Another whole post on new – or new-ish – CDs. Starting with of CDs marking the return of old heroes. Let’s see how that goes…
The world didn’t end after the demise of the wonderful Libertines. Surprisingly. And after Pete Doherty found some times between his press coverage to release a so-so album with the Babyshambles, now it’s Carl Barat’s time to move on and release an album with his new band Dirty Pretty Things.
Waterloo is an OK album that starts of well with songs like Deadwood, the slightly addictive Doctors and Dealers or the the very Libertinesesque Blood Thirsty Bastards and Gin & Milk. But in between there are just songs like The Gentry Cove which even at just 2:32 are incredibly boring or other songs which appear to be completely unmotivated.
In total, I thought the album was a bit better than the Babyshambles’ but not by much. The lack of motivation or direction in many songs kills the energy that still seems to be in them.
A shame. And a hint that the old ‘more than the sum of its parts’ saying may not be as ridiculous as it sounds.
I’m a big White Stripes fan. And getting hold of the Blue Orchid single on iTMS before the album was released was an interesting – but slightly misleading – pointer for the things to come on the album. A very solid and traditionally acoustic sound which was a bit more energetic than what we had on Elephant. I was definitely in for that!
Getting the album then was a bit disappointing as many of the album’s other songs lack the extra speed and energy of Blue Orchid and took a fair amount of time for getting used to (turning up the volume helps!). Their more quiet approach suggests that the days of knock-out songs like Hotel Yorba, Seven Nation Army and the thrashing Black Math may be over. Which I disapprove of. Instead there is a somewhat ‘bluesy’ component to the music with many acoustic sounds standing out.
Wonderful: My Doorbell; A bit Dull: White Moon; Sweet: Little Ghost; Disgusting: The ‘bearded’ look of Jack White on the Cover; Solid: The Denial Twist.
By now I can enjoy the album but I’m not really sure where this is going. And perhaps they aren’t sure themselves either. At least there’s a ‘break’ for now and we got the following instead:
So we take Jack White, Brendan Benson, Patrick Keeler and Jack Lawrence (the latter two from Greenhornes fame) and you’ll expect to be impressed but not necessarily rocked. And – going by the name of The Raconteurs (Funny Flash website warning! I’m not sure how 1980s computer design or a web page that is accessibly by keyboard only fit in with the band’s concept.) – those guys manage to offer you a rather solid album going by the name of Broken Boy Soldiers.
A lot of acoustic goodness is in there. You can hear the different band members’ styles mixing wonderfully in many places. The album’s namesake song Broken Boy Soldier is solidly brilliant and Intimate Secretary right after it is slower but rather good as well. But even in the short running time they managed to squeeze in some boredom in Call A Day before going for a Greenhornesish finish Blue Veins.
While I don’t like the cover photo with a photo of the pseudo beaten-up band members too much, what surrounds it is a brilliant bit of drawing and calligraphy. Looks a bit like a more swooshy version of Ray Fenwick’s cool drawings to me.
For a live recording of the band with some additional songs look no further than here.
Another bit of goodness – poppy goodness, perhaps – from 2005 is The Subways’ charmingly titled album Young for Eternity. While this album keeps feeling like a little low-brow dirty pleasure to me, it’s a pleasure nonetheless.
Just the opening track I Want To Hear What You Have Got To Say is pretty addictive on its own (perhaps another song for the ‘blogging anthems’ compilations?). But Mary and Oh Yeah are quite great as well. In fact I keep thinking that The White Stripes should cover Oh Yeah, because girl singing sounds like it should be done by Meg White.
In between those highlights – and partially even within them – I sometimes think that the band is a bit too tacky or poppy. ‘Dirty pleasure’ as I said.
And while I’m at dirty pleasures let me mention Placebo as well. Seeing that many of their songs aren’t that great and most of their fans seem to be hysterical fourteen year olds, I really shouldn’t like them. And seeing them live two years ago kind of disappointed as well. But they have a number of songs like Special K or 36 Degrees or a few others which I keep enjoying. As a ‘dirty pleasure’ if you wish. Even on the newer albums they managed to sneak in a good song or two – English Summer Rain, say – so I couldn’t completely dismiss them.
But it appears that their latest album Meds is so bland that it lets me do just that. Huh, well done!
When seeing the film Tsotsi the music in it caught my attention. So I ignored my usual way of racism in music taste and forgot about my dislike of rap-style music and had a go at the films soundtrack. I don’t like it completely and it sounds a bit synthetic at some places but in all it’s quite enjoyable and good music to keep you going.
Perhaps it’s just the fact that I don’t understand the lyrics which makes me find this interesting… or the fact that it just sounds different for a change. No wholehearted recommendation, but certainly worth giving a try!
After coming across Band of Horses’ Funeral and using it in my latest mix CD (which is going down really well with everybody around here), I wanted to hear more. Listening to more of their songs made me conclude that, yes, they’re all right but not exactly my type of thing. Beautiful but a bit too ‘spherical’ for my taste. That said, I quite like the album’s overly acoustic song St. Augustine as well… and I quite like their combination of Akzidenz Grotesk and a script font (Polonaise) on the cover.
This was interesting! I enjoy with mostly everything you said, with the exception of Placebo. Not all of their music is fantastic, yes, but I enjoy most of their stuff. If you haven’t, listen to their album ‘Without You I’m Nothing.’ It’s my favorite. :)