lookout Lookout" is basically a warning of how horrible things happen around around with it's repeated refrain (Chorus) of "lookout lookout there are murders about."

A comparison to early Bright Eyes is a fair place to start but will not necessarily let anyone know what to expect during the ten track debut, but Mike's real triumph is there potential for future greatness (much like Conor before fever and mirrors), the self titled debut sparringly uses accompaniment (piano, organ and faded vocal harmonies) which slips it into an almost surrealistic/Lynchian world but the excitement for how PG will grow when he opens up the songs to a wider dimension but with songs brutalized by industrial hurt and a internalized pain and regret that is original and fucked up cold as a Gregg Araki teen. At the end of the film, there is only one solution to the protagonists problem... a long fall! 9/10

Sleigh Bells- Treats (mop+pop music)

Sleigh Bells come from the heavily blogged about/hype machine vibe of a band that have not released anything and then are suddenly under a massive amount of pressure to release a 10/10 debut. I mention all of this because "Treats" certainly plays like an album created in spite of all of this, that and the rumour the album was ghost-written by M.I.A.

Positives- Sleigh Bells manage to combine the styles of former Poison The Well Guitarist Derek E. Miller and the almost schizo vocal styles (and obviously live/recorded) talent of Alexis Krauss with relative ease and the call back style of M.I.A. flows throughout. No one can doubt the talent this group has "Rill Rill," "Crown on The Ground" and opener "Tell Em" have sing a long potential. Live is where Sleigh Bells shine, shrugging off any comparison points for Krauss with her geninue "i dont not give a shit" attitude and her obvious skills as an MC mixed with her yelps and piercing screams.

Negatives- Often Treats cannot make it's stylistic differences work, and often they just clash, "Rill Rill" in particular a relief from the aural inaccurcies that exist between Miller's balls out guitar lines, the percussion and the cuter side of Krauss' vocals. Treats in it's first half often crosses the line from noisy dance pop to just illogical and irritating noise. The second half (after Rill Rill) makes it work a lot better than its previous half and the album is certainly a grower rather than a shower, but it cannot be ignored that the album is more of a response to the hype rather than a mission statement for a band who are more than talented enough to create some memorable and intense moments. But in our current climate, it often follows that you have one shot and that's it. Treats simply takes too long to live up to its name and demostrate what makes sleigh bells stand out from the rest of this generation of new york artists. 6.5/10

Kele- The Boxer (Wichita)

Towards the end (for now) of Bloc Party, it always felt that Kele's spirit was urging even closer to abandoning the roots of Silent Alarm for dance and modern r&b but his debut solo album still takes bold steps in abandoning Bloc Party complete in favour of UK Dance music, and in particular nu-garage, and fluid (of course poppy) dubstep/drum and bass.

As much as it would be easy to dismiss the Boxer as a poor subsitute for Kele's dayjob and of course his inspiration, much of The Boxer actually works for the most part and comes across as passionate and pardon me a daring listen. If anything though, The Boxer simply does not have the hooks that Bloc Party are capable of... but the album also falters under being associated as a debut album, and while The Boxer would not get anywhere near the amount of attention it recieved if it were another singer, it is a bold album and at least an exciting step for Kele's career and the possible fourth BP album. 6/10

Lissie- Catching a Tiger (Columbia)

In a story as predictable as England crashing and burning out of the world cup, this is a story of a major label who sign a massively talented singer/songwriter with a voice capable of melting the heart of Sarah Palin, whose debut EP (and you should listen) was hopeful, bittersweet and intimate, due in most part to the simple production structure and goosebumpingly raw sweetness of Lissie's voice. "So where to start???? let's ignore why people were interested in the first place." So Lissie's songs are now part-written by a selection of collaborators and beefed up to fit perfectly between Norah Jones/Katie Melua on Radio 2 friendly drivetime show. The production is so big that any ounce of creativity is shackled by the string/brass/orchestra and Lissie's voice is confined as such, as if to melt Lissie into a mode when any selection of half arsed cliched filled country piano pop may work for the mass market. It was always inevitable but ultimately still as insulting as a lump of shit to the face. 2/10

Pulled Apart By Horses-Pulled Apart By Horses

So Rare is it to find an English band to excited about, equally rare is it to take an essentially American Hardcore sound and add to the style to make it seem so their very own. PABH have already destroyed every venue/festival in this country with their radically dangerous live show perfectly and effortlessly captured in their debut album, that you cannot help but to imagine a hundred sweaty bodies flying everywhere for the duration. Encouraged by their influences rather than merely pointing to them, Pulled Apart By Horses unbury the corpses of US Hardcore legends Black Flag (and very much the Chapel Hill, NC Scene), Refused & ATDI to create a fun punk package which could so effortlessly capture teenage angst conversely with being a cool soundtrack to a jock party. 8/10

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