in Review

Today’s treat is a grab bag of album reviews I meant to discuss during my younger more vulnerable years (A few months back) but didn’t want to. These aren’t because I didn’t have the time, oh no, these are a beast of another nature entirely. The following four albums are albums that I listened earlier in the year and was so disinterested that I couldn’t even bring myself to make words.

I have a few other albums that I plan on reviewing at some point, specifically the latest from Swans, Damon Albarn, and Kaiser Chiefs (not too optimistic about those last two) but I’ll most likely wait for the blog’s end of the year wrap up. Until then bear with me, it’s gonna be a bumpy night.

Brokens Bells – After the Disco

After-The-Disco-608x608What is it?: The second studio album from indie heartthrob supergroup Broken Bells featuring James “the lost Beach Boy” Mercer and the omnipresent force that is Danger Mouse.

What’s Right About It: “Holding On for Life” is an infectiously catchy track that features James Mercer doing his best Bee Gees’ impression. The results? A match made in Disco Heaven… Or is there only a Disco Hell? That song aside I love the overall feel of the album with its retro synths, fatty baselines, wokka-wokka guitar (wah-wah guitar not Fozzie Bear guitar) and preeminent production.

What’s Wrong About It: Almost every song slogs on and on for far too long, blurring the whole experience together like a Tony Manero nightmare. Not to mention there’s not a single toe-tapper that quite matches the masterful rhythm of “Holding On for Life”. This album needs snappier songwriting and more of Mercer’s trademark, “Balls in a vice falsetto”.

Why Didn’t I give a Sh@#t?: Far too early in the year. I mean, January? At that least give me some time to regain control of my legs after December’s onslaught of holiday snacking. On top of that, my hopes were sky high expecting an indie-flavored, modern day disco record. When I didn’t get that I became so disappointed that I hid from the world for two weeks surviving wholly on a diet of fruitcake and nog-related beverages.

Metronomy – Love Letters

a9163ed7What is it?: The fourth studio album from former electro-pop one-man-band now full-man-band, Metronomy.

What’s Right About It: “I’m Aquarius” and “Love Letters” are serviceable singles. Though I do prefer the radio version of the track “Love Letters”, the studio version for whatever reason front-loads the track with a slew of self-indulgent brass instruments (the wrath of the band Chicago lives on).On another, less Chicago-heavy note, the track “Love Letters” has this awesome music video from Michel Gondry.

What’s Wrong About It: I don’t think Metronomy ever made a smooth transition from soloist to full fledged foursome. Some tracks feature a full band, others are just Mount dicking around and moping it up. The whole experience feels like someone chopped up two albums and sewed them together a la Frankenstein-style. I wish Mount would go back to doing everything himself, he’s a loner, a rebel, so let’s keep it that way.

Why Didn’t I give a Sh@#t?: Who even knows what a Metronomy is? It sounds like a math class for hoity toity honor students. Did the world really need another lukewarm review about another forgettable band? And yet here I am.

The Black Keys – Turn Blue

Black_Keys_Turn_Blue_album_coverWhat is it?: The latest from those blues/rock dudes that write the soundtrack to every car commercial and movie trailer.

What’s Right About It: I love to catch me some of the “Fever”. It’s a danceable track with an even dancier blast-to-the-past organ riff.

What’s Wrong About It: Boring. If I have to be honest, which pains me because I like these guys. I mean, did the Black Keys forget how to write songs? Q: How many catchy singles did they have off of their last two albums? A: Dozens upon dozens. This has one and maybe about ten snoozers.

Why Didn’t I give a Sh@#t?: After hearing “Gold on the Ceiling” for about the 666th time I swore to take a break from the Black Keys. Listening to Turn Blue was like getting back together for a drunken one night stand, easily forgettable and ultimately regrettable.

Jack White – Lazaretto

Jack_White_-_LazarettoWhat is it?: The second solo release from garage rock wunderkind/Tim Burton character Jack White.

What’s Right About It: Some of the riffs would make even the most cynical 1970s rock geezer proud. The title track is a darn right decent number. I also catch hints of White’s eclectic studio magic sprinkled here and there.

What’s Wrong About It: The album feels like a near duplicate of White’s last album.

Why Didn’t I give a Sh@#t?: We get it Jack White, you like the blues. Would you rather we call you Jack Blue? Cause I’ll do it! I can’t believe it has taken me this long to discover post-2007 Jack White just isn’t as good as the man who penned such classics as “Fell in Love with a Girl” and “Seven Nation Army”. I think I have an explanation for all of this. You know what happened in 2007? The last White Stripes album. Since then Jack has gotten so caught up in overproduction and a overly familiar approach to the blues that I’m actually annoyed when I hear he’s got a new album coming out. Take a break Jackie boy, give it some more time before you hit the studio again. Truly, this album was the hardest listen to listen.