Thursday, February 15, 2007

New Album Roundup

It’s been a little less than two months since I posted
my most anticipated albums of early 2007 and I’ve
gotten quite a few already with a lot more
forthcoming. Some early thoughts:

The Arcade FireNeon Bible

A few tracks are reminiscent of the best Funeral
had to offer, but with a double dose of layering and
crazy time changes. Notably, “The Well and The
Lighthouse” shines like a wonderful beacon in a murky
sea. The country-themed-anthem “(Antichrist Television
Blues)” is a great, memorable, song, although the
sudden ending is a surprising choice for such a
nuanced band. The subtle “Oceans of Noise” is

Arcade Fire aren’t in the business of wild
experimentation or plunging brand new depths of sound.
Funeral was amazing because it seemed to be a
culmination of years of indie rock from a wide
spectrum of artist. Neon Bible is a worthy sequel, but
may not surpass its predecessor. Then again, I’ve only
had it less than a week.

Bloc Party – A Weekend in the City

This album has some moments of utter brilliance, but
overall, it’s not as loaded with new ideas and new
directions as the sublime Silent Alarm. A lot of
complaints around the web are focused on the
production which seems to be very pop-friendly with
waves of screeching guitars underlying wild choruses.
I agree. Another major attraction of the debut was the
assured production stylings that made such brilliant
songs like “Banquet” possible. This album doesn’t
reach for these heights, but is satisfied with calmer

I think Bloc Party need to decide what kind of band
they want to be. Are they an indie rock band, always
experimenting and striving for new heights? Or are
they simply a brit-pop band more interested in radio
airplay than pushing boundaries? This album reflects
that indecision and suffers for it.

On the plus side, though, Bloc Party has released a
bevy of B-sides in the last month, a few of which are
definitely of the more experimental tinge than a lot
of the album tracks. So, there’s still hope!

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Some Loud Thunder

This is definitely going to be the most controversial
album of the year. The first track alone has sparked
loads of talk on the blogs and the music sites. It’s
the title track, which I first heard at their
Langerado performance and fell in love with on a
recording from French radio. It’s a sweet, simple,
song. On the album, though, they decided to up the
volume on the vocals past a, well, listenable
clipping, so that it comes out muffled, crunchy, and
thundery. It’s a strange decision. It definitely puts
you off the first time you listen to it. After a
while, though, it starts to grow on you (reminds me of
Alec Ounsworth’s voice) and the beauty of the song
shines through.

Other tracks have a boozy, drugged-out, rhythm that
feels very Clap Your Hands. The band sound more like
what they sound like live than the surprisingly clean
production on their debut. The choices they make are
extremely daring (far from the pop-friendly Bloc
Party) and they don’t always succeed. But there are
moments when the guitars flare up and the vocals chug
along and the drums echo and it’s truly an amazing,
original, sound. I look forward to more time spent
with this album.

Still waiting on new albums by Earlimart, Air, and The Shout-Out Louds.


Ashley said...

My pics for 2007 include:

The Klaxons-They remind me of the dance punk explosion that happened a few years ago with bands like the Faint, the Rapture and the OutHud. If you still have a pair of glow sticks lying around (perhaps in the freezer?) you should dust them off and check out their tour. They just announced a bunch of dates on their site:

the Poison Arrows - Their new EP 'Straight into the Drift' is coming out March 20 ('07). The band features Justin Sinkovich from Atombombpocketknife. or for a gander and/or listen

Elad said...

thanks for the suggestions, ashley. i will check out these bands and report back.