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Album Reviews

animen hi

There’s been a new CD released. It’s an album called Hi! and it’s the debut album of Swiss band The Animen. Despite the fact that the band is from Geneva, thus in the french part of Switzerland, they sing in English. The band stated that they wrote English lyrics because their genre, garage rock, just can’t be sung in French obviously.
Their music is great, when I first heard the LP’s opener Harder Than Stone I thought that the singer’s voice sounds very similar to the voice of one of the Mandio Diao lead singers. It’s not only the lead vocals which remind to the Swedish, their sound is astonishing related to Mando Diao’s. A good omen. Read More

unknown mor

I love New Zealand and that’s the only reason why I had the pleasure to come in touch with Unknown Mortal Orchestra. This band, consisting of singer, guitarist and songwriter Ruban Nielson, bassist Jake Portrait and drummer Riley Geare, could be described as a psychedelic rock group. I am not a keen psychedelic rock listener, I’m a Pink Floyd fan, but I don’t if you can call their late work ‘psychedelic’ at all, to be honest I don’t like the stuff Syd Barrett made. If you come up with lyrics like
I know a mouse and he hasn’t got a house. I don’t know why I call him Gerald
then it’s just too much drugs for me.
Can I say that Jethro Tull made psychedelic rock? Because then I would have another band in my psychedelic rock binder, but I think I don’t have a binder who can play flute and stand on one leg.
But to mention some more and some younger psychedelic bands I think I could come up with MGMT or Tame Impala or even Alvin Zealot. That would be all psychedelic bands I know, shame or not.
But now back to II, Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s second LP. Read More

Yeah. I gave Biffy Clyro’s double-LP Opposites a chance and my verdict is: Nice rock-pop album.
I never became that keen on Biffy Clyro, although they’re Scots, and so I wasn’t that excited when I started listening to Opposites. Some people argue that Biffy aren’t the same as they were earlier in their career, or to say it different: Biffy Clyro only became popular after they left the underground scene and therefore changed their music. I can’t judged on that point, I’m too young for this. But I’m honest and I admit that I have one Biffy Clyro album in my collection, it’s The Vertigo Of Bliss, which is regarded as the last genuine Biffy Clyro LP. But I don’t like it.

Biffy Clyro came up with some good songs. Many Of Horror is probably my favourite. Still my post is about Opposites, so here’s my opinion:
Adorable rock with fast and loud songs and with some more quiet tracks. That’s all.
Ok, there’s one big disadvantage. It’s a double album, why didn’t they thinking first and then releasing a normal album. These 20 songs are too much. At least after the fifteenth song I was bored of the endless guitar riffs and powerful music. For sure, Biffy Clyro is possibly one of the best live bands at the moment but their double album doesn’t satisfy me over all.

I’ve finally transcended my thoughts about reviewing the new Muse album.
But first, I have to admit, that I always liked Muse. I consider “Origin of Symmetry” and “Absolution” as two of the best albums of the last decade. My opinion is, that this unique three-piece created a nice diversity in their musical style. Muse made rock, went into space, copied Radiohead, Matt Bellamy wrote a three-piece symphony, they made – almost – a funk song and they went dubstep eventually. Dubstep played with concrete instruments, important to add.

But I’m aware that Muse isn’t perfect at all. For instance, I was seriously concerned about the mental condition of Matt Bellammy as – after “The Resistance, which was nearly a pop album – “Neutron Star Collision”, the song for the Twilight movies, was released. I was scared, that Muse could turn into something like Coldplay. Selling the same record every three years, simply changing the album’s name. However, Muse went dubstep and they released “The 2nd Law” – and I should finally start with the review.

“The 2nd Law” starts with the bombastic opener “Supremacy”. Lots of massive guitar, heroic percussion, creaky bass, impressive falsetto. So, where’s James Bond. The problem with this song is, that it tries to be too epic and therefore become annoying, but not yet.
The following song is “Madness”. Matt Bellamy stated, that “Madness” is the most personal song he’d ever written. Despite this, I prefer good old “Unintended”. But, I have to add, that this song isn’t bad, I’d say that “Madness” is the most Queen-influenced song on this album. Maybe Brian May wrote the guitar solo.
We’re heading to “Panic Station”. As I first listended to the entire LP, this track was my favourite. It’s a tribute to good old funk, really. Say hello to Stevie Wonder. But at the end, it’s a bit too much with the brass ensemble, the brass loops and this fancy guitar. Hasn’t got much sense, but why should it have?
“The 2nd Law” also contains the track “Survival”. I won’t tell anything about this song, because it was the official tune of the London Olympics and it’s nothing more than a foolish version of the unique “United States Of Eurasia”.
And then, there are some average melodies as “Follow Me”, “Explorers” or “Big Freeze”. They’re worth listening to, but they’re not special. Whereas “Animals” is a real serious rendition. I appreciate how the song starts with this sad organ riff. And then the bass – and the guitar later as well – reflecting this perplexing solitude and helpless sound. Unbelievable affecting. And the thing is, this status remains calm, even if the song is one great crescendo.
And I’m once again attired in Belammy’s lyrics. He requests brokers to commit suicide, he talks about the end of planet earth and that we have to fuse Helium-3 or that our supremacy is definitely overdue.
After these Bellamy lyrics, two songs by Chris Wolstenholme are put. “Save Me” and “Liquid State” are the two first songs on which the bassist is singing lead vocals. These two songs treat the alcohol problem Wolstenholme had in the past. So he wrote “Save Me”, which is a pop-rock song and reminds me a bit of christmas, and hard-rock influenced “Liquid State”, a very dreary song with a dramatic bassline.
However, “The 2nd Law” closes with “The 2nd Law: Unsustainable” and “The 2nd Law: Isolated System”. Both songs embracem – what a surprise – the 2nd Law Of Thermodynamics.
Nice finish. Nice album, far from their best, but neither close to “The Resistance”.

I don’t want to rate “The 2nd Law”. But I’d give 8/10.

It needed some time, until Jolly and The Flytrap were able to realise a new LP. The last album by the eight-piece from Engelberg “Electric Polka” was released in 2004. The Jollys have reached that they’re now the most legendary band in their region. That’s because of the state that they haven’t got the time to play many gigs or to record music. The band members have spread out into every corner of the country, that makes it diffiult to meet. Nevertheless, since over 25 years Jolly and The Flytrap distribute good mood all over the places they’re going to.

“Linger On Mazurka” is collocation of ten songs, whereof eight are new recordings. The songs “Electric Polka” and “Merry Go Round And Round” appeared already on the single “Electric Polka”, back in 2008.
The new LP contains the typical and unique Jolly and The Flytrap Sound, wherefore not everybody is into this record. Not even the musicians themselves can rank their music into a specific genre. For the most part, their music is characterised as electric polka, or, how in this case, mazurka. And a comparison to Manu Chao is often been taken.
The songs of the new album cover a great variety. For example “Electric Polka” is a very fast song, which tells about the barbarous lifes of the sailors. But many songs refer in a way to Manu Chao, for instance “Vico Masacote”, “Merry Go Round And Round” or “Cielo Abierto”. Of course the quiet songs aren’t missing. “Glória” or “Dream Life” are that slow and dramatic, that they seem to stand still. As a speciality, the accordion is plenty used, as in the polka – or is it now a mazurka – “Heppa Mazurka”. Sounds wonderful.
In my humble opinion, the bass plays many sophisticated lines during the LP. Especially with “Linger On”, there’s a song wich uses the bass extremly distinctive and helps to create this nice record.

Finally, to say it with the french recipe “Canard Pressé”: Willst du etwas essen, musst du es erpressen.*

* If you want to eat something, you have to blackmail it.