I ‘m sure I ‘ve gone through this before, but just so you know, a ‘first listen review ‘ is what it says on the tin. Each of the reviews that follow are based on first impressions from a single listen (or attempt to listen). That way you don ‘t get me waffling on for ages and, I find, you get a more honest appraisal of the record. It also gives me the opportunity to gush forth praise or call something crap and then change my mind moths later after giving it a proper listen (or being told it ‘s good by someone much cooler than me).
Anyway, straight onto business and stroll through the new releases that I ‘ve picked up this week and a couple of albums that I probably should have listened to at the time, but I had my head up my backside.
Delphic – Acolyte, I suppose eagerly waited is the phrase. Delphic are hotly tipped by many, including our resident ligger, to be big in 2010 and you can sort of see why. It is, after all, 20 years since the indie-dance explosion and it ‘s got to be time for a revival. I know that nothing is ever quite as good the second time around, but I reckon that this time it ‘s partly Delphic ‘s fault.
Acolyte does ‘blissed-out ‘ quite well but misses out on the ‘spaced out ‘ feel that was prevalent in the late 80s and it ‘s all of a rush to get somewhere rather than kicking back and having a minute. As a result, instead of crying out to be loved it, all too often, screams to be the soundtrack to a short video montage about successful Children in Need projects featuring Gary Barlow, Chris Moyles and Fern F***ing Cotton.
That ‘s not to say this is a bad record, it has it ‘s moments and is promising as a debut and definitely worth a listen, but comparisons to New Order only really stand up for people who ‘ve heard about New Order but haven’t really heard them. I ‘ve no doubt that Delphic will hit big in 2010, well if Big Pink can manage it, but ‘next big thing ‘? Not quite, not yet anyway.
Vampire Weekend – Contra, if you ‘re already a fan, look away now. If you don ‘t know who Vampire Weekend are then you ‘re wrong. Their 2008 single ‘A-punk ‘ was everywhere, you ‘ve heard it, probably thought it was quite good, but that ‘s the high point. Vampire Weekend are smug, American, indie and count chamber music and African guitar sounds amongst their influences. They write songs about punctuation and architecture and if not of that makes you think that they ‘re probably all a bit too clever for themselves then you deserve each other, have fun.
Their self named debut wore its influences on its sleeve and was probably a bit of a marmite moment. I used to go and brew up when John Peel went all ‘world music ‘ so it ‘s probably not a surprise that I didn ‘t like it. Contra is a little less obvious in that regard, but it doesn ‘t make it a better record, in a presumed attempt to move forward, the band have lost a good chunk of their identity leaving them with a fair dose of smugness and, well… not much else really.
Ok Go – Of the Blue Colour Of the Sky, another “who?” moment? Well if you don ‘t know Ok Go by name, then you ‘ll know them as “that band with the video on the running machines“. All very clever and nice to look at but the music isn ‘t quite as sharp, at least not on this album. The music scene is always on the look out for something genre-defying or hard to pin down and Ok Go manage that, not by having their own unique sound but by changing tack on every other song and so “Of the Colour of The Blue Sky” takes you from average American college rock to average American indie via early 90s Prince B-sides.
Sound messy, well it is a bit and whilst I dare say that there are a few songs here that will stand up to solo scrutiny they don ‘t really gel together as an album. I dare say you ‘ll be hearing more from them, but possibly only if they continue with the eye-catching videos, MTV killing good music? Never!
Adam Green – Minor Love. I liked Adam Green the first time that I saw him caustically tearing Jessica Simpson a new reality TV show but then I listened more and decided that if, after three albums, you can ‘t quite work out if you ‘re listening to some kind of novelty folk or serious social commentary then it ‘s about time to give up. There ‘s no harm in the world looking for a new Lou Reed, but when all the candidate can manage is a ‘controversial’ reworking of “New York Telephone Conversation” then he ‘s not really a candidate.
To be honest, I managed two songs on this album before I decided it was more of the same so there may be some gems hidden further in, but I doubt it.
The XX – The XX. I think I ‘ve pointed out somewhere that 2009 was a bit of a barren period for me musically and I ‘m currently in the process of catching up. On this evidence it appears that 2009 spent a good proportion of its musical year gazing at its shoes through a floppy fringe. A worthy pastime in itself, but when combined with an attempt to reconstruct New Order ‘s ‘Eligia ‘ from different parts then you ‘re only going to get brownie points from me.
In equal parts sparse and sparkly, ‘XX ‘ is like disco for shoe-gazers proven by a cover of Womack and Womack ‘s ‘Teardrops ‘ that ‘s probably from Radio 1 ‘s live lounge and on that count I probably should hate, but I don ‘t. XX is definitely my favourite of this bunch, but maybe not to everyone ‘s taste, but not everyone can be as impeccable as I am anyway.
That ‘s your lot for this week, and in summary, if you haven ‘t already, get The XX, listen to Delphic and Ok Go and forget the rest. If you don ‘t agree with any of the above, speak up and don ‘t be shy, but you ‘ll definitely be wrong: [big smiley face thing].
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