Monthly Archives: March 2013

I Am Not A Human Being II – Lil Wayne

The latest album by Lil Wayne seems to encompass a number of different themes that are culturally relevant in today’s society. Lil Wayne seems to feel the need to present the case that his life is an incredibly interesting story, by offering us a long album of ‘rap’ songs that discuss riches, women and guns. I at least assume these themes are relevant, otherwise there’d be no reason to rap about them, and surely someone wouldn’t create an album with pointless themes? It must be incredibly interesting, if your Lil Wayne himself, but for the common listener, it is incredibly boring and trite. ‘I Am Not A Human Being II’ is simply an incredibly laughable album, that has incredibly little substance to it, and just seems to be a flashy show by Lil Wayne, with him showing off everything he has. What we’re left with is just an album that is basically an insult to not just rap music in general, but music as a whole.

It’s absolutely absurd, that this can even be described as music. The whole album is a parade of ‘rap’ artists, just meandering through the most boring of instrumentals, ‘rapping’ the most boring of lyrics that tell the most boring of stories. I’ve always felt that the true essence of rap is about telling a good story. Rap itself can be very stylistic, with the many techniques offering a lot of invention and creativity to some artists. Lil Wayne though, can easily be called a joke, after hearing ‘I Am Not A Human Being II’. There is nothing here that is inventive or creative. Nothing on the whole album sounds at the very least good, or interesting. It just meanders around incredibly dull music that sounds like the most laziest of songs. It truly astounds me, how somebody could find entertainment from an album like this, when there is so much better out there.

‘I Am Not A Human Being II’ is just an incredibly laughable album. Lyrically, it is atrocious, with the most feeble of rhymes being used to string along the words together, in an attempt to make a song. It’s all backed up by the most boring sounding instrumentals, that honestly do nothing to help the music. Lil Wayne himself seems to have nothing to offer on the album, with his ‘raps’ just sounding incredibly weak and feeble, and often being backed up with auto-tune, which honestly  makes it sound much more atrocious. It gives the vocals an electronic edge that just sounds grating. What I find interesting is how what could be described as the ‘best’ parts of the album, are actually all the parts that don’t feature Lil Wayne. The album is filled up with an extraordinary number of guest stars, who seems to add more effort than Lil Wayne himself. Does Lil Wayne feel that he has no merits as an artist, and thus needs to ride on the success and talents of others in order to create something? After hearing ‘I Am Not A Human Being II’, it wouldn’t surprise me if this was the case.

To sum up, ‘I Am Not A Human Being II’ is easily one of the worst albums to have been produced in a long time. It sounds incredibly lazy, with there being absolutely no substance to the music. Lyrically, every single cliche is being used, including the themes of the songs, which is now becoming incredibly laughable these days. It would say that this is an insult to music, considering there are other rap artists out there, who are really trying to create something that has substance and creativity. I feel as though Lil Wayne himself is putting up a middle-finger to these harder working artists, singing about all his riches and how he should be adored by everyone. ‘I Am Not A Human Being II’ might just be better suited to being buried away and forgotten, and everyone else concentrating on the much better bands and artists out there, who are actually attempting to create and invent, unlike Lil Wayne.

Album Rating:

  • ★☆☆☆☆ 1/5

Selected Songs:

  • None.
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In Love – Peace

The debut album by ‘indie’-rock band Peace offers the typical conventions of ‘indie’-rock. It seems that Peace is becoming a quickly-rising band, with their roaring ‘indie’-rock anthems offering a fair amount of enjoyment and entertainment. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with Peace, and their debut album ‘In Love’. It just seems that whilst they’re certainly trying to be a creative band, and offer something to the genre, that they’re just not pulling it off. In short, Peace is barely any different from the ‘indie’-rock bands that have preceded them, and will ultimately follow them in future.

As with most albums of the genre, ‘In Love’ features guitars, bass, drums, vocals and not much else. It’s the typical formula that makes up the genre, and if I am perfectly honest, it is becoming a little tiresome. There’s nothing particularly wrong with Peace as a band, but I just don’t feel that there is anything that great about them either. Even the vocals sound almost cliched, sounding pretty much like the most conventional indie-rock band that is out there. It’s tiresome, because it’s just boring to hear something that sounds the same as everything else. It’s odd as well, that Peace would produce a sound that in essence has incredibly little to offer. It’s enjoyable at times, but it’s nothing too special at the end of the day. To put it harshly, I’d say that if Peace wasn’t in the music scene, then nobody would truly miss them at all.

In terms of their album, ‘In Love’ has it’s moments, but for the most part is fairly dull and boring. There doesn’t even seem to be any integrity or ingenuity underneath the layers of conventional rock music, which makes it even more boring. It’s odd, as there isn’t anything wrong with Peace as a band, apart from the fact that the sound they’ve produced for their first album is incredibly cliched. What little moments there are on the album aren’t enough to lift it out of it’s negatives, which are incredibly obvious on the album. Even the strengths on the album pale in comparison with other bands of the genre. There’s just not enough on here to make it worthwhile or interesting.

Overall, ‘In Love’ is a fairly unimpressive debut. What little there is on the album is let down by a poor effort to produce anything that is interesting. There are many bands who sound exactly like Peace, and there are some who make the ‘indie’-rock sound work well and sound good. Peace just don’t have anything to offer the genre, and thus their debut comes across as a weak and shallow effort that doesn’t achieve any greatness. It may be enjoyable in places, but it just isn’t enough for it to be at all significant or interesting. ‘In Love’ is just essentially, an incredibly forgettable album, with does very little to keep the listener’s interest.

Album Rating:

  • ★★☆☆☆ 2/5

Selected Songs:

  • Float Forever
  • Drain
  • California Daze
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Native – OneRepublic

The third studio album ‘Native’ by OneRepublic offers up a lot of conventional pop music that is sure to please basic-pop enthusiasts. OneRepublic’s rise to fame came with the re-release of ‘Apologize’. In fairness to OneRepublic, there was a fair amount to enjoy with their single, with it’s more or less well produced sound, with good instrumentals and vocals. It wasn’t any surprise why OneRepublic was quickly rising to fame, but it seems that they’ve been unable to continue their streak. Whilst OneRepublic aren’t necessarily a bad band, and in fact have a fair amount to offer, it just seems that they’ve perhaps let themselves down by simply going for the easy option.

‘Native’ seems to be a typical pop-album in many ways. Whilst there’s elements that are enjoyable on the album, there’s just too many cliches and fairly uninspired techniques which let the overall experience down. In the past, I’d have attributed the strengths of OneRepublic to their vocals, and the presentation of the vocals through how the lyrics are sung in the various songs. At times, this is enjoyable on ‘Native’, but for the most-part, it’s actually rather dull and boring. In particular, the instrumentals really let down the album, which sound very uninspired. It sounds like everything’s been overdone, without any particular concern to whether it sounds at all interesting. Sure enough, there’s music here that will entertain some of the fans, but for the most part, it’s just incredibly boring music, with there being perhaps one or two good songs, if any at all.

It’s a shame to see bands with potential get caught up into the trap of producing the same type of music that’s always been produced. Musically, this album is barely any different to the styles that have preceded it, and it offers nothing that is at all interesting. It’s a shame, as ‘Native’ does actually get off to a fairly good start. It seems to offer a lot, promising music that is at the very least interesting, but it just doesn’t deliver. As the album goes along, it becomes progressively more boring, with the music sounding more typical and more cliched. It’s a poor effort from OneRepublic, and considering that there are many strengths to the band, it certainly seems that they have let themselves down with this album.

Perhaps I’ve been expecting too much of OneRepublic, which is why ‘Native’ has failed to have any impact on me. I just find that when I listen to some of their songs, it seems that there is a lot of potential to the band, and that they’re completely capable of writing songs that do sound great. It seems they’ve opted for the easiest option here, which I find just let’s the band down, and ruins their integrity. Sure enough, this album will most likely be enjoyed by OneRepublic fans, but as far as music goes, it just isn’t anything special, and definitely nothing new or interesting. It’s a shame, because there’s a lot of evidence on this album, and in the past that OneRepublic are capable band, but ‘Native’ really doesn’t do anything for the band at all.

Album Rating:

  • ★★☆☆☆ 2/5

Selected Songs:

  • Counting Stars
  • I Lived
  • Light It Up
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Machineries Of Joy – British Sea Power

British Sea Power’s fifth studio album ‘Machineries Of Joy’ offers up a balance of roaring raucous rock music, and gentle rock music. In a way, it is much like any other ‘indie’ rock album that has preceded it. There’s electric guitars, bass, drums and the odd effect thrown in for good measure. At it’s core, it’s just basic indie rock music. Yet, there is something incredibly appealing about British Sea Power, and their new album. There’s something about ‘Machineries Of Joy’ that just easily draws the listener in, and provides 43 minutes of solid entertainment. It’s the essential thing that when you’re working in any genre, you need to have your own appeal to stand out. British Sea Power seem to have their own appeal, which pushes their music out and makes it interesting and vibrant. It helps to make ‘Machineries Of Joy’ simply a great album.

I’ve found with British Sea Power that they’ve never been a bad band, and in fact, within the over-used genre of indie-rock, they’re one of the few with the ability to stand out, and make the genre sound great. It certainly shows on some of their previous albums, but I find that ‘Machineries Of Joy’ really helps to show off the band’s talents. There’s a wonderful vibrancy to the album, with it going from strength to strength. The songs all encompass a range of different dynamics, with some being heavier than others, whilst  a few are much slower and lighter. It helps to make the entire album interesting, and make it a great listening experience. Musically, there’s a lot to enjoy with British Sea Power. The guitars, bass, and drums (as I previously mentioned) is over-used and fairly typical, yet British Sea Power seem to know how to make it sound well enough to make it stand out from previous attempts. It’s a well crafted record, with a lot to enjoy on it.

As with nearly every album, there is the odd flaw or two, and I find ‘Machineries Of Joy’ is by no means exempt. Whilst nearly every song has it’s strengths, I find that it is an album that can easily be divided up into two parts, with the first half being the more raucous rock side, and the second half being the more gentle side. I’d argue that the first half definitely has more strengths to it, and that whilst there is a lot to enjoy on the second half, it does pale in comparison. It doesn’t pale enough to ruin the overall album though, and in fact it features some of British Sea Power’s best songs. It’s just undeniable that it is weaker in some aspects.

Overall though, ‘Machineries Of Joy’ is perhaps arguably British Sea Power’s best record to date. In such an over-used genre, it’s great to hear a record that just sounds good, and makes the genre work. There’s so much to enjoy on the album, and it seems that it could definitely be an album that will please former fans, as it is everything a British Sea Power record should be. It seems the band has certainly done themselves proud, and made an album that just sounds great in nearly every aspect, with enough dynamics in the music to keep things interesting and not make the overall album experience dull. In short, ‘Machineries Of Joy’ is simply a great indie-rock album.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Machineries Of Joy
  • What You Need The Most
  • Radio Goddard
  • A Light Above Descending
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Who’s Masquerade – Who’s Masquerade

The self-titled and independent release by solo-artist Who’s Masquerade, has spent a couple of years in the making, offering what is an interesting lo-fi music experience. There’s many influences present on the album, which helps to make up the overall sound of the music, as though all the influences have been combined with Who’s Masquerade’s ideas to make up the resulting album. It’s incredibly interesting at times, with the album sounding somewhat like an Arab Strap album combined with perhaps Red House Painters or My Bloody Valentine. It’s an interesting listening experience, with some parts that demonstrate some very incredible song-writing talents.

‘Who’s Masquerade’ is compiled of 12 songs of varying lengths. There’s an interesting flow to the entire album, with a few short tracks feeling like vignettes into what is to come on the album. It helps to set an overall picture of the album, which feels much like a dark story that the artist is trying to tell us. It feels as though it is being presented through the music, as the vocals on the album are for the most part rather indistinguishable, and often falling into the layers of music as though it is an instrument as well. What can be distinguished seems to be semi-spoken vocals, sounding a lot like Arab Strap vocals. It’s interesting, and actually works well for the album. It feels like the identity of the songs are left in the vocals, which are hidden behind the layers of music that have built up. Whether or not this is intentional is anybody’s guess, but I find it to actually work well for the album. There’s a lot of creativeness on the album, and it’s clear that Who’s Masquerade has many ideas that he wants to present on the album.

There’s many strengths to this album, but it feels limited by weaknesses which are very obvious on the album. A lot of the tracks feel damaged by what I’d say is some poor instrumentals. Especially in the opening tracks, the instrumentals feel a little weak, and don’t come together as well as they should do. It is a shame, as there’s some great ideas present in these tracks, but it is overshadowed by a somewhat uncomfortable listening experience. Maybe the sound is intentional on these tracks, but it leaves me wondering why, as for the most part it isn’t exactly pleasant. It’s a shame, as I feel that if the overall sound on these songs were refined enough, then it could help to elevate the album to greatness.

Overall, I find ‘Who’s Masquerade’ to be an incredibly interesting album. I’m somewhat polarised about my overall opinion of the album, as I feel it has some incredibly strong moments, and some weaker moments that do let the overall album down. That being said, it’s clear that there is a lot of talent on this album, and a lot of ideas being pushed forward through the music. There’s a raw creativeness at the core of the music, that gives off what I’d say is the true ‘indie-rock’ experience. A completely independent release that is true to the artist’s intentions and ideas. It’s essentially what music should be about at the end of the day, and it is actually pleasing to see artists out there simply just creating music because they can. I would say that there’s definitely more creativity and ideas present on this album, than there are on what is currently dominating the charts these days. I should say here that the album is currently available for free streaming, and free downloading from the artist’ website, and people can choose the option to pay for the album, which would certainly help ‘Who’s Masquerade’.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★☆☆ 3/5

Selected Songs:

  • Colossal Youth Pt.II
  • I Want To Build A Blanket Fort With You, And We Can Live There
  • Afterlove
  • Death’s Best Friend
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Time Stays, We Go – The Veils

The fourth studio-album by The Veils offers ten new songs that explode onto the scene in full force. ‘Time Stays, We Go’ follows on from the band’s third album release ‘Sun Gangs’, released back in 2009, which seemed to offer a new slant to the band. Since the band’s introduction with their first album ‘The Runaway Found’, it has gone under various line-up changes, with band members leaving and being replaced somewhat frequently. The sole-continuing member of The Veils since the bands’ conception, Finn Andrews, seems to be the driving force of the band, pushing the creative ideas through his peculiar presence in the music. The whole appeal of The Veils seems to be Finn Andrews’ somewhat unique style, with his sometimes visceral vocals commanding the songs.

‘Time Stays, We Go’ is a very welcome record by The Veils. It seems that the coming and going of band members hasn’t drastically affected the sound of The Veils’ music, with the tracks on the album sounding pretty much as good as anything else The Veils’ have produced thus far. It seems that nothing that makes up the appeal of The Veils’ music has been lost on this album. Everything goes from strength to strength, with the music sounding brilliant as an album. Each song compliments the next, and sound like a complete album. There’s a range of dynamics in the songs, with some being somewhat aggressive and manic, whilst others are more gentle. There seems to be an underlying ominous feeling running through the album, which could be attributed to Finn Andrews’ unique vocals. There’s a very visceral quality to how the voice sounds, and yet there’s a beauty in what is sung at times. On ‘Time Stays, We Go’, it seems his vocals are stronger than ever, with it even sounding like like Bowie or Nick Cave at times. Musically as well, the songs are incredibly interesting, with the instrumentals of the tracks working well with the vocals to help build up the songs. It all works incredibly well, and helps to make ‘Time Stays, We Go’ one of The Veils’ best albums so far.

I find that there’s an incredible amount of strengths on the album. It seems that everything that makes The Veils’ work is present on this album. I’d perhaps mention though, that it is a tiny bit disappointing to not hear any tracks on the album that are heavily aggressive. Some tracks on previous Veils albums have been incredibly angry and aggressive, which is a style that works for The Veils’ very well at times. There’s some visceral moments on the album, but nothing that reaches the heights of some of their previous work. It’s not enough to dip the album’s quality down at all, as in fact, it’s absence doesn’t really affect the album at all. It’s just something that I’ve enjoyed hearing on previous albums, and perhaps it would have been nice to have heard some more again. However, for all the strengths that ‘Time Stays, We Go’ presents, it’s not so disappointing as to ruin the album.

Overall, ‘Time Stays, We Go’ is incredibly pleasing. Within the alternative-rock or even indie-rock genre, that is incredibly overdone and rather bland these days, it’s great to hear a band that has their own sound that is presented in their music. Finn Andrews’ unique and beautifully visceral vocals just command the songs with amazing power. There’s an incredible amount of talent in this band, and ‘Time Stays, We Go’ has definitely managed to reinforce the bands as one of my favourite within the genre. I can’t wait to see what directions this band will take themselves in, and what music they’ll be able to produce in the future.  ‘Time Stays, We Go’ is an incredibly strong album, and can easily be called one of the best albums The Veils’ have produced so far, if not at least on par with their previous work.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Candy Apple Red
  • Dancing With The Tornado
  • Another Night On Earth
  • Out From The Valley & Into The Stars
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Bloodsports – Suede

The latest album ‘Bloodsports’ by Alternative band Suede marks their return to music, following on from their 2002 album release ‘A New Morning’. Following the release of their previous album, the future of the band was worryingly grim, as their hiatus seemed to point to the signs that they’d never reunite. However, not only did they reunite in 2010, they have now also released a brand new album of 10 songs that is a perfect comeback for the alternative band. ‘Bloodsports’ is arguably one of the band’s better albums, and it is almost remarkable how their return to music doesn’t seem tainted by years of inactivity, but rather they’ve come back into their own in fine style.

There’s many impressive qualities to ‘Bloodsports’, mostly in its presentation as an album. It could be argued perhaps, that at 10 songs, clocking in at just under 40 minutes, the album is perhaps a little short. However, the track lengths don’t seem to ruin the quality of the music at all, and in fact it is a perfect length for the album, which each song being of an incredibly high quality. There’s many alternative rock elements on the album, with it featuring somewhat mellow-sounding instrumentals, that build up. It’s enjoyable, and it sounds great. It amazes me how the quality of the instrumentals sound on the album, with everything sounding perhaps as good as some of their earlier material. Even the vocals are sounding brilliant, which haven’t declined in quality over the years. It’s a great comeback for the band, and certainly shines some positive light on them, considering the decline of Britpop had such a negative effect on the band. It seems that ‘Bloodsports’ is pushing the band back into the limelight, showing that they are still capable of achieving greatness with their music.

Whilst the album starts off starts off to a great start, and that most of the tracks are enjoyable, I find that there is the odd one or two tracks which don’t live up to the full brilliance of the whole album. In all, they actually don’t ruin the overall quality of the album in the slightest, but it must be said that these tracks are perhaps that little bit forgettable after listening to the whole album. I’m thinking that maybe they’ll end up as tracks that become favourites after revisiting the album in a month. Perhaps that will be the case, but when it is always something that is incredibly hard to predict. Regardless though, these slightly weaker tracks do seem to fit into the overall scheme of the album, with it musically complimenting the whole album. It’s a fairly strong album if truth be told, and one that deserves to get Suede recognised once more.

I find ‘Bloodsports’ to essentially be a great album of alternative music. It seems that within the alternative rock genre, they certainly have their own sound, which gives the band it’s appeal. We all know their sound from their earlier albums, but it doesn’t seem to have been lost at all in ‘Bloodsports’, but maybe perhaps refined and polished. At the very least, it certainly paves the way for whatever material the band will come up with in future, providing they decide to stick to music and not go on another 10 year hiatus again.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Barriers
  • Sabotage
  • Sometimes I Feel I’ll Float Away
  • Faultlines
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Back Into The Woods – Ed Harcourt

The latest full-length album ‘Back Into The Woods’ by musician Ed Harcourt offers up an incredibly relaxing selection of piano-dominated songs. Harcourt’s style, seemingly influenced by such musicians as Nick Cave, Jeff Buckley and perhaps even Billie Joel, is a style that perhaps isn’t exactly new, but it is one that is certainly a joy to listen too. Harcourt seems to be able to weave together a wonderful mixture of gentle piano and sometimes thought-provoking lyrics. It’s very impressive, and at times incredibly emotional, through the presentation of the music. In the end, all of Harcourt’s styles and methods help make ‘Back Into The Woods’ an incredibly enjoyable record.

There’s a soothing element to ‘Back Into The Woods’. Many of the songs are dominated by a gentle piano, which makes up the basis for many of Harcourt’s songs. Some of the tracks are backed with other instrumentation, which often really assist the overall sound and emotion of the songs.  There’s a lot of emotion in the songs, which vary from some sounding just beautiful and relaxing, to others sounding a little bit darker in tone. It helps to give the album an overall shape, with there being a variety in the songs and their sound. There’s the odd track on the album where the piano isn’t the dominant instrument, and instead an electric guitar takes over. What is interesting here is how the guitar sounds just as gentle as the pianos that have preceded it. Nothing on the album is too forceful or anything, but rather it has an almost lulling quality that makes it gentle and relaxing.

I find Harcourt’s music to have a lot going for it. There seems to be a very ‘Billy Joel’ style to a few of the songs, which I find oddly works for the album. It doesn’t feel like a direct rip-off, but rather just an influence taking hold in the music. As a complete album-package, I find that the majority of the tracks give off the sense of being influenced by Billy Joel and other musicians, which I feel works for the album for the most part. As a complete album, there is enough of a flow for everything to work well and compliment each other. If there is any criticism to be found, it might be that perhaps some of the songs are a little too sombre, but that just comes down to the opinions and feelings of the listener. I do find though that perhaps there is a little dragging quality in some of the songs, as though a little bit more could be happening to them. For me, it doesn’t ruin the overall quality of the album. But it certainly seems to be a flaw in some respects.

In conclusion, ‘Back Into The Woods’ is a very pleasing album. There’s some brilliant song-writing present on the album, which seems to be the driving force of the whole album, giving the album its character, and its appeal. It’s incredibly emotive at times, with a number of various emotions coming into the foreground of the various songs. I’d perhaps say that is one of Harcourt’s most thought-provoking records, with the instrumentation and the lyrics being of a very high quality. Overall, it is just a great album, and certainly one that Harcourt can be proud of.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • The Cusp & The Wane
  • Murmur In My Heart
  • Back Into The Woods
  • Last Will And Testament
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Delta Machine – Depeche Mode

Depeche Mode’s 13th studio-length album ‘Delta Machine’ offers a complete indulgence of the synth-pop genre that Depeche Mode themselves have helped to popularise over the years. ‘Delta Machine’ is full of the darkness that helps build up the makings of great Depeche Mode albums. There’s much to enjoy on the album, with the dark electronica elements of the tracks dominating the entire album, accompanied by electric guitars and other instruments, and featuring fine vocals that makes ‘Delta Machine’ in essence, just a great Depeche Mode album.

‘Delta Machine’ seems to be one of those albums, where it gets stronger as it goes along. Depeche Mode seem to have not placed their best songs right at the beginning of the album, and instead have placed songs in an order that means it gradually gets better. It’s a smart move that I’m surprised more bands don’t actually do. It helps to give the overall album some much needed character, and make it (in some ways) an experience to listen too. I should say now that I feel that ‘Delta Machine’ doesn’t truly achieve this in the ways that some albums have done before, but that being said, it does attempt it, which is an admirable and somewhat pleasing thing to hear these days. The album has a lot of flair in its songs, which draws the listener in, enveloping it in its many layers of electronic synths and rock elements that make up the songs. It all sounds brilliant, and it is accompanied by some brilliant vocals from the band, which become the main focus point for many of the songs.

There is a lot to enjoy on ‘Delta Machine’, which in many ways is just a great record. However much I enjoy it though, I find that it is one of those albums where some of the songs are weaker than others. Whilst Depeche Mode have certainly put a lot of thought into the structure of the album, and how each songs sounds and thus compliments each other, it still feels that some of the songs don’t reach the same calibre that others do. That being said though, the album itself is strong enough for this minor problem to actually not be that big of a deal. There is certainly a lot of vibrancy to the songs, with some having more sparser layers than other, which keeps things much more interesting than an album of repeated material. There’s also a nice range of instruments being used, with the synths themselves being used to create different effects and sounds that help create the songs. Although this may sound controversial, as much as I enjoy the sound of Depeche Mode, I find that the tracks I most enjoy tend to be the ones where the synths are accompanied by other instrumentals. It’s just my personal opinion, but I found when certain tracks had electric guitars coming into the layers of synth, it just added such a brilliant layer of music that I just didn’t want it to end.

Overall, I feel that Depeche Mode have produced a great album in fine form. It amazes me somewhat that a band who have been around as long as Depeche Mode have managed to produce great albums, without it becoming overbearing or boring. I’d argue that ‘Delta Machine’ might just be one of the better Depeche Mode albums out there currently. There’s so much going on with the album, with so much vibrancy and difference between the songs that it just keeps the whole album incredibly interesting and almost impossible to turn away from. It is essentially, everything a Depeche Mode album should be, and at the very least, it isn’t anything less than a great Depeche Mode album.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Secret To The End
  • Slow
  • Soft Touch/Raw Nerve
  • Soothe My Soul
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Comedown Machine – The Strokes

The Strokes’ fifth studio-album ‘Comedown Machine’ offers the ‘indie-rock’ band in what is arguably a much more mature light. On their fifth album, The Strokes seem to have produced an interesting record, that seems to both stay true to the band’s integrity, whilst also sounding just a little more mature than their previous work. ‘Comedown Machine’ features 11 new songs, which certainly have some kick and punch to them, but also seem to have just a little bit of experimentation that isn’t completely unknown of The Strokes. It makes for what I’d say is their most interesting record so far.

‘Comedown Machine’ is in essence your typical ‘indie-rock’ record. On the album there’s guitars, bass, drums and what-not, and as I’ve said in some previous reviews, it is a style that is becoming a little tiring. The Strokes though, since their first record, have not only found their own sound within the overused genre, they’ve developed it into the sound they have today. It seems that they’re striving to create what is in their mind a good record, which is exactly what the genre needs its bands to do. There is a lot to enjoy on ‘Comedown Machine’, with it’s racy tracks that feature interesting instrumentals, and equally as interesting vocals. It’s peculiar, as it sounds exactly like a Strokes record should, but it also sounds a lot more refined and mature, which for the band to have achieved is admirable. It seems that with every album they produce, they’re pushing themselves further and further, which a lot of bands in the genre don’t actually seem to do. The end result for The Strokes this time round is a record that is incredibly catchy, with some great tracks that just work in nearly every aspect.

Although a bit of a polarizing opinion, I would go as far to say that ‘Comedown Machine’ is probably going to become my favourite Strokes record. It seems that they’ve come a fair way since ‘Is This It’, and managed to produce music that at the very least, is just as good as their début album was when it first came out. I just find that ‘Comedown Machine’ works in so many respects, in that it is an interesting album of music, the music itself sounds good, the vocals sound good and each song works well to compliment the next which overall just makes for a great album. It has its flaws like nearly every single album has, sure enough, but it has enough working for it to just make it a great record. There’s enough dynamics in each of the songs so that nothing gets too boring, but also so that the shift in dynamics aren’t too jarring for the listener either.

In a genre, where there’s so many bands going for the easy options and producing mindless generic music, it is refreshing to see some bands at the very least attempting to make something that sounds good. It should be said that perhaps the hardcore fans of ‘Is This It’ will once again be polarised by this record as with the last few, and find nothing to enjoy on it. I, however, find it admirable that a band such as The Strokes refuse to let themselves go stale, and instead just strive to make good records. Everything they’ve worked for on ‘Comedown Machine’ seems to have really paid off, and it’s great to hear something that sounds good in such an over-used genre.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Tap Out
  • One Way Trigger
  • 50/50
  • Call It Fate, Call It Karma
Categories: Albums, Reviews | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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