Wednesday, May 30, 2012

EP Review: Husker Du – Metal Circus

Husker Du released this somewhat transitional EP in 1983.  It seems them still playing breakneck hardcore to a degree on Bob Mould’s Real World and Deadly Skies, Mould screaming his lungs out.  However it’s Grant Hart’s material that heads in a more conventional, songwriterly direction.  It’s Not Funny Anymore is almost power-pop, with some nice guitar fills, while Diane is another story altogether.  Coming in on a steady, foreboding, insistent beat, before Mould’s guitar shreds like f**k, and Hart bawls “Diane, Diane, Die-Anne”.  It’s four and a half majestic minutes and is Husker Du’s first real classic.
Also should mention the proto-grunge Out On A Limb, which has a malevolent riff that surely influenced Nirvana, before it goes absolutely mental after 40 seconds.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Album Review: The Long Knives - Kiss You Cursed Seducer

The Long Knives released their debut release Kiss You Cursed Seducer in 2007. It opens with possibly the strongest track, Someone, a summery track with Niall O'Riordan singing lyrics about rolling in the hay and living in sin. Although it's dominated by O'Riordan's guitar the feel isn't a million miles away from the Style Council.
The choppy guitar of Mouth is reminiscent of Lir's funkier moments, while Seduction suffers a little from vocals which are way too prominent in the mix.  Curses skanks along nicely although it and other tracks such Oh Yeah are a little repetitive, and this feeling persists throughout this 7 track album.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Album Review: Nine Inch Nails – The Fragile

1999’s The Fragile was Nine Inch Nails’ first album in 5 years, and it’s a sprawling beast of a double album.  Split into Left and Right discs, there’s a LOT to get your teeth into.
There are some great tunes buried under Trent Reznor's many ‘noise’ experiments – with some really big choruses, such as the Bond-evoking Day The World Went Away, the lengthy We’re In This Together and the magnificent brooding of the title track.  There is time for some moody funk with the instrumental La Mer, more fully realized as a proper song later on Into the Void.
There’s tons and tons of moody atmosphere on instrumentals like The Frail and the excellent final track, Ripe [With Decay].  However much of the rest of the album is full of shouty, noisy brooding tracks, and at a running total of over 100 minutes over two discs, it makes the album exhausting to listen to.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Album Review: Aerial M – As performed by…

David Pajo released this short album in 1997 as Aerial M.  It’s brief enough at 32 minutes, opening with the Dazed and Awake, a title which perfectly invokes the gentle guitar and drum piece.  It has a Durutti Column feel to it and is probably the highpoint of the album.   Aass flows in a similar vein, while other tracks such as Wedding Song No. 2 and Skrag Theme have a more ambient theme.  The latter has a doomy feel, not too far removed from Alice In Chains’ moodier moments. 
Skrag Theme is prefaced by Rachmaninoff, a really muted and brief track, while Compassion for M is a backwards version of the opening track Dazed and Awake, which gently messes with your head.
This lovely way to spend half an hour finishes with Always Farewell, which captures the yearning of early Smog, albeit as an instrumental.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Album Review: Husker Du - Everything Falls Apart

Husker Du's first studio album, 1983's Everything Falls Apart, followed a similar template to their debut, albeit these songs have actually been produced.  We still get the 30 second thrashes of Punch Drunk and Bricklayer, but we also get Bob Mould's From The Gut and the title track, which pre-empt Mudhoney's sound by a couple of years and a nice cover of Donovan's Sunshine Superman.  It finishes with the epic, lengthy, two and a half minute Gravity.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Album Review: Explosions in the Sky - Take Care, Take Care, Take Care

Instrumentalists Explosions in the Sky released their sixth album, Take Care, Take Care, Take Care in 2011. Opening track Last Known Surroundings builds up with crashing drums, but Human Qualities which follows is a much more tranquil beast. It takes 8 minutes to unfurl itself, sounding like a blissed-out version of something off The Cure's Disintegration.

Trembling Hands, on the other hand is a poppy sounding track lasting a mere three and a half minutes. The drawback with an album like this is it's not particularly engaging. It's struggle to remember much about the stately, almost Zen-like melodies of Be Comfortable, Creature and Postcard From 1952.  Let Me Back In, possibly due to being 10 minutes long, feels like an understated epic.

It's all very well-played but the slow build ups demand a lot of patience of the listener. Punk it ain't.