The greatest shakedown

Posts on here are once again few and far between, as you may have noticed. This is not - entirely - as a result of the pure and unbridled contempt in which I hold all my readers, but because I'm studying for the Bar Exam, which I'm taking at the end of July. If I pass it, I'll get to chuck an "esquire" after my name and charge everyone hundreds of dollars for the privilege of talking to me. So, as you can imagine, I want to get it right on the first crack.

That said, there is plenty of new music out there worthy of your attention. Today, I wanted to write a little about two albums that recently were released in the UK, which I am lazily lumping together because the bands are from the same country, have both been written about favourably on this site before, and frankly, have a similar sound to one another. Though both albums are accomplished and deserve their own attention, and though music is not a competition, I'm going to pit them against one another for no reason other than my own personal convenience.

In the red corner, My Latest Novel, with their follow up to 2006's 'Wolves', a previous fave here. For the new one, 'Deaths and Entrances', the band has stuck with the formula which worked so well the last time out - massive arrangements, huge strings, a million things going on, layered, harmonised vocals and, for want of a better term, sweeping grandeur. There's less musical variety on offer than was on 'Wolves', and as a result, it can sound a bit samey at first, but I've played the album a few times now, and it definitely seeps in. There's much to admire but some changes in pace would definitely have been welcome, especially in the second half. I'm thinking specifically of the playfulness on songs like 'The Job Mr Kurtz Did' or 'The Reputation of Ross Francis' from the first album - where they kept it small.

The tremendous opening track, 'All in All in All is All' can be downloaded for free here. Do that. Also, see if you can't hear some Arcade Fire in 'I Declare a Ceasefire'. In a good way.

Edinburgh's Broken Records, meanwhile, also have a new album, with the equally dramatic title 'Until the Earth Begins to Part'. I wrote about their EP more than a year ago, and now they've followed through with the album, delivered under the hype and burden of being called "the Scottish Arcade Fire" by people who really should know better. Broken Records have the temerity to name a song 'If Eilert Loveborg Wrote a Song, It Would Sound Like This', and yet the song itself is not absolute pretentious dogshit. The album is conspicuously uneven, though - while 'A Good Reason' still bounds along like a demented gypsy wedding, songs like the title track seem to be BR on autopilot. Start quietly, and then gradually build to majesty. They do the trick well, but they do it repeatedly. They do the same on 'A Promise' and 'Wolves', the latter a song apparently and confusingly named after My Latest Novel's debut album. Crazy. The potential is clear here, but a little more ambition would have gone a long way.

[My Latest Novel official / myspace / buy 'Deaths and Entrances']
[Broken Records official / myspace / buy 'Until the Earth Begins to Part']


Jim said...

That Broken Records album is actually starting to annoy me now, and I've not even listened to it all that much.

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