Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Bombay Bicycle Club - I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose

When writing about something it is important, maybe vital, that you read around the subject in order to have a full understanding of what you're talking about - or blag it. So when i clicked on Bombay Bicycle Club (BBC)'s "About" section on their website, and found out they hadn't written anything, the only option i had left was to blag it. Yes, actually use my brain to string a few intellectual sentences together by myself. I can do this, I'm a big boy now.

If you're even just mildly interested in new music you would have undoubtedly heard about BBC for a while now even though this is their debut album - they've released a few singles here and there. This is mainly due to the fact they have only just finished school. Then, they faced the difficult choice between studying Geography in-depth, or becoming world wide superstars. Maybe. Its a toughy, and as much as rocks can sometimes consume me with excitement i would possibly have to side with the "rockers".

Enough small talk, lets take this further. The Album. In a nutshell its pretty darn good. The opener "emergency contraception blues" - obviously about how music from the Deep South can be used as a suitable method of preventing pregnancy - is a fantastic way to start the album and as it builds you can sense the atmosphere that would continue throughout. It is predominantly guitar based but does not really fit into any label safely. What i found is that often the songs would take a completely different direction after a couple of minutes and then come back to the original variation when they got bored, or tired perhaps. This also compliments the fact there are no set "guitar solos" with often the whole band going-off-on-one.

Because it is all quite different, following no set pattern, the songs have a tendency to blur into each other making one of the best points of their music, actually their possible downfall. Because of its unpredictability, occasionally it is hard to grasp which song you are actually listening to! Instead of recognising lyrics, you recognise guitar riffs and hum along to those rather than the lyrical melody. In this sense the guitar riffs become an essential part of their songwriting and just as important as the melody.

'Evening/Morning' provides a bassline 'solo' that even Muse would be pleased with. Again the style changes half-way through and provides that difficult what-song-is-this-again? feel that I'm not sure if I completely enjoy. Ahh unpredictability - who'd have thought it? Overall, the vocals are strong and the atmospheric sounds could be compared to the noises Joy Divion/British Sea Power/Editors have been making/made over the years.

Just one problem.
I'm a little bit bored with it. Possibly hypocritical after stating how varied the sounds are, its a hard one to define, i need a catchy melody. Because the songs tend to 'tart about a bit' it never really reaches a climax, they almost sound like over-produced demos. On a more positive note: the drummer has an amazing name: "Suren de Saram". He's not too shabby at drums either, but don't let that distract you from his name now. Back to the music. Damn i wish they all had cool names, would lighten this up a tad.

"The Hill" is the most striking song on the album and delivers a fantastic catchy chorus. Ah. That little adjective. "Catchy". They need to take that word and spread it all over there work with a metaphorical butter knife.

It's not going to be a massive success, it didn't chart brilliantly, nor have the singles made any impact on the charts - but when have indie bands taken notice of that? When their monthly phone bill comes round, thats when. Point being, they could have done with a hit. Considering the build up to this. But its a good solid start, and with a bit of development could become an important band before too long. A good guitar album.


Top Three Tracks:

1. The Hill
2. Cancel On Me
3. Ghost

Sunday, 11 October 2009


teeny tiny update folks.
good week all round, letter published in NME, I'm claiming moral high ground here, and blog mentioned on radio. I am now the single most publicized teenager in North West Norfolk. Looking forward to Mr Hudson + Calvin Harris this week and Rev + Makers next. Been tweeted By Jon McClure telling me he'll play requested B side at after gig show in car park as its my birthday. Top Stuff.
need to get to town soon to get new cds so can review some more, need to up the rate at which i do them now, and as i am not a fan of downloading - im so 21st century it hurts - i need the actual thing.

peace and love.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

The Black Box Revelation - Set Your Head On Fire

Mainland Europe. What is it with you and producing crazy alternative bands? Take crazy Swedish boys ‘The Hives’ for example. Yes only one example, but it’s hard to think of another - its hard to think of another Swedish band actually without swearing ABBA. So thats 50% of Swedish bands are crazy, and the others are called names such as Benny and Bjork. I make that 100% crazy. You crazy country Sweden, you.

I digress.

Take a small hop, skip and a jump away from Sweden and you might end up in Belgium. Thats where these crazy alternative rockers dwell. Yes, I’ll admit, Belgium doesn’t exactly shout out “CRAZY ALTERNATIVE ROCKERS” as much as it might shout “CHOCOLATE” or.... everything else Belgium is famous for... but these guys must have refused the family business of becoming a chocolatier - as all Belgians obviously end up as - and discovered that outside of Belgium, there are things like guitars and a music industry.

What is clear, is that there are definite influences from The Hives and flashes of Primal Scream appear throughout. Its quirky guitar riffs and bouncy drum beats are what really keeps this album running throughout with “love in your head” contributing to the “heavy britpop”/”heavy Stone Roses” feel.

“I think i like you” is a surefire hit and is a very impressive, catchy tune. Although, the video is slightly less impressive as it consists of the lead singer walking down a subway and...walking a little bit more, until he turns around and.... walks back. Beyond the mediocre videography - not sure if thats a word, but its staying - is a light alternative bright album, that, largely, doesn’t bring an awful lot new to the world. Just Belgium - they love it so much its been in the Belgium “Ultratop” charts for 85 weeks now. Told you they loved it.

In a bid to let everyone know just how m.e.n.t.a.l. they are, they thought it would be a marvelous idea to write something equally crazy as their homeland is. Entitled “Set Your Head On Fire” - they blatantly thought up the craziest thing they could and wrote a song about it. Told you they were crazy.

You might not take an awful lot from this as its same old same old feel runs throughout, and is, probably, disappointingly unable to divert anyones eyes from the murderous tones of “La Roux” - why oh why must we listen to someone who calls herself “The Ginger” and all of whose songs sound like Pong sped up - but what you will get, is a good ole, 40 minute jangly guitar fueled shout. Enjoy, all you closet crazy alternative Belgian/non-Belgian, rockers.

Best Song: I Think I Like You

Rating 6/10

Friday, 2 October 2009

the xx - the xx

For a band that has been so highly praised with the release of their new album, it is hard to comprehend how such a boring album could slip through the greasy fingers of respected reviewers.

Dubbed as one of the most exciting bands of the year, they just sound bored. Infact, this piece of turgid “music” is barely worth even note. The only reason i am continuing to listen is to provide a slightly more different review. This is painful. I hope you’re appreciating this.

The vocals sound as if they didn't want to actually make music and all they value in life, is the ability to sigh, because, clearly, they like to sigh. The whole album is one big musical sigh.

Whether I’m missing a trick or completely deaf, i cannot really pick out anything interesting about this band, apart from.. No, i really can’t.

Just imagine if Joy Division couldn’t play instruments, so just depressive people, clicking fingers, bashing drum machines like they’re slapping some unlucky listener with roadkill, while letting their arm flop down meaninglessly onto guitar stings. Actually, its a bit disrespectful to compare this repetitive release of rubbish to a successful, internationally renowned band. So fill in you’re own depressive band here ............................

Audience participation, thats the key - and possibly what ‘the xx’ have forgotten. Yes, people are actually going to listen to this, sadly, but lets face it - probably only the once -if they haven’t fallen asleep or lost the will to live.

Undoubtedly you’re fed up with my winging so i may end up being slightly hypocritical with my views on this band, so let me define precisely why they’re crap:

1.vocals are boring

2.minor guitar inputs are repetitively boring never gets going

4.everything is boring

5.tempo is pretty non existant

6.occasionally a drum beat comes in, only slightly, as if its afraid to disrupt the wholely depressive feel

7.everything is boring

Usually i’d quote a nice lyric or two, but they’re aren’t any. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with slow music, but this is just terminally dull. Actually its not terminal, its like its clinging onto life and should probably just be put down for the sake of everyone else really.

Words are probably not enough to sum this lot up so have a little listen for yourself, just a little one, and tell a close friend of relative if you are, so they can keep an eye on your stability at all times.

See you later, I’m off to listen to Blur.

Album Rating 1/10

Top Three Tracks:

1.They all blend into

2. one monotonuous

3. piece of waste of your life