Album Reviews – 17/8/09
Thrice / Beggars / Vagrant
When we anticipate a summer blockbuster, we tend to over analyze as soon as our senses are given flight to what we have been waiting for. Beggars incarcerates expectations and delivers. Pinpricked with inhuman chemistry, explosive melodies and a definition of the word “creativity”, singer/guitarist Dustin Kensrue and his counterparts are 2009′s musical saviour. The sixth album of their careers doesn’t revolve around commercialism; instead it feeds off four musical talents that recently intertwined through soundwaves and spiritual connections. When Thrice ignites, they do so in a sophisticated and raw fashion (“The Weight”, “Talking Through Glass/We Move Like Swing Sets”). When they light a fire in the darkest shadow, they channel Radiohead and sing in heartfelt colours (“Circles”, “Wood And Wire”). Such statements may be bold and brave, but they’re a perfect match for a record lacking flaws. Beggars is a work of art that doesn’t need a rating, review or critics, but just a pair of headphones.
Download: “Take your money and go buy this album”
As Tall As Lions / You Can’t Take It With You / Triple Crown Records
There are bands that draw too heavily from their influences and others that set the standard with their own unique touch. As Tall As Lions are the latter. Three years since they left the studio with a record in hand, the Long Island quartet have introduced You Can’t Take It With You, a collection of magical yet haunting numbers built from bare bones and unique skin. Unlike the adolescent noise that’s circling the atmosphere these days, the band’s third album is a breath of fresh oxygen. The combination of sincere croons and deliciously imaginative rhythms may seem unusual (which could hinder the record’s lasting impression), but its somewhat appetizing. Such daring ventures into the formation of music can only make you wonder what another three years would do to As Tall As Lions.
Download: “Sixes & Sevens”, “The Narrow”
Brendan Benson / My Old, Familiar Friend / ATO Records
More recognized for his work as part of The Raconteurs, Brendan Benson’s fourth studio album is an adventure into American rock. Like any of his previous works, My Old, Familiar Friend is full of potent songwriting and honest lyrics. But what separates this release from the others is Benson’s range in music as at moments he’s edgy (“A Whole Lot Better”), charismatic (“Feel Like Taking You Home”) and even tapping into his Beach Boys conscience (“Garbage Day”). Such talent may seem like a bit too much to the average listener, but it’s enough to entice one to give the record another listen or two because of it’s charm.
Download: “Garbage Day”, “You Make A Fool Out Of Me”