2 July 2017

2017 Album Review Round Up Part 5

Welcome to a round up review!  It is the first of many I will be releasing over the next few weeks, think of them like the bullet point reviews you get in magazines, short and to the point.  I did one of these last year before Christmas, mainly due to the volume of albums that were still left to review at that time of year and this is happening for similar reasons.  There are many reasons for this, the biggest reason of all is time.  Basically, there is only so much time a one man team has available to do the details blogs that I usually post on here.  So, the list of albums that I want to review, promised to review, need to review has grown.  At the moment, it is hitting north of 100 with ease and I need to get that down as there are some other releases that are coming and they need my attention as well.  Now, I will be breaking these round ups down into batches of ten, they will be minus the normal link to purchase of stream the albums (due to space) but you will be able to find these online very easily (legal links, remember - this is not that type of blog).  I will be using the same introduction to each of these blog, if only to save more time.  Thanks for reading - Eddie.

Spoon – Hot Thoughts

American Alternative rock outfit Spoon are a name I was not aware of, they have not been given the press in the UK that they get in the USA to be honest, but if you consider that they have been around since 1993, it feels like I owe them at least one spin.  The main thing for me about this album is that I feel like I am coming in halfway through a movie, one that everyone else is raving about, but I have missed that hook which has got everyone mesmerised.  It is a good record, I particularly love the mood of ‘Do I Have to Talk You Into It’ and there is a lot of good songs on this album.  But it feels like I have arrived at a party a little late.  A good album, but I will need to hear more of their stuff to find out how they got to this point.

7 out of ten – This is good and worth checking out.

Top song – Do I Have to Talk You Into It

Feist – Pleasure

This album for me could be the world’s most perfect example of the Emperor’s new clothes to be honest.  Where do I start?  The production is poor, the music is a chore to my soul and the songs do not make much impact.  It seems to be aiming for that art-house style, that hipster indie that is used in b-movies, the type you say you like, but really thing is an awful use of film.  It mixes the sound of Warpaint and somehow it manages to take any joy out of it, it is without any charm or honest either.  It is a very poor album, one that does not offer anything but style over substance.

2 out of ten - If only there was some quality control.

Top track – Lost Dream

The XX – I See You

The XX have sort of passed me by for many reasons, mainly down to me hunting down as many Frank Zappa records as I possibly can listen to in one life time.  ‘I See You’ however is a beautiful chill out album, one that works best in those dark nights when you are still awake, whilst everyone else is asleep apart from the night owls and your own thoughts.  It is sounds as gentle as a lover’s caress, as deep as first love and it is beautifully produced.  I think I need to listen to some of their earlier work now as well.

8 out of ten – Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my time, money and heart.

Top track – Replica

Chuck Berry – Chuck

Sometimes when you are close to the end, you release some of your best work.  That is what happened to David Bowie before he left this sphere and it has happened with Chuck Berry.  This is his 18th studio album, his first since 1979 and it was announced on his 90th birthday.  It is an old school rock ‘n’ roll/blues record that sounds as if the man had placed every last piece of sweat, effort and tears in this record.  Whilst it is not my sort of thing, I can appreciate the craftmanship behind this record.  This is the music of a man who is giving his all, having one last go at his art, to create the music he loved and the end result is brilliant.  It is a wonderful send off to a man who made his guitar cry and the angels swoon, may the deities guide you to the halls of your father Chuck.

8 out of ten – Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my time, money and heart.

Top track – Big Boys

Dan Auerbach – Waiting on a Song

Wow and not in a good way.  For a man who has spent his life make retro feeling rock records, this album is trying way too hard to recreate that sound, it should not be that difficult to make a vintage rock album and it gives me no pleasure what so ever to criticise it.  I have heard a lot better from Dan Auerbach and the man has a great voice, but this album is not going anywhere fast and sounds too retro, too insular for its own good.  It is that poor, plain and simple - do not believe the hype on this one kids.

2 out of ten – If only there was quality control

Top track – Undertow

Iron Reagan – Crossover Ministry

They came, they trashed, they conquered, they moved on.  It sounds the same as their other works – straight out, no brainer trash-punk with tones of energy, but it sounds as loud as hell (as you would expect) with no wasted effort or misplaced ideas.  This review does not need to be that long, you will either already love it or hate it and I fall straight into the former category.

8 out of ten – Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my time, money and heart.

Top track – Power of the Skull

The Royal – Seven

Metalcore is a genre I could really give or take on at times, nothing against the genre or the bands, but I am not as big on metal as I used to be.  If it is done right then it can sound stunning, if it is done wrong it sounds like unprocessed noise which would even make Sunn 0))))) turn up their collective noses and walk away.  The Royal thankfully have made a good album with ‘Seven’, it has all the dynamics that are required for a Metalcore album, it owes a huge debt to the Gothenburg sound, the NWOAMB’s and the melodic death metal groups of the early 2000’s.  A little bit predictable, but still enjoyable.

7 out of ten – This is good and worth checking out

Top track – Counterculture

Cyanide Pills – Sliced and Diced

It is a short, sharp kick in the balls with this punk rock album, one that believes that punk is not family friendly and any song that is over two and a half minutes is a crime against humanity.  It is a tad long in length to be honest, eighteen songs that have a similar pattern is a bit wearing by the end of the album, but overall their single bloody minded attitude makes this album one of the best punk albums of the year.

7.5 out of ten – This is good and worth checking out

Top track – Still Bored

London Grammar – Truth Is a Beautiful Thing

I get moody music, I get dream pop, I understand its appeal and I appreciate everyone has different tastes.  However, London Grammar are a band which pass me by and leave me cold.  It feels like music that you should be seen to like, the music that will give you cool points in certain crowds.  Maybe this is because they are such an easy name to drop, maybe it is because other people seem to think they are the hip sound when it comes to moody, atmospheric indie pop.  But at the end of the day, ‘Truth Is a Beautiful Thing’ is an average atmospheric dream pop/indie light album which is dull, but performed very well. I am not dismissing this album for any glory, to be against the tide and to make friends or enemies, I am doing it because it is not for me.  Everything about this album is as sterile as a hospital ward after it has been cleaned up, it feels to clinical and that is not a beautiful thing.

3 out of ten – It could have been a bit better

Top track – Big Picture

Buttertones – Gravedigging

An album that was suggested to me by Mr Luke Dunmore and I have been waiting to sit down with it.  Buttertones deal in a brand of indie rock which has a hint of traditional rock & roll that sounds traditional, one that has a hint of Nick Cave to the vocals as well and it has a bucket load of attitude, style and explosive notes that will make the soul soar!  A really good album, one that keeps on giving with each listen.

8 out of ten – Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my time, money and heart.

Top track – Matador

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