LADYGUNN REVIEWS: SEPTEMBER ALBUM RELEASES
A quick preview of five album releases in September 2013 that you need to hear!
reviews by / LOGAN BRENDT
GOLDFRAPP / TALES OF US
release date: September 9, 2013
Like a modern day fairy tale for adults, Goldfrapp’s sixth album Tales of Us unfolds along tracks which, except for one that’s entitled “Stranger”, are named in the first person. The album hypnotizes and enchants from the emergence of the opening and minimal “Jo” that emphasizes singer Alison Goldfrapp’s timeless vocals and continues to reveal the band’s best and highly evolved work. Their lovelorn and orchestral single, “Drew”, haunts with its acoustic guitar arpeggios and accented timpani, and “Thea” picks up the dance elements that they’ve always been better known for. While it may seem like the band has gone through quite a metamorphosis from their past and popular melodies, delve further and you’ll realize that Goldfrapp’s power always resided in their tranquil and stripped down efforts. Tales of Us is unquestionably perfection.
BLOUSE / IMPERIUM
release date: September 17, 2013
Imperium, the sophomore album by Portland trio Blouse is a high-spirited but hazy sweep. Sounding like Gala era Lush with its sweet multi-tracked female vocals, there’s also a nice dose of Sonic Youth at its punkiest beside a vibe that partially recalls fellow Portland legends The Dandy Warhols. Showcasing an underlying 60’s laid-back psychedelic folk energy on a song like “In A Glass”, the guitar work is also impressive and tastefully noisy yet minimalistic on “A Feeling Like This”. The band’s strongest point is their bass lines which work well with heavily phased, flanged and chorused guitars. If you long for a blissfully moody and narcotic end of summer afternoon, Blouse delivers the goods.
THE NAKED AND FAMOUS / IN ROLLING WAVES
release date: September 17, 2013
The Naked and Famous is back with their sophomore album, In Rolling Waves, and it has a musical palette that oscillates between simple melody lines reminiscent of The Cure and the slow tempo soundscapes of The Verve’s A Storm in Heaven. The greatest accomplishment from The Naked and Famous is the ability to master a crescendo. Often times a very quiet intro is gradually developed into an explosive climax, providing for an interesting sexual metaphor. Things get magical on “I Kill Giants” with the bursting synths and layered vocals, and stirring on “We Are Leaving”. Overall, there is a lot of otherworldly ear candy to keep things groovy and stimulating, but In Rolling Waves is an album that does require a level of commitment and attention to subtleties.
OH LAND / WISH BONE
release date: September 24, 2013
Danish songstress Nanna Øland Fabricius, who’s best known as Oh Land, is the ultimate Renaissance girl on her third album Wish Bone. The former ballet dancer, now singer-songwriter and producer proves the point on her single “Renaissance Girls”, providing a brilliant lyrical message of female empowerment in a melodic pop tune. The album fluctuates between these super radio friendly pop gems and fully realized and partially abrasive artscape electronica, but nothing seems out of place even with digressions into quirky hip-hop territory. Highlights include the potential chart topper “Cherry on Top”, sexy tracks like “Pyromaniac”, “Kill My Darling”, and “Next Summer” which is a dramatic, almost Bond-esque anthem.
HAIM / DAYS ARE GONE
release date: September 30, 2013
The highly anticipated debut album, Days Are Gone, by Los Angeles buzz band Haim hits the mark. Comprised of three sisters and a whole lot of attitude, their vocals harmonize well in a blend of indie rock, R&B and highly danceable beats. Their single, “The Wire”, has immediate and obvious comparisons to “Heartache Tonight” by The Eagles, while “Forever” has a late eighties dynamic in the choppy vocal delivery which recalls both Scritti Politti’s “Perfect Way” and “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You” by Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine. “Falling” even summons similarities to the king of pop, Michael Jackson. Overall, Haim prove that they’ve got the musical chops, and their love and influences of many genres have collided into an interesting collage of unexpected sound.