Beirut – The Rip Tide // ALBUM REVIEW

Now don’t worry, the album isn’t quite as boring as it’s cover. You have already heard ‘East Harlem’, ‘Port Of Call’, ‘Santa Fe’ and ‘Goshen’ and you can already tell from just those songs Beirut’s ‘The Rip Tide’ is going to be an interesting album.

‘A Candle’s Fire’ opens the album, it has a very similar start to ‘East Harlem’ and is a great great to start off The Rip Tide. The powerful fanfare introduction floods us with the regular folky sound and the softer verses lead by ukelele entrance us and grip us immediately, the rest of the song is a triumphant and joyous celebration and leads perfectly onto the next track…

‘Santa Fe’ sounds different to the live versions I had heard before, it has something electronic about it, the organ line that emerges towards the end again emphasises a different side of folk from Beirut. The drum beat is very repetitive to kind of drill the contagious rhythm into our heads, however the trumpets explode into action again and even with the repeating drum rhythm and electronic organ and keyboards adds the classic Beirut sound.

‘East Harlem’ is the next track and even though I have listened to it 1,000,000 times it’s still my favourite. It’s been voted one of the best tracks of 2011 and in many ways I agree. It was the return of Beirut and is just a phenomenal song to laze in the sun to. The piano rhythm, accordion, and trumpet fanfare all add together to make one fucking brilliant and uplifting track. This track is a MUST buy.

‘Goshen’ is the next track, another we have heard before. This is the first track on the album so far that mellows us out, the solo piano and vocal introduction creates a beautiful and touching song that really makes an impact on you. Then, about half way through we begin the build up of soft trumpets and a slight marching band drum roll rhythm. ‘Goshen’ truly gives a chance to relax and get in touch with our emotions.

‘Payne’s Bay’ is probably my favourite after ‘East Harlem’ it starts with some violin and builds up into another joyous folky tune, however ‘Payne’s Bay’ has something special about it, it’s joyous with a hint of disappointment, it really does make you think and I like that. When the track comes back up from its break down there is a nice harmony between Zach and a female singer which is always refreshing to hear making ‘Payne’s Bay’ that little bit more amazing.

For the title track of the album ‘The Rip Tide’ didn’t excite me as much as I hoped. Beautiful still, however it was very repetitive and the only really grasping part was the marvellous violin line. Like ‘Goshen’ it was a nice moment to relax and get sentimental. After listening to it a few times I got used to it, there are many different parts to ponder and reflect on however the continuous rhythm did off put me and if it wasn’t for the trumpets and violins creating all interetsing parts I would have been very let down by this track.

‘Vagabond’ is the next track and obviously a favourite of the band, I saw them backing up Arcade Fire last Thursday and excluding ‘East Harlem’ and ‘Santa Fe’ this was the only other new song they played. This is a marvellous song, it has pretty much everything you could want from Beirut fantastic trumpet line, contagious rhythm, nice accordion part slotted in the middle accompanied with a catchy harpsichord (or whatever they use) arpeggio and a fantastic vocal line. ‘Vagabond’ is another MUST buy.

‘The Peacock’ is the shortest track of the album lead only by organ and vocals. ‘The Peacock’ despite what the name would suggest is a very minimalist song, with only a few chords and repeating vocal line it somehow entrances you into loving it. The song is beautiful and gripping and sort of magical in a very odd way. It’s hard to explain so I can only urge you to trust in this one.

‘Port of Call’ is the final track and is my other favourite, the guitar rhythm is just awesome, the trumpets and rising trumpets in the background all fit in together like a puzzle of a sunny english field, honestly it is the perfect song to finish the album with. Finishing with the song about a port does also make me feel like the ship that set sail at the beginning of the album, the ship that fought through the rip tide has come into it’s port and it’s journey is over. It’s so uplifting and joyful it really does make me believe that this is the end of their journey and really does make me think of this album as a voyage rather than a cluster of songs

Below is ‘Vagabond’ which I haven’t posted before:

 

The Horrors – Skying // ALBUM REVIEW

The Horrors are back with a follow up to their incredible ‘Primary Colours’ which was voted the number 1 album of 2009 by NME and received a load of praise. Is ‘Skying’ going to let us down?

Well you see back in the days of Strange House, The Horrors were slagged off by critics they had two real options, to sack off the music industry and be the gothic, dark band they were OR they could give a middle finger to all the naysayers in a rebirth. Of course The Horrors were reborn with ‘Primary Colours’ and they moved forward away from the era of Strange House (in which they were compared to The fucking Automatic) and moved into a whole new era of praise.

Skying does truly show Strange House is gone, I saw them live just three days ago, and  a few audience members were shouting ‘sell outs’, mind you these were the twats who were moshing to the beginning of  ‘Sea Within A Sea’. In all honesty live at Wireless I was disappointed, they were no where near as good as at Underage a few years back, but that was mainly because being the up-yours band they are The Horrors were not afraid to play all their songs from Skying which the crowd didn’t know and stretched them out so each lasted around 7 minutes long.

The album begins with a very ‘loose’ track with messy claps called ‘Changing The Rain’ this track was one the last tracks they were working on but they liked it so much they made it the album opener and I can see why. The loud and loose synth flows in a strange entrancing way over the messy claps and strong drum beats this is all complimented by Faris’ vocals which gives a very erie yet joyful  kind of feel,

The next track is ‘You Said’ a very vocal dominated song accompanied by some shakey delayed guitar lines and light keyboards. ‘You Said’ is apparently a Tears For Fears influenced song with a hint of a lost artist Black. ‘You Said’ keeps you guessing and interested constantly, there is never a boring section, things get added each verse and each chorus and you find yourself spaced out trying to absorb all it has to offer.

‘I Can See Through You’ is the next track which The Horrors managed to bust out for about 6 minutes at Wireless,  at first listen you don’t think much of this but that is because it isn’t really like anything off Strange House or Primary Colours it is very different live, it was the one track that got the crowd going even though they didn’t know what to sing or when to jump. ‘I Can See Through You’ despite having the whisper of Primary Colours does have hints of the Strange House kind of style which will make this a big song for all Horrors fans old and new.

‘Endless Blue’ opened The Horrors set at Wireless, the lazy introduction was complimented as Faris wandered out with a cup of coffee sipping leisurely while the other of the members of the band effortlessly strummed along. The start of the track is a nice mingle of bass and brass giving a nice new sound to The Horrors and giving Skying a distinctive sound. According to The Horrors they wrote this song on a Monday, explaining their lazy introduction which then shifts sharply into the lively riff. ‘Endless Blue’ is a Horrors track which will be heard a lot over the coming festivals.

‘Dive In’ has a very hippy guitar line and rhythm to it. The drums immediately establish the groove and vibe and creates a psychedelic and powerful mood. This psychedelic feel of ‘Dive In’ entrances you into a dark trippy nightmare which eventually breaks down into a slow kind of mystical section where you hear only bass drums and lengthy vocals. This track is one of the more powerful ones on the album and the track builds up more and more until a sharp drop into ‘Still Life’.

‘Still Life’ is the first single from Skying and I cannot support their decision to release that first anymore than I do. It sends out exactly the right message of what Skying is about, it shows the brass which is a key new factor to The Horrors, the more melodic vocal lines and more joyful kind of tracks that makes Skying what it is, ‘Still Life’ is a must buy if you haven’t already got it, the synthyness of this track is very much like 1980’s kind of synth and it really is entrancing.

‘Wild Eyed’ is the shortest track on the album and it’s 4 minutes long, you wouldn’t expect a 4 minute song to feel like its over too fast, but it does. It’s very relaxed and once again the return of the trumpets add something spectacular to the end of this track. This one of the first tracks written for Skying (after Still Life) explaining its chilled out vibe and relaxing melody.

Now for the ‘Sea Within A Sea’ track to Skying ‘Moving Further Away’, it’s longer, it’s stronger, it’s got more going on throughout. Is it as good? It’s different. ‘Sea Within A Sea’  was less synthy this is very much like The Human League with it’s monotonous synth riff. I must say at Wireless when they were playing this I was thinking, when will this fucking end but thats because It’s a grower, but can an 8 minute track afford to be a grower? Was ‘Sea Within A Sea’? You will have to decide if you like this track, I do like it, it’s very chilled out and again like ‘You Said’ it’s intriguing it has loads of different parts to space out and listen out for.

‘Monica Gems’ is the heaviest and messiest track on Skying, it’s still got hints of the past, you can hear Strange House in this. However, it’s built upon the foundations of british music in the 60’s and is full of brit pop influence of the 90’s as well. Josh’s new instrument is used as the key instrument in this track and provides the whirring that is key to ‘Monica Gems’

‘Oceans Burning’ is possibly the nicest and best thing The Horrors have written. It has the brit pop tint to it again and the vibraphone and distorted whirring reminds me A LOT of  blur. A ‘Sea Within A Sea’ sized track again ‘Oceans Burning’ is very unique and very powerful track. Faris’ vocals really add a beautiful touch to this song and it really is the best way to finish Skying with some of British melancholy which back in the era of Strange House would have probably been released as a screaming pile if shit rather than this musical odyssey. The second half of this track, when the drums kick in and really drive it leads us into a fully of sound and power and it really does finish Skying in a phenomenal way.

Skying may not get as much praise as Primary Colours as it won’t be so shocking this time that The Horrors have created an amazing album, whereas 3 years ago nobody would have expected the next two albums from The Horrors to be as amazing as they are. Skying is a time machine throughBritish music eras, it has hints of the 60’s, 80’s and the 90’s and Is just incredibly intriguing.

 

New The Knux, Feat. Kid Cudi – ‘Run’

Run is the second single from their unannounced second album following ‘She’s So Up’ which was released back in February.

Typical of The Knux ‘Run’ still churns out their distinctive Rock Rap rhythms and with help for Kid Cudi the flow of this song is flawless and contagious.

Here it is below:

Back from the Dead: What You’ve Missed

Well, It’s been a busy few weeks for me, and now i’m ill so I finally have the time to update you on all you have missed.

I warn you this is a long one:

Rap News:

The Cool Kids came back with a few more tracks, ‘Swimsuits’ of course, but now also ‘Penny Hardaway’, ‘Gas Station’ and my favourite ‘Summer Jam’, I have listed them in that order below, and The Cool Kid’s new album is due for release on the 12th of July.

In other Rap news Nas released a track with Common called ‘Ghetto Dreams’ which is more of Nas’ old skool style hip hop so worth catching up on. Jim Jones teamed up with Girl Talk to make ‘Believe in Magic’ which is available for download:

Finally for rap Tyler, The Creator has released a summer mix tape which you can download here.

In general ‘indie’ music:

A band called Gross Magic released a track entitled ‘Sweetest Touch’, they self describe there genre as Psychedelic Lo-Fi Pop, which sounds a hell of a lot better than the diseased and infected word ‘INDIE’:

Bombay Bicycle Club churned out a new track ’Shuffle’ which sounds refreshingly different to both ‘Flaws’ and ‘I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose’ and has a catchy kind of ‘bounce’ to it:

CSS came out with their new track with Bobby Gillespie from Primal Scream ‘Hit’s Me Like A Rock’ it’s available for free download off their website, and here it is linked below:

Coldplay released Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall’s EP and this gem was found on it , it actually interested me because I found out Brian Eno was responsible for their new sound, again here it is below:

Tennis covered Brenda Lee’s ‘Is It True?’ in their usual 60’s revival fashion:

AND FINALLY TOTALLY ENORMOUS EXTINCT DINOSAURS RELEASED HIS VIDEO TO ‘TROUBLE’ (which happened a while ago but only just realised i never posted it)

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Lucky for you I have The Horrors ‘Skying’, Beirut’s ‘The Rip Tide’, AND Washed Out’s ‘Within And Without’ before release so I can give you a nice review of which songs to buy and which to avoid.

It’s good to be back

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