Twelve Track Review #2

Childhood – Solemn Skies

It’s quite nineties this track, but I like it. The vocals have a sort of lazy Morrissey lilt during the verse. During the chorus, the vocals straighten out a bit to hammer home the melody.  The track is slathered thick with reverb, which gives it a big old sound – akin to the Stone Roses, but with a harder edge.

Devil – Jstar

What fun. This sounds a bit like a modern take on the Specials, with sultry female pipes and computer game sound effects. I really like this – the off beat drum track is a welcome blast-from-the-past, the fx works seamlessly and the horns sing out. Towards the end of the track, the vocalist really goes for it – nice.

King Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds – Haunted Head

I love the way the drums have been recorded on this – they sound so live and rough – in an Ethan Johns kind of way. The guitar part that plays throughout has the same poise as something from the Shadows, but it’s darker and a little grungey. The vocals is recorded in two levels – one spoken, one sang – and overdubbed. Quite a nice effect, but in this instance I don’t think it works too well. Nice enough.

Melt yourself down – Kingdom of Kush

Party time! This track starts off with ska trumpet, complete with samba style beats etc.
Indie bass kicks in around 27 seconds in, along with some short screams from the vocalist. We hear some nice trumpet harmonies around 2.45 and it ends beautifully – sort of self-deconstructing and consciously falling apart.

Polica – Tiff (feat. Justin Vernon)

There’s some really fine synth sounds in this track. The whole thing is paced nicely – it’s almost relaxing. Everything on this track is heavily effected but it’s far from sounding artificial. A Portishead for the next generation I suppose. And with attitude to match.

Bass Drum of Death – 3 Shattered me

I’m not sure whether ‘3’ is the track number, or whether it’s called ‘3 Shattered me’. The track itself is ace. Sort of underground garage rock – with driving powerchords, impressive drums and commanding vocals. At 2 mins 16 seconds long, it’s all over too quickly – look forward to hearing the album.

Charlie Boyer & The Voyeurs – You haven’t got a chance 

Nice vintage sounds on this track – a sort of clash between modern indie and 70s NYC pop. There’s some great pop organ during the chorus, and a short laddering guitar solo around 1.45. The drumming is consciously loose, which is nice, but overall the track doesn’t feel like anything new. Would be good to hear what else they’re up to.

CocoRosie – After the Afterlife

The first 3 seconds sound like the start of a hardcore electronica track, but we then have 30 seconds of piano and ethereal female vocals – before we go into a mishmash of synth, piano, drum loops and vocals. It’s all a bit too all-over-the-place for me, but there are some nice ideas in there. Plus, every so often you hear a whale noise in the background. I don’t think I’ve heard traditional piano singer/songwriter sounds mixed with synth and vocal effects like this before – which is interesting.

Golden Fable – Crossfire (alt version)

Light, airy, solo chorister style vocals fill this track. It’s nicely arranged, highlights including a delicate drum track (played with brushes) and pretty piano. It’s sort of baroque pop – and there are dashes of Kate Bush and Regina Spektor in there, which is no bad thing.

Lust For Youth – Barcelona

Pulsing synth at the start, and spoken word snippets are sewn throughout. It’s all a bit of a mess for the first minute or so – until the drum track lifts up in the mix and drags it all into line. Even then, it’s a bit too ‘Jez’ from Peep Show for me. “Does it fit into the Big Beat Manifesto Superhands?” Bit off the mark for me I’m afraid.

Maps – AMA

Effected drums, synth, electronic piano and cool slow vocals. I like this track – it’s got a solid chorus and it’s mixed beautifully. It starts to bring it down about half way through, but the volume kicks back in just after 3 minutes and it takes off again. The only issue I have with it, really, is that the synth sound is a little early 90s Ibiza in parts. But other than that, nice track.

The Wytches – Beehive Queen

Really great. Old style indie rock, that sounds like it’s played in a echo chamber. The drums are tight, and the tempo changes two or so times in the track with ease. The vocals are kind of screechy, but in a really good way, and the melody is catchy. Nice. Good one to finish this fortnight’s review.

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