Monthly Archives: September 2013

The Last Ship – Sting

Moving on from the 2010 release of ‘Symphonicities’, Sting returns with ‘The Last Ship’, featuring 12 new original songs. Featuring a nautical theme reminiscent of most contemporary folk albums, Sting presents what he hopes comes across as a deep and serious album. We see Sting once again presenting music in a very serious manner, though this time the artist’s style has changed somewhat to suit his vocal style that seems to have aged over the years. Although Sting has managed to produce many great songs over the years, it seems ‘The Last Ship’ seems to fall flat completely, where many of Sting’s latest ideas either don’t work, or simply come across as weak or cheesy.

Elements of ‘The Last Ship’ seem to work, where Sting present what could be seen as a concept album revolving around nautical folk tales. A few of the tracks present interesting tales, all present in an incredibly mature manner. A few of the tracks are interesting, where lyrically, the stories come across in a strong way, showcasing a new and older style of Sting’s music. It seems Sting is trying to present an album of material that reflects his old age, where his years of experience all come across in a new way on ‘The Last Ship’. It’s interesting to see Sting attempting this, but as a complete album package, ‘The Last Ship’ simply comes across as weak.

It seems that Sting’s old age has seriously impacted his ability to sing, which really comes across on ‘The Last Ship’. Whilst to some aging artists, this adds a element of experience to their music, it sadly hasn’t done Sting any favors. Sting seems to opt for easier vocal styles on the album, and whilst this can easily be attributed to his older age, it simply presents his music in a weaker way. It’s a shame, as Sting is clearly an accomplished and capable vocalist, but sadly the vocals on ‘The Last Ship’ are too weak for it to be a very strong album. The album is also let down by the inclusion of a few songs which are simply to gimmicky and silly. Sting’s choice of tracks seems a bit scattered, with the whole album having a common theme running through out, but sounding disjointed due to the style of a few of the songs.

It seems whatever Sting has attempted for ‘The Last Ship’ has simply not worked, with it possibly being one of his weakest albums in his career. It’s a shame as with Sting’s older age, it would have been nice to have heard some real mature music that stems from Sting’s recent experiences, and whilst Sting might have attempted it to some degree on ‘The Last Ship’, it simply hasn’t paid off enough. It seems Sting might have really let himself down with his latest album, which just pales in comparison to some of Sting’s best known and most revered works.

Album Rating:

  • ★★☆☆☆  2/5

Selected Songs:

  • Practical Arrangement
  • The Night The Pugilist Learned How To Dance
  • I Love Her But She Loves Someone Else

Sting’s latest album ‘The Last Ship’ is out now.

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Odyssea – Indignu

The latest album by Portuguese post-rock band Indignu offers an incredibly cinematic and charged post-rock experience. Utilizing the many talents of each band member, Indignu present ‘Odyssea’, comprised of five interlinking tracks, as well as a prologue and an epilogue. ‘Odyssea’ seems to channel the very strengths of post-rock music right at the core of each of the tracks, making the whole album an incredibly rewarding instrumental rock experience. Whilst the album is quintessentially post-rock music, there’s still an incredible amount being offered by Indignu, who seem to find their own sound in the genre, and present what is an incredibly strong album in their own way, utilizing both the genre’s strengths, and their own strength as a band.

On ‘Odyssea’, Indignu utilize the band’s strengths to present an incredibly vibrant and enjoyable album. Each track interlinks into one another to create a very fluid listening experience, where instrumentals go in a number of directions to create a very diverse experience. There’s wonderful dynamics present on the album, as instrumentals start off quiet, and then build up into big crescendos that crash around. It’s typical post-rock, but Indignu offer so much of their own style into the music that it comes across as really their own. Everything on ‘Odyssea’ seems to just work, with there being little to no weak moments on the album at all. Each instrument seems to compliment one another, with everything having its own chance to showcase itself. There’s wonderful movements too, which all seem to feature one instrument at the forefront, ranging from guitars, bass, pianos and even violin, which provides some of the most beautiful moments on the album.

Indignu have created a fine album, where there’s very few weak moments. One might find though, that by creating an album where each track seems to interlink with each other, restricts the listener from picking out their favourite moments, as they’re all important to each other. On top of this, each track ranges from seven to nine minutes in length, and all feature varying movements, making it even harder to distinguish the favourite moments. I’d argue though, that this is simply part of Indignu’s appeal, as it makes their album come across as one big listening experience, where each song is relevant for each other. To some extent, this makes the album a little bit inaccessible, though on the other hand, this is simply an appealing element of post-rock music.

Overall, Indignu’s latest album ‘Odyssea’ is one of the finest post-rock albums to come out. The band seem to have managed to utilize a number of ideas that previous post-rock artists/bands have attempted before them, only different being that Indignu has managed to make it work. Each track offers an incredible amount, showcasing varying emotions and an incredible amount of talent as well. Indignu manage to showcase an incredible scope on ‘Odyssea’, which comes across as one of the finest post-rock records to have come out, and in many ways is simply flawless. It is arguably one of the best post-rock albums of 2013, once again showing that 2013 is one of the most exciting years for post-rock music.

Album Rating;

  • ★★★★★  5/5

Selected Songs:

  • Capítulo II – Caravela Na Ponta Dos Dedos
  • Capítulo III – Chovem Pedras De Fogo Do Céu
  • Capítulo IV – Santa Helena
  • Capítulo V – No Fim Ninguém Quer Trevas

Indignu’s latest album ‘Odyssea’ is out now and can be purchased at: http://indignu.bandcamp.com/album/odyssea

 

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The 20/20 Experience (2 of 2) – Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake’s somewhat experimental album ‘The 20/20 Experience’ receives its sequel and companion album, titled ‘The 20/20 Experience (2 of 2)’. Featuring much of what was established on the first half of this double-album experience, Justin Timberlake indulges once again in varying elements of minimalist sound, and experimental ideas that we’ve not really seen from the artist before.  Once again, we see Timberlake going for more lengthier songs, with the album lasting just over an hour in length. Whilst many of the tracks contain the same criticism as the last album of simply being to long for what they are, there’s still a few tracks that manage to elevate the album’s position, showing Timberlake as an artist who is at least willing to try things that he’s not really done before.

Much of ‘The 20/20 Experience (2 of 2)’ picks up where ‘The 20/20 Experience’ left off. Timberlake seems to opt for more lengthier tracks, featuring somewhat simple beats that push the tracks along. Unlike ‘The 20/20 Experience’, ‘The 20/20 Experience (2 of 2)’ seems to offer more experimentation on Timberlake’s part, showcasing a much wider range of genres and ideas that haven’t really been present on Timberlake’s previous work. Especially on the album’s second half, we see Timberlake indulging in a wider range of styles, with Timberlake’s team incorporating a wider range of instrumentation into the songs. It’s somewhat surprising considering the style that was clearly established on ‘The 20/20 Experience’, which also opens up on ‘The 20/20 Experience (2 of 2)’.

Although Timberlake’s shown a good level of creativity on his latest album, it is flawed by a number of weaknesses which were apparent on ‘The 20/20 Experience’. Considering the gap in the two parts, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to expect Timberlake to have ironed out the flaws on the follow up? It seems though that ‘The 20/20 Experience (2 of 2)’ many of the same flaws are present, with many of the songs simply sounding too long and uninteresting. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with long songs in general, the problem Timberlake has is that there’s not enough interesting elements to justify the song’s lengths. Many tracks, including some of the album’s highlights, drag on for far to long, giving the album a huge weakness. This is especially present in the album’s first half, where the more weaker songs seem to be present.

If it wasn’t for the more enjoyable second half of the album, where Timberlake experiments more with his own sound, then ‘The 20/20 Experience (2 of 2)’ would be a very forgettable and uninteresting album. It’s interesting, as to some extent, the album does seem to redeem itself, but sadly this is only after incredibly lengthy tracks which are simply boring. There’s at least an interesting creative element present on ‘The 20/20 Experience (2 of 2)’, though the album’s many weaknesses prevent it from being any sort of album that is strong in any real way. Fans of Timberlake and his more recent diversity in sound might find elements of ‘The 20/20 Experience (2 of 2)’ to be enjoyable, but as far as albums go, there’s simply too many weaknesses.

Album Rating:

  • ★★☆☆☆  2/5

Selected Songs:

  • Take Back The Night
  • Amnesia
  • Only When I Walk Away

Justin Timberlake’s latest album ‘The 20/20 Experience (2 of 2)’ is out now.

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Sorry EP – The Intermission Project

Offering a nice variety of genres, The Intermission Project offer their debut EP ‘Sorry’, featuring three very strong and enjoyable tracks. Although three tracks is more suiting for a single-release rather than an EP release, there’s still enough on ‘Sorry’ to make the whole experience very enjoyable. There’s a lot of strengths to The Intermission Project, whose members all work well together in presenting each song and all the strengths they possess. There’s some lovely appealing elements to The Intermission Project, who come across as an enjoyable and promising band, who have a good amount to offer.

On ‘Sorry’, the band utilize elements of various genres, ranging from the simplicity of singer/songwriter, to alternative rock and various others. Although ‘Sorry’ only features three tracks, it still manages to serve as a brilliant introduction to The Intermission Project, and what they have to offer. Each track on the EP contains wonderful elements that makes them all stand out in their own respective rights, ranging from the vocal style used, to the backing instrumentals. There’s a wonderful variety on the EP, which is incredibly surprising considering that there’s only three songs. It certainly paves the way in a promising way, suggesting that a full album release would be highly enjoyable. It’s odd, as each track seems to get stronger and stronger, offering more and more and showing us the real range and scope of The Intermission Project. The only drawback that can really be found in The Intermission Project is in their similarity to other artists, most notably Mumford & Sons, who the band sadly manage to sound very similar to. What’s lucky is that The Intermission Project manage to offer their own style and range that is different to Mumford & Sons, though at the core of it, the similarities still remain.

Overall though, The Intermission Project and their latest EP ‘Sorry’ is one of the most enjoyable listening experiences out there. Each track offers a wonderful amount, contributing well to the EP’s overall shape and sound. It’s incredibly promising and highly enjoyable, and certainly makes me want to keep an eye on their progress in the music world. Considering the range being offered on the EP, it certainly shows promise for what is hopefully going to come in the future. For now, The Intermission Project get to enjoy the fact that they’ve made a stellar EP, and one that shows a phenomenal amount of promise for this upcoming band

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Sorry
  • Come Away With Me
  • I’ve Been Waiting

The Intermission Project’s debut EP ‘Sorry’ is out now and can be purchased at: http://theintermissionproject.bandcamp.com/album/sorry-ep

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Scraps EP – Tom McConnell

Combining blues music with folk elements, Tom McConnell offers his debut EP, featuring four phenomenal tracks. On ‘Scraps’, we see the first offering by this incredibly promising musician, who demonstrates a very interesting scope to his slant on various genres. The whole EP seems to be steeped in the blues genre, though McConnell seems to offer much more than just this bare genre, giving a very rich and enjoyable experience. ‘Scraps’ serves as the perfect introduction to McConnell’s music, where each of the four tracks all demonstrate something that is being offered by the musician. It’s a very enjoyable experience that certainly shows promise from McConnell.

Although ‘Scraps’ is a somewhat short EP experience, lasting just under twenty minutes, it manages to serve its purpose well of introducing us to McConnell’s music. Acoustic riffs are accompanied by various beats and other instrumentals that make up the very core of each track. It’s the vocals though by McConnell, where we see the talent come through. McConnell’s vocal style fits perfectely into the genre he’s chosen, sounding every bit as bluesy as the instrumental backing tracks. There’s also some wonderful techniques being used in the instrumentals, where complicated rhythms show some real talent. What’s nice as well is how McConnell chooses to close the album with a gentle acoustic track, showing that there’s no restriction to the style McConnell is using for his music. It’s a highly enjoyable EP, where the only weaknesses are in a few of the techniques used, where certain ideas don’t come across as well as McConnell might have hoped. In particular is in the album’s longest track ‘Flags’, where the song is punctuated by a deep and gravely vocal interlude. Although interesting, it does stand out in particular as it makes me wonder what purpose does it have on the track? There’s a lot of promise here, and although there’s a few kinks, the EP itself seems to suggest that it is something that can easily be ironed out.

Overall, ‘Scraps’ by Tom McConnell is perhaps one of the more perfect EPs to have come out in recent times. It manages to achieve everything an EP should do, and also leaves the listener simply wanting more to hear. Everything has been done well, wit McConnell not cutting corners in terms of production and song-writing. It’s a fine effort, and one that is both highly enjoyable and promising. Whether or not McConnell’s style will translate well into a full-album is anybody’s guess, though ‘Scraps’ seems to suggest that enough works in McConnell’s style to make sure that it would work. In any case, I certainly am awaiting a full-album release.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Dead Man’s Shoes
  • Show You How
  • Flags
  • Old Edinburgh Town

Tom McConnell’s debut EP release ‘Scraps’ is out now and can be purchased at: http://tommcconnell.bandcamp.com/album/scraps

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Mechanical Bull – Kings of Leon

After dominating the music scene with their 2008 release of ‘Only By The Night’, Kings of Leon established themselves as one of the most important indie-rock groups working in the genre. Following on from their somewhat average release of 2010’s ‘Come Around Sundown’, Kings of Leon offer their sixth studio album ‘Mechanical Bull’. On their latest album, we see Kings of Leon taking somewhat of a more reserved approach with a few of the songs, making ‘Mechanical Bull’ a very interesting, and to some degree, very enjoyable, Kings of Leon effort. ‘Mechanical Bull’ has the makings to be one of the better Kings of Leon’s releases, surpassing some of their previous releases in many ways.

It seems the main appealing elements of ‘Mechanical Bull’ stem from the band’s progression in terms of their song composition and skills as musicians. The band seem to have really pushed themselves to produce some really good tracks, with a few songs on ‘Mechanical Bull’ being nothing short of great. The whole album seems to progress incredibly well from track to track, with there being a wonderful flow from song to song. Everything the band has attempted seems to just work, with there being a number of incredibly strong elements. There’s also some great dynamics as the band feature both fast-paced and punchy songs, and more somber, slower tracks, giving the album a good range in terms of what is has to offer.

Where ‘Mechanical Bull’ seems to falter though is in the more reserved nature the band has used for the album itself. It seems a number of the songs present themselves as songs that build up, but then they never seem to reach the heights they’re aiming for. It seems in a number of the songs that Kings of Leon are holding back, and whilst this seems as though they’re not trying to repeat themselves in terms of what they have to offer, it only results in the songs sounding weaker than some of their best material. Some of the tracks feel seem to suggest that Kings of Leon could push it a little further, whilst still retaining some of that more reserved sound that they’ve been aiming for.

Overall though, ‘Mechanical Bull’ comes across as one of Kings of Leon’s better albums in their career so far. The whole album has a brilliant structure that seemed to be missing on many of Kings of Leon’s previous releases. It is perhaps a little bit likely that the album might not win over some of the more hardcore Kings of Leon fans, but the overall album presents itself in a very good light, with it being one of the most strongest Kings of Leon albums so far. There’s some brilliant techniques and ideas being used by the band that would easily be beneficial on some of their future releases. At the moment, the band has done well in managing to follow up on their well established fame, without trying to repeat themselves musically.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Don’t Matter
  • Beautiful War
  • Family Tree
  • On The Chin

Kings of Leon’s sixth studio album ‘Mechanical Bull’ is out now. 

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Ketevan – Katie Melua

On ‘Ketevan’, we see song-writer Katie Melua offering once again a very somber musical experience. Comprised of 11 tracks, Melua weaves together elements of folk with a pinch of jazz and pop. The whole album features a number of strengths that make the whole experience somewhat stronger than some of Melua’s previous releases. Melua’s vocals dominate the tracks in fine style, once again showing us what is so appealing about Katie Melua as a singer/song-writer. ‘Ketevan’ is perhaps one of Melua’s more stronger releases, though it does seem marred by a number of faults that Melua seems to always have had throughout her career.

On ‘Ketevan’, the album opens up to some phenomenal vocals by Melua, which lays the groundwork for the rest of the album. There’s some wonderful instrumentals throughout the whole album, which seems to be a little bit of a step up from some of Melua’s previous works. It feels as though the song-writer has really pushed herself to produce a very good album of material, and most of the efforts have paid off. Melua’s vocals sound incredibly strong on the record, which just soar around very strong instrumentals. There’s a wonderful craft to the album which comes across as one of Melua’s more stronger efforts.

It seems though that Melua is once again limited again by a number of negative traits that have dominated her career. As lovely as some of Melua’s tracks are, it seems she’s incredibly hit and miss when it comes to her lyrics. Some previous efforts by the musician have yielded some incredibly thoughtful and interesting lyrics, whilst others have come across as incredibly silly and to some extent cheesy. On ‘Ketevan’, Melua once again offers some poor lyrical writing in a few of the songs, which drags the whole overall effort down a few notches. Considering Melua has shown before that she is capable of writing some incredibly strong lyrics, it confuses me why she isn’t consistent when it comes to her overall albums.

‘Ketevan’ is an enjoyable Katie Melua album, that will most likely please the many fans she has attracted over the years. A number of negative attributes does bring the album down some places, but it is still perhaps one of Melua’s more stronger albums. A number of very enjoyable tracks manage to elevate the album’s status above the average bog-standard, though equally, negative attributes do prevent the album from being the best it could possibly be. ‘Ketevan’ does remain an enjoyable album though, with does feature some of Melua’s best vocal performances and some truly wonderful instrumentals. It is definitely one to please the fans, especially those who have been with her since her early career.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★☆☆  3/5

Selected Songs:

  • Never Felt Less Like Dancing
  • Where Does The Ocean Go?
  • Idiot School
  • I Will Be There

Katie Melua’s latest album ‘Ketevan’ is out now.

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The Secret Life of Blue – Róisín O

The latest album by Irish musician and songwriter Róisín O offers an incredibly enjoyable pop/rock/folk experience, where beautiful vocals are accompanied by perfectly complimenting instrumentals. On ‘The Secret Life of Blue’, we see some incredibly strong elements working together to present a very enjoyable album experience. Conventional pop techniques combine with some rather unconventional techniques to create a very vibrant album full of enjoyable tracks. ‘The Secret Life of Blue’ is a highly enjoyable album that is only marred by one or two negative attributes that thankfully don’t drag the overall album down in any significant way.

On ‘The Secret Life of Blue’, much of the album’s enjoyment comes from the gorgeous and charming vocals of Róisín O herself. Róisín O offers an incredibly charming song-writing technique that evokes the likes of Joni Mitchell or Kate Bush. Róisín O simply lets her music do the talking for herself, where her own vocals simply soar amongst the incredibly strong instrumentals that have been produced for the album. It is a very strong debut effort and it certainly presents the many strengths Róisín O has as a song-writer and as a vocalist. What is lovely to see here is how Róisín O hasn’t gone down the cliched route of attempting to do everything by the textbook, and produced songs where her vocals go all over the place. Instead, Róisín O offers a much more fun, and at times very gentle experience, where she simply sings on every song.

The only limitations on ‘The Secret Life of Blue’ is in the album’s progression. The album starts off with an interesting track, but it is perhaps one of the more weaker tracks present on the album. Considering the first track should serve as an introduction to Róisín O, it seems that a more stronger track, though not necessarily the strongest, should take place at the beginning, over the one present at the moment. It means the album starts off to a somewhat clunky start, and it’s only when the track offers it’s best does everything start to make sense. The whole album manages to display enough strengths to compensate for the somewhat clunky start, though it does leave a rather sour note on the overall album.

Róisín O though has managed to produce a brilliant debut effort, where her own vocals are accompanied by incredible instrumentals. What is lovely to hear on the album is how nothing has been over-produced, where everything gets drowned out in over-production. Instead, Róisín O and her collaborators on the album have opted to only go for instrumentals, techniques and ideas that assist the songs, and elevate them to the best of their abilities. There’s some truly wonderful tracks on the album, where everything just seems to work. It’s a fine debut effort with very few negative attributes. It’s a wonderful start to this incredibly promising Irish musician, who clearly has an enormous amount to offer.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Sycnhronicity
  • How Long
  • Tea Song
  • The Secret Life of Blue

Róisín O’s debut album ‘The Secret Life of Blue’ is out now and can be purchased at: http://roisino.com/the-secret-life-of-blue-out-now/

 

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From Here To Now To You – Jack Johnson

Charming song-writer Jack Johnson has always produced music of a completely inoffensive nature, that is just enjoyable and fun to listen to. On his sixth album ‘From Here To Now To You’, Jack Johnson continues his merry sounding discography with his latest album of amusing little acoustic numbers. Johnson’s latest album pretty much continues in the same vein as everything else the artists has done, though considering the simple charm of everything the musician produces, it’s simply just another enjoyable album from another enjoyable musician. It should be said that ‘From Here To Now To You’ doesn’t do much in terms of progressing Johnson’s sound from his previous records, though there’s still a simple charm at the core of the album itself.

‘From Here To Now To You’ is very much a typical Jack Johnson record. The album features everything that is present on the artists’ previous records, which is all very charming and nice. Amusing little acoustic riffs run through the songs, accompanied by Johnson’s very soft vocals that present his songs in a lovely way. It’s simply a fun record that is sure to please fans of Johnson, as it’s pretty much what one would expect from this musician. There’s a few tracks on the album that seem to be incredibly strong, and perhaps as good as some of Johnson’s most well enjoyed tracks. Whether or not they’ll become as popular as his most well known songs is anybody’s guess, though the ones present on the album are easily as good, if not better.

The main problem I find with ‘From Here To Now To You’ is that there’s really not much else being offered by Jack Johnson. Although many of the tracks on the album are enjoyable and fun, they’re simply nothing more than just that. It is likely the album will please fans of Johnson, but the album doesn’t really do much in terms of showing the best of Johnson’s abilities. It feels like the musician could be offering us much more than what is present on ‘From Here To Now To You’, but all that Johnson really wants to present is just a rather basic album of fairly enjoyable tracks. Considering how little is really being offered by Johnson on this album, the whole effect makes the album progress at a rather sluggish pace, where few songs manage to really stand out.

Overall, ‘From Here To Now To You’ is a fairly enjoyable album by Johnson, but it’s simply to average to really stand out in any significant way. A few tracks on the album are very enjoyable, but the overall album has no impact to make it a great album. It’s a shame as Johnson is clearly a capable song-writer, but there’s just not enough to truly make his music stand out. ‘From Here To Now To You’ is by no means a terrible album, and it is definitely not the worst album that Johnson has released. It is sadly an album that just doesn’t do that much to impress, and whilst it is enjoyable in a number of respects, it’s simply a little to droll to really be all that interesting.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★☆☆  3/5

Selected Songs:

  • I Got You
  • Tape Deck
  • Change
  • Home

Jack Johnson’s latest album ‘From Here To Now To You’ is out now. 

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The Big Mango – Land Of Kush

Innovative composer and musician Sam Shalabi seems to never let the conventional methods of music composition influence his own decisions when it comes to making music. One of his most interesting musical projects Land of Kush is a prime example of how musical conventions can be broken down in order to create something that is interesting, exciting and somehow, listenable. On their third album now, Land of Kush present ‘The Big Mango’, which features much of the same style of music that was first established on the 2009 release ‘Against The Day’. ‘The Big Mango’ features a fantastic ensemble of musicians, ranging from some of Constellation Record’s stand-out members such as Alexandre St-Onge, Rebecca Foon and Elizabeth Anka Vajagic, all of whom present the vision and themes of the album in phenomenal form.

Land of Kush have always seemed to defy classic genre definitions, with their music simply being their own unique style that weaves together composition and improvisation. On ‘The Big Mango’, wonderful and powerful instrumental passages all present the image of the album in fine style, where everything seems to have its own place. It’s a phenomenal album, and one that is a welcome treat as it never seems set in stone whether or not there’ll ever be new Land of Kush material. On ‘The Big Mango’, we once again have a number of instrumental tracks, some of which feel improvised, which break up the album’s main sections featuring vocals. It’s at these moments that the album really comes out in fine style, where everything marries together in perfect style. It seems Shalabi has really pushed forward on ‘The Big Mango’, which features more subverting of genres than what was present on ‘Against The Day’ and ‘Monogamy’. Once again, Shalabi pushes the middle-eastern style on the album, though it seems subverted with elements of ambient and/or rock music, which gives the whole album an incredible energy that is unlike anything else the band has released before.

There’s very little that’s wrong with ‘The Big Mango’, which is simply one of Land of Kush’s most enjoyable records. There’s a tiny disappointing element though when one considers the sheer enjoyable madness that was Land of Kush’s previous works, and the now more accessible ‘The Big Mango’. There seems to have been a little bit of a loss of the unusual and somewhat unique elements that made up these previous records, as everything seems to sound just that little bit more accessible. There’s less confusion on ‘The Big Mango’, which always came across as one of the more bizarrely appealing elements of Land of Kush. Even though ‘The Big Mango’ is more accessible than previous Land of Kush records, it is still a somewhat hard album to enjoy, where only those who enjoy Land of Kush or Shalabi’s music will find enjoyment from.

In any case though, I find it incredibly hard to fault ‘The Big Mango’. It’s hard to compare it with previous Land of Kush albums, as each one seems to stand on it’s own plateau where it simply speaks for itself. It is arguable that it is a step up from ‘Monogamy’, though it is somewhat different as well. Where ‘The Big Mango’ wins points is in how Shalabi has managed to make the bizarre and mad simply sound accessible and enjoyable. Every musician involved in Land of Kush plays a wonderful part in presenting the various tracks in such a phenomenal way, making the whole album sound incredibly strong. There’s little to no weak moments on the album, which easily makes it another crowning achievement from one of the best collectives working today. It is an album that deserves nothing less, as it manages to achieve everything it set out to do.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★★ 5/5

Selected Songs:

  • The Pit (Part 1)
  • Mobil Nil
  • Drift Beguine
  • The Big Mango

Land of Kush’s 3rd studio album ‘The Big Mango’ is set for release on 1st October 2013 and can be pre-ordered at: http://cstrecords.com/cst097/

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