Album Reviews – 24/5/10

Stone Temple Pilots / Stone Temple Pilots / Atlantic

Almost a decade ago we saw Stone Temple Pilots bathe themselves in stripped-down grunge and pop rock. Now with their self-titled release, the group that tore through the 90s’ has changed their scent, going for a smell that’s a little Tom Petty, Aerosmith and even Oasis in some instances. To say it’s disturbing to the ear is untrue. Kicking and screaming with the fuzz-flashy “Between The Lines” and drifting into the oddly romantic “Dare If You Dare”, it’s obvious Weiland has not lost his touch with the mic and neither have his colleagues with their respective instruments.

Is the glowing talent enough to make the album groundbreaking? Not really since a few tracks belong in an updated version of the retro video game Road Rash. But nonetheless, it’s satisfying enough to see Stone Temple Pilots walk off into the sunset.

Download: “Between The Lines”, “Huckleberry Crumble”


The National / High Violet / 4AD

Everyone hits a low point in their life. High Violet is The National’s venture into the shadows we all refrain from. If you skin the New York quintet’s fifth studio album, you will find indie rock compositions uncomfortable with themselves and Matt Berninger’s howl reminiscent of a wounded animal flailing in despair. The sound of it all seems tragic, but in that weird musical way, it’s breathtaking. Each heartfelt proclamation and melancholic yet romantic tone takes your ears and helps you visualize each note and lyric, beckoning you to sing along. High Violet may be hard for some to make a bed continually or at first glance, but it’s a companion for those nights when even the stars reject you.

Download: “Anyone’s Ghost”, “Afraid Of Everyone”


Good Old War / Good Old War / Sargent House

When Good Old War erupted with Only Way To Be Alone, they introduced a type of indie folk that was sad but settling. Their self-titled follow-up doesn’t exactly impress or disappoint. The artistic harmonies wrapped in singer Keith Goodwin’s vocal charm still light a childish fire in one’s eyes, but in a more creative way with improved songwriting and instrumentation. Tracks like “My Own Sinking Ship” and “Get Some” won’t appeal to Jack Johnson addicts, but they show truth to why Good Old War should release new material every summer.

Download: “My Own Sinking Ship”, “That’s Some Dream”


Band Of Horses / Infinite Arms / Columbia

There’s twang, but it’s no country. The third release from the South Carolina outfit Band Of Horses mirrors acts like Kings Of Leon, but is a traveler who’s grown fond of serenading friends in his backyard. He mimics Neil Young’s youthful voice, trades in dreamy folk (“Trudy”, “Way Back Home”) for fuzz trance-r0ck (“Laredo”) from time to time and is extremely AM-friendly. Infinite Arms may sound like the secretive old veteran who adores the comfort of his front porch, but he’s a young wilderness man with an ache in his heart only his voice and his guitar can explain.

Download: “Laredo”, “Factory”


Marina And The Diamonds / The Family Jewels / 679

The Brits keep unleashing odd frontwoman onto the world and like Marina Diamandis, they’re extremely talented. The Family Jewels is bursting at the seams with eccentric beats questioning what decade it is but it’s the group’s honest ringleader that assists in building the one of a kind sound invested in each of the record’s 13 tracks. Of Welsh and Greek descent, Diamandis is bold and inventive lyrically and musically. The earnest and quirky single “I Am Not A Robot” is a delight, but there’s more to be found with the poetic piano work “Obsessions” and “Girls” that’s the copacetic lovechild of Muse and Lady Gaga.

Download: “Obsessions”, “I Am Not A Robot”

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