Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Album Review: The Lemonheads

After 10 years in which Evan Dando did little else apart from releasing one solo album, the Lemonheads returned in 2006.  Dando was joined by members of the Descendents as his band, as opposed to original Lemonheads. 
The album has a punkier feel than other latter day albums.  Opening track Black Gown barrels out of the blocks with a kind of harder feel, though Dando still turns in a typically goofy lyric “if it ain’t fixed, don’t break it”.  It’s all over in 2 minutes.  Similarly fast, rough ‘n’ ready Pittsburgh and Rule of Three speed along on riffs which sound like they are about come unstuck yet don’t, married to some great melodies.
Let’s Just Laugh shakes off an ominous opening to get into a classic Lemonheads groove with a hint of REM.  The latter half of the album sags a little as Dando and co run out of steam but the opening six tracks are an adrenalized version of classic Lemonheads.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Album Review: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Kicking Against The Pricks

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds released a cover album in 1986, quite early into their career.  The album had the effect of broadening their range, in terms of the type of material found here, but also indicating their influences.
Many of the tracks here fit very neatly into the “Cave moody ballad” box.  Tracks such as Muddy Water and the Johnny Cash song The Singer are full of smouldering attitude.  Others, such as Long Black Veil and the gospel Jesus Met The Woman At The Well have an almost jaunty feel to them.
Elsewhere, Sleeping Annaleah is like a fairground in a nightmare, Hey Joe features a ridiculously doomy vocal from Cave and creepy arrangement, while The Velvet Underground’s All Tomorrow’s Parties is probably the liveliest thing here, driven by a pounding rhythm section.
Nick Cave also tries his hand at crooning, with mixed results.  By The Time I Get To Phoenix fares pretty well here, as a fairly straight version.  On the other hand they really camp it up for Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart, which proves to be a little beyond Cave’s range.  However, his misshapen, almost cretinous vocal works really well on this version, making it arguably the best track on an album which, though it doesn’t work at times, at other times fascinates.