Archive for the ‘Review’ Category

Vampire Weekends second album

February 8, 2010


Vampire Weekend have been a fresh contribution to the music scene with their unique classic and african inspired music. The music world was taken by surprise with their self titled debut in 2008. which gained broad acclaim followed by many festival appearances. Since then, time has not passed for a long time before a new album came from the hasty slumbers. Now it will be interesting to see if this album is a worthy sophomore effort ,or just a rashful effort to cave in on fame to finance a posh dame.

Their latest newest release Contra has been out for a few weeks and we shall see in this review how well it fairs. The first thing you notice this time around is that there is less of the classical style of the first album. We hear more electronic sounds and effects this time around. Despite this minimal change the African inspired rhythms and tempo stand out more. The band’s style seems much more refined this time. I will try to describe what makes this album a departure from the debut and how it manages to stand on its own legs.

The opening track Honchata introduces playful African rhythms mixed with quirky styles intertwined with another. It gives a good indication of the style throughout the album. A strong first track is always a good start along with being an incredible catchy well crafted melody too. The electronic sounds and effects added are very welcoming and cleverly added. This distinct quality we are witnessed to here continues throughout the first half of the album. The songs in between are diverse and different from another which effectively keeps the music interesting. It is very common for bands to resort to using the same sounds, effects, style and opening in most of their tracks. Luckily here things are more varied, playful and interesting. The blend of contemporary styles complimented with afro-beats and classic touches makes this album fresh.

However there are a few setbacks that keeps this album from being a highlight of the year. Despite how original the band is with their style, some songs are easy forgettable and rather unimaginative. Some overdone styles and effects. These songs aren’t terrible by all means ,but very underwhelming and unoriginal in contrast to their incredible counterparts. However it does not get in the way for making this is a good album with some great memorable songs among some “filler”.

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An album review of Headlights recently released Wildlife

October 7, 2009

wildlife

If people aren’t familiar with the band, Headlights is an indie rock band located in Campaign, Illinoise. The band was formed in 2004 after the break up of their previous band by the name Absinthe Blind.

They first released their EP The Enemies in 2004, then followed with a split single with the Canadian band The Most Serene Republic which was how I got to know the band. Their debut album entitled Kill Them With Kindness that came out in 2006 was positively received by critics. However since then the band seem to have been developing their sound and style a bit. I would say they had more shoegaze elements and upbeat tempoed songs, and by the sound of their later album releases the style has gotten a much “softer” and pop oriented sound. Which is not a bad thing as bands who develop their sounds are better those who stick with the same old tired formula.

Here I have taken an interest to review their third album release which is entitled Wildlife, which was just released on 6th of October at Polyvinyl records which is the home to other critic favourites such as Asobi Seksu, Architecture in Helsinki, Of Montreal and Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin. Will this album be their best release yet or be just a shadow of their former well recieved debut album Kill Them With Kindness?

Now to start off with the review! The album starts off with an interesting build although I must say it’s a bit underwhelming at first, but it manages to pick up nicely at the end with some improvisation with electronic guitar sounds that are enjoyable. However right afterwards starts a good example of very generic overdone indie pop melodies, with little challenging and thoughtful tunes other than something than sounds to pass time with. Hurray for generic synthersizer background music!. When you reach the 4th track, it starts picking up and very enjoyable tunes with a personality appear. The song im refering to hear is called Get Going which is a really good pop song, albeit the generic chords the melody still works with its playful and careful additional effects. It is a good improvement compared to the horrible keyboard/synthesizer based songs before it. The pleasant melodies continues right afterwards with Love Song For Buddy a simple piano melody with nice lush vocals and a soothing tempo. Unfortunately it falls a bit short on the next song when the anticipation arrives. The next track is way too similar to many songs they have made before, unfortunately only ending up sounding worse. As I stated in beginning this album really falls into being a mixture of quality that isn’t around steadily despite the promises with a few gems. The songs with acoustic elements tend to be the complimentary songs, which seems like a style they handle well alongside with minimal effects and sounds. An example of this is the track Wiscousin Beaches and previously Get Going.

The most “busiest” melodies in comparison are just forgetable and mindless repetive, the worst offenders and best example of this are the songs Secrets and I Don’t Mind At All. Despite mentioning ealrier some promising tracks, We’re All Animals is truly a song that shines the most through the album. Again proving their excellent skill with crafting pop songs with acoustic references, that are not in high tempo or having many forgettable layers.

Headlights are still a promising indie rock pop band ,but unfortunately their songs end up as an uncomplete package without anything stellar shining through. The album manages still to indicate something pleasant despite its shortcomings with the track choices. ¬†However it falls short if you are to compare it to other releases this year, but keep in mind to appreciate the sound of the band which isn’t something you hear too often even if its not mighty original. It’s truly well crafted when at it’s best. However, let’s hope for a better album next time!

Headlights – Get Going

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