Album Reviews – 19/10/09
The Flaming Lips / Embryonic / Warner
What has life been like for the hallucinogenically inclined music lovers out there, forced to repeatedly listen to Atom Heart Mother, Dark Side Of The Moon, or Deloused in The Comatorium when they want to have a nice old-fashioned cosmic freakout? Well, okay maybe with a selection like that it hasn’t been too hard on them, but thanks to Wayne Coyne and The Flaming Lips, another album can now be added to that rotation in the form of their most recent creation, Embryonic . Not only is this bizarre construction a concept album, but, coming in at over an hour in length, it’s also a double album. Reoccurring themes of paranoia, Astrology and the apocalypse blend into one and are reflected not just in Coyne’s poetry, but also through ominous bass lines and frenetic guitar work. The whole contraption buzzes and lurches in intimidating fits and starts, like a spaceship you’re not entirely convinced will make it to its destination, but Embryonic is definitely worth the ride.
Download: “Convinced of the Hex”, “Worm Mountain (feat. MGMT)”
Elias / Lasting Distraction / Self-Released
Lasting Distraction is the debut full-length album by Vancouver rock trio Elias. Haunting keyboards, punchy drums and reverb-heavy guitar accompany moody yet determined singing similar to that heard in songs by Circa Survive or The Cooper Temple Clause. Singer Brian Healy’s noteworthy vocals are carefully shaped into the centerpieces of most songs – songs that can, as in the cases of “All We Want” and “Dropouts,” grow and swell into some memorable anthems. It’s not fair to call the album top-heavy as there are great tracks spread throughout (the album-closing “I Hear Drums,” for example) – but instead of sounding like an Elias album all the way through, some cuts off Lasting Distraction could get mistaken as old Coldplay or Muse b-sides. Here’s to hoping that as they make their way across the country in promoting their debut the group is able to shrug off some of their influences so future releases come out sounding purely Elias.
Download: “Lasting Distraction”, “All We Want”
Michael Bublé / Crazy Love / Warner
Multi-million record selling Canadian pop and jazz singer Michael Bublé’s new album Crazy Love was recently released to much fan fare including live performances on The Today Show and Oprah – you know, just normal things you’d expect from someone who’s already got more than a few number ones under their belt. “Haven’t Met You Yet” – one of two Bublé originals on the album – is the song he performed on those shows, and even though it’s straight up adult contemporary pop, the charm and charisma the singer packs into the can’t-miss single is hard not to enjoy. Most of the rest of the album, besides the smooth ballad “Hold On”, is made up of old standards of the crooner era like “Georgia On My Mind” and “Cry Me A River” (no, not the JT song). The singer’s poppy Bublé-gum versions of these songs make for easy listening, and those are just the types of radio stations you can expect to hear them on, but they don’t always live up to the soul of the classic versions.
Download: “Haven’t Met You Yet”
Taking Back Sunday / Live From Bamboozle ’09 / Warner
Anyone who saw Taking Back Sunday touring this summer for their last album, New Again can attest to the fact that the band’s front man Adam Lazzara, who struts around on stage like Brit comedian Russell Brand and handles the microphone like an Olympian gymnast putting on the floor exercise of his life, can put on a quite a show. Their latest release, recorded during their set at this year’s New Jersey Bamboozle festival, captures audibly what all their devotees have already witnessed first hand. A liberal balance of tracks from each full length and Lazzara’s between song banter make the compilation worth checking out for fans.
Download: “Carpathia (Live)”, “Cute Without The ‘E’ (Cut From The Team) [Live]”
The Temper Trap / Conditions / Universal
Australia’s The Temper Trap have some conditions on the release of their new album Conditions (see what I did there?); First, all guitars must be spacey and atmospheric. Second, all singles must be equal parts new Kings of Leon and Maroon 5. Third, songs from the album must appear in films like “(500) Days Of Summer” and television shows like Greek. Finally, the song “Fader” must completely rip off the guitar riff from the theme song to Law And Order. Those are their conditions.
Download: “Sweet Disposition”