Twelve Track Review #5

Anna Von Hasswolff – Mountains Crave

Orchestral flutes start this round off, courtesy of Anna Von Hasswolff. It’s not long before the drum track clicks and claps its way in though, and musical theatre style vocals kick in.
The track is relaxed in pace, and doesn’t develop past the initial chord structure. It feels a bit filler to me, but has some nice organ sounds at the end.

Grass House – And Now for the wild?

The hi-hat tap in at the start of this track sounds a little like AC/DC Back and Black and I was half expecting Angus Young’s crunchy guitar to start eight beats in. Instead, mellow guitar arpeggios its way in, with some low moody male vocals jumping on top. It’s nice, but there’s very little energy and you want them to give it some.
The rhythm section joins and the track begins to build. And build. And build. Here we go, you think. It’s going to kick off. Alas, it never comes. This track seems to be one long limp crescendo, never quite hitting the level you want it to.

Teleman – Steam Train Girl

Catchy guitar riff at the start, with a clipped snare entering about 20 seconds in. Teleman sounds like it’s straight from the late eighties. They write a catchy melody and it sounds well put together, although I think they could have added a little more bass into the mix. It’s light and inoffensive – I can’t imagine they’ll be drawing huge crowds to gigs, but it’s nice enough.

The Icarus Line – Marathon Man

Hello – this is more like it. Distorted guitars a la Muse and some tasty vocals dancing on top of a tight rhythm section. There seems to be a run of bands using ‘Icarus’ in lyrics and names – which is getting a little boring, but this track is anything but. Around 4.30 you think it’s finished, until the bass guitar starts up again and soon it’s in full flow with a whammy guitar solo and screams and shouts from the vocalist. Nice.

Snow Ghosts – Secret Garden

Heavy organ to start on this one. There’s a slight discord, but it works. A sharp and sultry drum loop slots perfectly with ethereal vocals, bouncing together against the drone of the keys. It’s a strong melody – fresh and interesting. It slots into straighter pop around 2.20, but it’s equally absorbing. This is really lovely. It deconstructs itself in the last minute and all we’re left with to see us out is deep and dark organ. Great.

Cunety Sepetci & Orchestra Dolapdere – Bahriye Ciftellisi

Hugely impressive turkish gypsy music here. The string instrument at 2.15 is played masterfully, and the percussion is fast and tight. It’s almost hard to comment upon because I know so little about this style of music and have almost no basis for comparison, but it seems technically brilliant and will probably come in useful at some point.

Daughn Gibson – The Sound of Law

This is great. Americana and roots sampled and set to drum loops. The vocals are part Willy Mason, part Nick Cave – deep and lazy. There’s a great percussion layer and a huge slide guitar solo around 2.10 in. Lucky for me, this is album of the month at Rough Trade this week so I’ll be listening to more Daughn very soon.

Earth Dies Burning – Another Six Year Old

Not such a fan of this one I’m afraid. It’s loose and tinny, with a horrible Ross Geller keyboard solo part. The vocals are pretty intense, which I actually quite like, and it’s recorded in a way that they sound like a film dialogue sample. Not so good.

Ensemble Economique – We Come Spinning out of control

This almost sounds like Vangelis – a big electronic score with plenty of reverb. It’s very synth heavy. Breathy vocals enter about 1.50 – but the track is so atmospheric already that I’m not even sure they’re needed. If you make it through the first 5 minutes or so – it gets a bit dark and moody, which sounds pretty cool. Not a big hitter, but nice enough.

Femme – Educated

Strong girl pop, with hip-hop drums, beat-box SFX and synth backing. The vocals are fairly standard pop fare, and you can imagine people taking to this track quite easily. It’s got attitude. It’s a bit Lily Allen, but between you and I, I’m okay with that.

GoldFinch – For the F

If you make it through the first 20 seconds or so, this is a solid electronic track with interesting samples and heavy bass. I think it borrows heavily from Basement Jaxx’s Dracula – no bad thing. There’s a well placed clap snare within the mix that keeps the whole thing together and some brilliant low frequencies to rock your gut. Very nice.

The Strypes – Hometown Girls

Here we go – some crunchy indie with swagger and energy in equal measure. It’s a little Datsuns-esque, but with a bluesy twist. It’s high octane, loose and oh so listenable. There’s a brilliant guitar solo about 1.50 in – with the bassist firing up a speedy rolling bass walk to make sure it really kicks you in the gut. Very nice.

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