Posts Tagged With: 2013

Lissie Live @ KOKO (28/08/13)

American folk-rock artist Elisabeth Corrin Maurus, known better as Lissie, has been making a storm with her wonderful and energetic live concerts. Lissie’s concert at KOKO saw the singer diving headfirst into a wonderfully pumped up show, where there was tons of attitude everywhere you looked. The live concert in support of Lissie’s most recent album ‘Back To Forever’ featured the singer performing many of her new tracks, as well as some old favourites from her debut album. The whole concert came across as a rather intimate performance, with Lissie clearly enjoying the work she does, and making sure her audience enjoys it just the same.

Even with a somewhat small venue, Lissie clearly packs in the same amount of care and attention than she would for any audience of any size. The whole concert packs an incredible punch, as Lissie churns out rocker after rocker after rocker, only ever pausing to either switch over to a differently tuned guitar, or drink the occasional gulp of vodka. There doesn’t seem to be any stopping for the singer, who manages to pelt out track after track, filling the room with a buzzing energy in every song. The set-list for the show contains a wonderful selection of tracks, featuring the best songs from both albums. What’s of key interest here though is how Lissie manages to present the songs from the first album with the same energy and passion as her new songs. Everything feels much more older, mature and full of attitude. And it’s hard not to like.

Lissie’s concert is essentially everyone one would want from a performer such as her. A lovely intimate gig where the audience has love and respect for the performer, who in turn has a lot of admiration for the people who have come to see her perform. It was easy to see in Lissie’s performance how much she was enjoying the show, as she managed to pack in such a tremendous amount of energy, all the time smiling with each and every song. One couldn’t ask any more of Lissie, who managed to put on one hell of a show, especially in such a small venue.

It’s plain to see the appeal of a singer like Lissie, who manages to throw her own slant into the whole singer/songwriter genre. The tracks themselves are full of fun, and sound brilliant within the live setting. The whole set-list in particular showed a great selection of tracks, where each and every song flowed into each other comfortably, sustaining the energy that Lissie built up with her performance. Particular highlights included the energetic performance of ‘When I’m Alone’, and the full-of-attitude ‘Shameless’, as well as an interesting cover of ‘Pursuit Of Happiness’ by Kid Cudi, which saw Lissie reworking the song into her own rock style. It was certainly a great way for Lissie to end her show.

Set-List

  1. Bully
  2. Record Collector
  3. Sleepwalking
  4. Love in the City
  5. The Habit
  6. When I’m Alone
  7. They All Want You
  8. I Don’t Wanna Go To Work
  9. Little Lovin’
  10. Everywhere I Go
  11. Shameless
  12. Shroud
  13. Further Away(Romance Police)
  14. In Sleep
  15. Oh Mississippi
  16. Pursuit of Happiness (Kid Cudi cover)
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Muse Live @ Emirates Stadium, London (25/05/13)

 

Muse’s performance at Emirates Stadium will always stick out as one of the most majestic, outlandish and incredible live concerts of 2013. Featuring incredible showmanship from the band, who incorporate great pillars of fire, pre-recorded and live-recorded films and a giant robot named ‘Charles’, we’re reminded of the incredible power of Muse’s live concerts. Muse’ energy seems unmatched as they launch into a wonderful set-list, featuring (better) versions of the songs from their latest album, and wonderful resurrections of tracks spanning their entire career.

A few surprises are littered along the way as we’re bombarded with noise and rock by the band. Many of the performances come across as incredible and electric, and Muse display a remarkable energy that never seems to wane at any point. Certain performances stick out due to the incredible visual display being offered by the band. The performance of ‘Animals’ from the bands latest album features wonderful imagery of stock market values, whilst also displaying a film of stock brokers in meeting. As the track descends into the madness of its third section, we see a particular stock broker wandering through a large crowd, and it takes a second or two to realize that it’s in fact not pre-recorded footage, but actually live footage of the stock broker wandering through the actual crowd at the concert. Muse finish their performance of ‘Animals’ by launching into their magnum opus, first having bassist Christopher Wolstenholme play a rendition of Ennio Morricone’s ‘The Man With The Harmonica’ over the now dead stock broker, before the whole band dive headfirst into a pure electric performance of ‘Knights With Cydonia’.

Whilst the band certainly manage to show a great range of tracks in their set-list, playing songs that span the bands whole career, a few certain tracks sadly feel a little bit misplaced. The bands’ own cover of Lightning Bolt’s ‘Dracula Mountain’ certainly adds an incredible amount of energy to the whole stage, but there’s a somewhat polarizing element to the performance. The energy is present in the audience, but it feels a little bit more cautious, as though they’re not entirely sure of what they’re meant to be doing, or what the band is even doing themselves. This continues on when the band launch up the old non-album track of ‘Dead Star’, whose aggressive riffs and sound certainly attempt to get the audience going, but it doesn’t seem as universally loved as some of the bands’ other songs.

The whole concert feels full of energy, even when the band launch into a more gentle section near the closing end of the gig. The band resurrect ‘Showbiz’s beautiful track ‘Unintended’, which stops the whole audience right in their track, before they go off into a beautiful rendition of ‘Blackout’, featuring acrobatics circling the stage. It’s incredibly beautiful for the most part, but it doesn’t stop the band from launching right back into their pumped up tracks as they come out for an encore. Fan favourites ‘Plug In Baby’ and ‘Starlight’ help to close the whole show, leaving everything with a slightly out-of-breath quality. One can only look back and think of how amazing and full of energy the whole show was, full of theatrics, showmanship and over-the-top performances that certainly showcase Muse as being one of the most important bands in the rock genre today.

Set-List:

  1. The 2nd Law: Unsustainable
  2. Supermassive Black Hole
  3. Panic Station
  4. Bliss
  5. Resistance
  6. Animals
  7. Knights of Cydonia (Feat. The Man With The Harmonica)
  8. Dracula Mountain (Lightning Bolt cover)
  9. United States of Eurasia
  10. Dead Star
  11. Monty Jam
  12. Feeling Good (Bricusse & Newley cover)
  13. Follow Me
  14. Liquid State
  15. Madness
  16. Time Is Running Out
  17. New Born
  18. Unintended
  19. Blackout
  20. Guiding Light
  21. Undisclosed Desires
  22. The 2nd Law: Unsustainable
  23. Plug In Baby
  24. Survival
  25. The 2nd Law: Isolated System
  26. Uprising
  27. Starlight
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Coast – Dad School

Musician and composer Andrew Nolan offers up one of his latest releases under his moniker of Dad School titled ‘Coast’. The new album from Nolan comprises five tracks, featuring an interesting blend of post-rock aesthetics. For the most part, ‘Coast’ feels very stripped down, featuring very minimal effects to present the album itself. It all works rather well for the most part, with much of the album demonstrating some interesting ideas and compositions. Fans of post-rock music will more than likely find some very enjoyable elements from Nolan, who certainly has his own vision when creating his music.

Whilst ‘Coast’ as an album might not demonstrate the larger and more grander moments of the post-rock genre, there is still a lot to be desired in its more minimal approach to the genre. Most of the tracks featured on the album feel rather natural, with nothing sounding over-produced for the sake of production. Post-rock elements allow themselves to build up carefully, creating their own visions of worlds expressed through the music itself. Each song seems to contribute very nicely towards the overall album’s effect, giving the whole album a very rounded feel to it.

For the most part, Nolan has managed to create a strong album experience that is very enjoyable for the most part. Whilst many of the songs display some very strong elements, they also seem to demonstrate a few weaknesses that seem to regrettably ruin the album’s overall impact. A few of the songs whilst featuring some brilliantly creative moments seem to drag on just a little too long, thus no longer justifying their rather long running-time. Most of the album works rather well, but a few moments here and there just seem to add an element of dullness to it all, thus preventing the album from being as strong as Nolan might like.

‘Coast’ isn’t a perfect post-rock album by any means. Whilst it sports a few weaknesses here and there, both musically and structurally, it does also more often than not demonstrate some very interesting ideas. There’s a fair amount that’s actually happening on ‘Coast’ that does help to keep the whole album experience rather interesting. Nolan certainly has managed to create something interesting here, although for the most part it doesn’t really pay off. At least there’s enough here to make the album worth it as a whole.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★☆☆ 3/5

Selected Songs:

  • When The Wind
  • When The Wind (With Movement)
  • Two Suns

Dad School’s latest album ‘Coast’ is out now.

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Viorupeeeeihean – Alexandre St-Onge

Sound artist, performer, bassist, composer etc Alexandre St-Onge (of Shalabi Effect, Et Sans, Feu Thérèse and others) offers another solo release under his own name titled ‘Viorupeeeeihean’. The new record comprises three new tracks of a highly experimental nature, though somewhat typical akin to St-Onge’s output. ‘Viorupeeeeihean’ comes across as a very confusing and distant record, where experimental concepts find themselves interwoven into sound designs and presentations. An underlying element of ‘music’ runs throughout the record, presenting us with another sometimes confusing but incredibly engrossing experience from St-Onge.

‘Viorupeeeeihean’ doesn’t present us with a typical musical experience. Instead we’re presented with the clicks and cracks of ambient noises, sometimes accompanied by the occasional instrument to push along a specific image forward. The album itself seems to fall somewhere between St-Onge’s 2001’s musique concrète ‘Kasi Naigo’, which offered a sparse sounding experience, and St-Onge’s 2007 album ‘Mon Animal Est Possible’. The musique concrète elements of St-Onge’s earlier work find themselves interwoven into the compositional and more importantly thematic elements of ‘Mon Animal Est Possible’. The work comes across as interesting, even though it is highly unconventional.

Whilst Alexandre St-Onge is phenomenal at tapping into that little part of us that extract certain emotions from certain sounds, there’s still some rather dull elements to ‘Viorupeeeeihean’ as an album experience. Whilst perhaps not as difficultly challenging as ‘Kasi Naigo’, it isn’t St-Onge’s best moment to date. Many of ‘Viorupeeeeihean’s challenges and ideas have been presented in better styles on some of St-Onge’s other works, giving ‘Viorupeeeeihean’ a somewhat redundant element. Some new ideas are present here and there, but there’s a strong element of St-Onge being perhaps a little bit too indulgent.

Whilst ‘Viorupeeeeihean’ might come across as less of a challenging listen than other albums releases by St-Onge, it feels like as an album that it sadly doesn’t really offer enough from the highly inventive artist. Had we not heard some/most of the ideas before, ‘Viorupeeeeihean’ might not come as across as such a weak album. Musically, the album can be described as interesting, certainly coming across as another one of St-Onge’s trips into the very peculiar and unknown. For someone so inventive though, it would have been nice to see something a little different.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★☆☆ 3/5

Selected Songs:

  • Cobalieciable
  • Spectre(s)
  • histhoultcapable

Alexandre St-Onge’s latest solo album ‘Viorupeeeeihean’ is out now on ORAL records.

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L’amitié – Jean-Sébastien Truchy

Fly Pan Am’s Jean-Sébastien Truchy offers up another release under his own name titled ‘L’amitié’. The new record from Jean-Sébastien Truchy released on cassette features two highly experimental and highly challenging 30-minute tracks. At roughly an hour in length, Truchy challenges us with a highly colorful collage of sounds, styles, genres and anything else the musician feels like bombarding us with. With everything features on ‘L’amitié’ constantly moving and shifting around in an unpredictable way, it comes across as music that is incredibly inaccessible and challenging, though there is also something utterly engrossing about the entire trip.

Jean-Sébastien Truchy certainly knows how to paint a collage with sound, as is evident on his latest solo work. The music featured on ‘L’amitié’ ranges incredibly in style and genre, being completely unpredictable though incredibly engrossing for some unknown reason. It’s all very challenging and bombarding, but there’s something so interesting and precise about everything Truchy presents across his two recordings. At times, ‘L’amitié’ can be subtle, whilst at others it is right up in your face in a rather intimidating way. It is in many ways perfect experimental music, featuring both elements of the accessible and inaccessible.

‘L’amitié’ is in no way an easy listen, and with it both being an incredibly experimental record, and being a recording at roughly one hour in length, it becomes an incredibly challenging listen. Whilst the recordings sport some phenomenal creative ideas from Truchy, there’s still the whole experimental vibe to get over, which is at times really hard to get ones head around, even if one is open to the potential ideas of experimental music. It’s perhaps a little hard to really work out what the hell it is Truchy is trying to say, if he is trying to say anything at all.

There’s the risk in experimental music that the experiments themselves are simply a gimmick to be laughed at, whilst the recordings themselves offer nothing. Jean-Sébastien Truchy has managed though to create something incredibly experimental with ‘L’amitié’, which still sounds interesting and enjoyable. Whilst incredibly challenging, ‘L’amitié’ can be listened to, and to some extent it can actually be enjoyed, if one finds what Truchy is offering to be to their taste. Perhaps ‘L’amitié’ is a little too crazy at times, though the music itself seem to suggest that this is the point.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Le Refus
  • Traces[et] Transgression[(s)]

Jean-Sébastien Truchy’s solo album ‘L’amité’ is out now.

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Japonesque – Sienná

A delightful blend of electronic treatments and styles find themselves being intertwined with traditional sounding Japanese styles, creating the very interesting album that is ‘Japonesque’ by Sienná. Sienná demonstrate and present a very interesting style of music on their latest album that is certainly an enjoyable album experience. The fusion of styles on ‘Japonesque’ works very well for the most part, with many of the songs sounding very relaxed and natural. It’s an interesting album experience that seems to work well for the most part but it is perhaps marred by a few weak elements that have somehow worked their own way into the album.

Sienná definitely demonstrate some great ideas on ‘Japonesque’, which is certainly more creative than many bands working within similar genres. Wonderful traditional sounding Japanese elements find themselves fused together with electronic beats, creating a sort of oddly relaxing yet pumped-up music experience. The album’s highlights are certainly the tracks where we the Japanese elements are the dominant elements within the music, as the wonderful ways in which the music fuses together with other elements is simply a great musical experience. It all seems to work well for the most part, with the fused elements showcasing Sienná in a great light.

Although ‘Japonesque’ is an enjoyable album for the most part, it does seem that it falls flat after a while. Whilst some tracks wonderfully indulge in the Japanese elements the style offers them, other tracks seem to not know what to do with themselves, and seem to just meander about the place not offering much that is truly enjoyable or great. The album feels divided between the great songs where the fusion has worked, and the poor tracks where the fusion hasn’t come across all that well. Sadly though it seems that the album features more of the weaker moments, which is a shame considering the strength of the album’s highlights.

Sienná have some good styles working for them, and they’re certainly capable of making it work for themselves. It seems though that ‘Japonesque’ is let down by the fact not every track on the album has had the same care and attention that the album’s highlights have had. It’s a shame as when the album works, it works incredibly well and is a very enjoyable album experience. When it doesn’t work though, it’s simply boring and dull, which in the case of ‘Japonesque’ results in a rather broken album experience that seems to switch from strong to weak. A little bit more refinement here and there from Sienná would have certainly made ‘Japonesque’ a strong album. Perhaps we’ll see that at some point in the future.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★☆☆  3/5

Selected Songs:

  • Japonesque
  • Beauty
  • Tranquility (Black Tortoise of the North)
  • Rest (White Tiger of the West

Sienná’s latest album ‘Japonesque’ is out now.

 

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Artifacts – Castleview

Artifacts cover art

The latest album released under the moniker of Castleview compiles together a number of previous recordings, and presents it all as one album package titled ‘Artifacts’. The ambient compilation sees much more experimentation from Castleview, as various tracks from various other albums and/or other projects see their way onto the album itself. The whole album has an ambient feel as is to be expected of Castleview, which is driven along by a sense of wonder and mystery. There’s different ideas at play here, some experimentation to attempt something new and exciting, all of which makes ‘Artifacts’ a very interesting album.

What’s interesting is how Castleview utilizes many different styles of the ambient genre, presenting something that incorporates many different elements, and presents it all in one cohesive and understanding way. Although the songs have been pulled out from various places, they all seem to somehow compliment each other as the album runs through each song. It makes for an interesting listening experience, that can easily wash over a listener, but contains moments and elements that are rewarding to those who are more attentive. It’s an interesting release that is easy enjoyable for those who love the ambient music genre, and the many capabilities it offers to those who are willing to try.

Although ‘Artifacts’ has been presented as one complete album experience, but rather a compilation of various recordings, it still remains a fact that the album’s second half is pale in comparison with the albums’ first. ‘Artifacts’ opens up with wonderful compositions that conjure up wonderful imagery in the mind, but after the first half of the album, it all seems to be less interesting, as though the creative ideas started to run a little thin. It’s understandable in a sense as it is a compilation, but perhaps reworking the track-list would allow for the whole album experience to remain interesting throughout.

Even when compiling various tracks that haven’t been written with each other in mind, Castleview still manages to present a wonderful album experience. The experimentation and creativity on ‘Artifacts’ is wonderful, and it’s interesting to see just how much Castleview is capable of when it comes to his own branch of ambient music. The little hints and ideas here and there in the various songs suggest that Castleview is capable of so much when it comes to ambient music, and it would certainly be interesting to see some of the various styles branched out upon into their own album experience.s

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Desert On Mercury
  • Neptune
  • Sunlight Valley
  • Zen

Castleview’s latest album ‘Artifacts’ is out now and can be purchased at: http://castleview.bandcamp.com/album/artifacts

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Robbery EP – OSB (Formerly 1-Speed Bike)

Musician, composer and DJ Aidan Girt offers a new release from his 1-Speed Bike project, this time released under the new moniker of OSB. Released last year in January, the new EP follows on from the previous 1-Speed Bike release of ‘Pashto Translator Needed’, and sees much of the same re-working and re-modeling that made Girt’s previous releases so interesting. ‘Robbery’ follows on in much of the same fashion, featuring cryptic spoken word monologues, set alongside Girt’s instrumental style. It seems this time round though that Girt has expanded somewhat upon the sound previous expressed in his works, creating something that is both similar yet new to himself.

‘Robbery’ is in some ways a typical Girt release, featuring the same codes and conventions that feel so familiar in comparison to his previous works. We have the same monologues, the same electronic percussion and movements trudging everything along at peculiar yet interesting paces. It seems though that ‘Robbery’ is more dominated by the use of bass clarinet hums and drones, or at the very least what sounds like bass clarinet. It sounds remarkably similar to one of Girt’s earlier projects Exhaust, which featured strong use of drone sounds, set alongside tape loops, bass and percussive beats. It’s all very interesting, and it’s easy to see Girt’s creative process present in the recordings. Those who enjoyed the oddly bizarre yet still enjoyable and highly interesting music from Exhaust and 1-Speed Bike will find much to enjoy from ‘Robbery’, which seems to bridge the gap between the two different projects.  In some ways, it’s arguable that ‘Robbery’ isn’t as well structured as 1-Speed Bike’s debut album ‘Droopy Butt Begone!’, or as diverse as ‘Pashto Translator Needed’, though it still comes across as a strong and enjoyable effort.

Although it’s a little weird and unusual, it’s still everything one would expect and enjoy from Aidan Girt (if one is familiar with his music of course). The ‘Robbery’ EP seems to offer a new chapter in the music being offered by Girt, and is one that sounds every bit as creative and enjoyable as his previous works. We can only hope that this small EP release spurns Girt on to continue creating his somewhat unique branch of music. ‘Robbery’ is certainly an enjoyable EP and certainly pushes the wish to want more from Girt.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Circumstance Might Be Criminal
  • Bigger Things Rolling Over Us
  • Some Of Us Have Got It Made

OSB (Formerly 1-Speed Bike)’s latest release ‘Robbery’ is out now and can be purchased at:  http://1-speedfukinbike.bandcamp.com/album/robbery-ep  

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Olio Su Tela – Antarte

Italian band Antarte offer their latest album experience titled ‘Olio Su Tela’. Offering up a very diverse musical experience that mixes up varying genres and styles, Antarte showcase a fresh and enjoyable style of music that incorporates many enjoyable elements and presents them all in one big and fairly accessible package. On ‘Olio Su Tela’, we see elements of post-rock stand alongside folk music, ambient music and even shoe-gazing music, all of which somehow manages to work fairly well for the most part, making ‘Olio Su Tela’ an enjoyable and incredibly diverse album experience.

Antarte seem to pull out all the stops for ‘Olio Su Tela’, never once missing a moment to showcase talent and creativity. With so many styles and genres being mixed up together, there’s the risk of the album itself sounding incredibly scattered and confusing. It seems that Antarte have dealt with this in such fine style, somehow making ‘Olio Su Tela’ a very strong album that flows with effortless ease. There’s a great number of enjoyable songs present on the album, with the many genres and styles all coming together to compliment each other. It’s a fine album effort that surely pushes Antarte’s creative abilities right to the edge.

As enjoyable as ‘Olio Su Tela’ is, with its many styles and ideas, it seems that not everything has been pulled off as smoothly as they might enjoy. The album suffers at times from a few moments or transitions that seem to break what Antarte is trying to express with their music. Although the range of styles compliment each other, it seems they transition into each other sometimes in a rather clumsy fashion, which seems to ruin the effect of the songs themselves. It seems a little bit of refinement here and there would greatly benefit Antarte’s music and surely help them achieve what they wanted to do.

Although ‘Olio Su Tela’ demonstrates a few clumsy errors, it still comes across as an enjoyable album experience. It’s one thing to throw in loads of genres and styles, but it takes a lot to really make it work. Even though there’s the odd hiccup here and there, the whole effort is good enough to make it an album that for the most part does work really well. Antarte surely demonstrate that they have a lot to offer when it comes to their music, and their creative ideas, which comes across on ‘Olio Su Tela’ in brilliant fashion. It will surely be wonderful to see what Antarte can do next.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • La Notte Delle Lucciole
  • Diecimila Parsec
  • Settembre
  • Controluce

Antarte’s latest album ‘Olio Su Tela’ is out now and can be purchased at: http://antarte.bandcamp.com/album/olio-su-tela 

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Her – Arcade Fire

For his latest film effort, director Spike Jonze enlists the help of Arcade Fire to write and compose the soundtrack for his latest film ‘Her’. The new soundtrack album by Arcade Fire features a selection of the music composed for the film, forming a wonderful album that seems to stray away from what could be described as ‘conventional Arcade Fire music’. ‘Her’ come across as a very creative and interesting album experience that certainly shows a new side to Arcade Fire’s musical creativity. As an album experience there’s a very enjoyable element to ‘Her’, though it seems that listened to separately from the film itself, there’s a crucial missing element that could help make ‘Her’ a great album.

‘Her’ is dominated by gentle pianos, accompanied by the most subtle of backing instrumentals that push everything along at a slow yet enjoyable pace. There’s something inherently relaxing about much of the music on ‘Her’, whilst others delve deeper into more atmospheric and tense areas, certainly accompanying their individual scenes in fine style. Each track clearly contributes to the overall film, though there is an enjoyable element when listened to as stand-alone music. It’s certainly an interesting album from Arcade Fire, who seem to hold back on everything, only contributing elements and ideas for the betterment of the film itself. In many ways it is a wonderful soundtrack, that achieves everything it has set out to do.

It is most likely though that ‘Her’ will disappoint the more hardcore fans of Arcade Fire, who will find no incredible and pumped-up indie anthems here. ‘Her’ strays away from Arcade Fire’s more conventional style, opting more much subtle textures and ambient sounds. Perhaps those expecting another album of material featuring electric guitar riffs, driving bass lines and pounding drums will be disappointed at the lack of these elements. Perhaps this mindset though distracts from the fact that ‘Her’ is composed for film, and therefore needs to contain elements that assist and accompany the film itself, rather than be an attempt for Arcade Fire to outdo themselves.

Overall, ‘Her’s subtle and gentle elements come across as one of Arcade Fire’s most interesting releases to date. The sheer difference from their previous material, as well as how well they’ve handled the task of composing soundtrack material has all come across so strongly, making ‘Her’ a very interesting and capable album effort. The album itself is so full of emotional movements that it works well as a soundtrack, and as an album by Arcade Fire. It might not be their best release in their discography, though it comes across as one of their most interesting and equally creative efforts.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Sleepwalker
  • Morning Talk/Supersymmetry
  • Photograph
  • Dimensions

Arcade Fire’s soundtrack album ‘Her’ is out now.

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