Tuesday, 18 September 2012

The XX - Coexist (4.0/10)

Lets get this right out of the way, the self titled album, yeah I didn't like that (aside from a few choice moments) I thought the album was several levels of bland and had nothing in the way of sincerity or even likeability as this very stylised and constructed image that swamped the band from the get go tried to cover up quite shallow and insubstantial music. 'Coexist' seems to only continue in this trend as it seems to strip what little character the was to be found on the debut entirely leaving a collection of very minimal and broody songs that have that fake emotional whimper slapped all over it. I understand why they're popular and even had a few awards thrown their way but this album just amplifies all of the XX's weaker moments and makes a whole album out of them. The songs are mostly forgettable with a few moments occasionally shining through, the synth sound on 'Try' is really hypnotic for example, but it's thrown in between incredibly contrived, uninspired and incredibly flat verses & this is par for the course on this album. Aside from some interesting pieces of production from Jamie XX this  album is coffee table music in the worst sense of the word, it's just very bland & the sort of thing people in middle management would throw on if they're feeling conservative.

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Thursday, 6 September 2012

Menomena - Moms (8.2/10)

Menomena are one of my favourite bands & have been for quite some time, their mix of experimental and traditional indie rock has always drawn me in, & when they announced the band would be losing long time member Knopf so he could focus on his other band 'Ramona Falls' I grew a bit worried as some of his contributions where my favourite. Luckily for me 'Moms' doesn't sound like a band in disarray at all & in fact feels even more reassured and better put together then previous release 'Mines' which was a pretty great album but didn't quite tickle me in the same way the magnificent 'Friend & Foe' did. This album starts off incredibly strong with 'Plumage' & 'Capsule' being incredibly ear catching with bold, memorable & loud melodies being thrown at you from the word go. 'Capsule' also given time to breathe with an incredibly nice and sombre ending which shows Menomena's gift in being able to take what sounds like a predictable pop song into an entirely new direction as if it comes second nature. 'Pique' is the track that follows & this maybe the highlight for me with it's quite sombre build and brilliant vocal harmonies playing a particually ear catching drum beat and a fantastic ear catching chorus and some brilliant uses of horns, it's busy but incredibly pleasing to the ear, it's one of the most fully realised songs Menomena have put out to date. 'Heavy Is As Heavy Does' is an album with quite frankly stunning progression which Menomena have shown signs of before but never so clearly & it's ball grippingly brilliant. Both approachable and off the wall experimental,  'Moms' is an album full of all the highs of Friends And Foe but it's also an album that feels a lot more consistent, complete & accomplished. Menomenas strongest experimental and conventional song writing is to be found here and it's a great marriage. 

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