After one of my regular trips to the local charity shop I have gone from the cutting edge of my last post to being late to the party with this 2004 debut. I have some of their singles but have never got any of their albums, and one of the reasons for grabbing this one was the popularity of Mr. Brightside at two 21st birthday parties I have DJ’ed this year. Considering the birthday girls in question would have been eight years old in 2004 I though it’s endurance must make Hot Fuss worth a go. Maybe the upsurge in 80’s sounding tunes of the last few years started around this time, with the synthy salutations to the indie band sound of that era, also typified by the urgency in Brandon Flowers vocals. I wanted to like this album a lot, but unfortunately I only like it a bit.
Standout track: All These Things That I’ve Done
I was watching TV the other night and a programme came on showcasing the nominees for the 2017 Mercury Music Prize. One band immediately caught my attention so this morning I listened to the previews on iTunes, got to the fifth track and decided it was a definite purchase. This debut album reminds me a lot of Britpop band Sleeper who I also really like. Sleeper’s lead singer Louise Wener wrote some really lyrically interesting songs which also contained catchy guitar hooks. Not to say that The Big Moon sound like a dated 90’s band. but they have a similarly pleasing and very enjoyable mix of guitars and lyrics. They sound like they had a lot of fun recording this and I get a feeling they will be great to see live so will definitely check out their next London dates.
Standout track: Pull The Other One
A few years ago one of my kids went to the music festival at Reading so I took a particular interest in the bands that were playing and watched the broadcasts on TV. Off the back of that I bought a few albums and one of them was Save Rock and Roll. In the main the rock/RnB sound encapsulates the reason I enjoyed their live performances but for me it starts on a high with The Phoenix and slowly winds down. By the end of the album I felt like i’d had enough. Not sure if it was the music or the vocal style, or maybe the presence of Elton John! While I like some of his work it kind of ends it on a low because I just don’t enjoy his collaborative work of recent years. Still a good album but glad it’s not longer than it is.
Standout Track : The Phoenix
When the record company heard the pseudo-psychedelic ATWIAD for the first time apparently they weren’t impressed. Where was Purple Rain Part 2? While still touring with Purple Rain Prince was writing and recording ATWIAD and as always moved in a different direction to its predecessor. When I think of Prince albums ATWIAD seems to sit quietly in between Purple Rain and Parade, not always springing to mind when browsing my collection but this doesn’t reflect the quality of the album. You have undoubtedly heard of the singles but what defines it is its exploration of different sounds, instrumentation and composition that would characterise at least the next two albums. Where previously Prince would do it all, this is his more co-operative period with the Revolution, Wendy and Lisa in particular. If you have heard Purple Rain and like musicians that don’t stand still then you have to move on to ATWIAD.
Standout track : Condition of the Heart
The poster for Pollinator always caught my eye at the tube station and when I noticed it was available to listen to on a recent flight I didn’t hesitate. Its not often an album grabs me but after one listen I vowed to grab it from iTunes. It’s rare that this happens so this morning I have been trying to decide what it is I like about this album. Primarily its the driving drums that underpin the songs that do it for me, at times reminiscent of the drum track of Heart of Glass. Debbie Harry’s vocal has understandably lost a little of its smoothness, being really noticeable on Doom or Destiny however that might be intentional. This album really has the post-punk-disco-infused sound that for me is Blondie, and while some people may not like that i think its the reason why this album instantly appealed.
Standout Track : Long Time
Today I fancied listening to something a bit chilled so I dug out this album from the iPod archive. I’m pretty sure we have all bought albums on the strength of one track, and in this case it was The Finest because it features Alexander O’Neal and was produced by Jam and Lewis. It has that classic 80’s jazz funk/soul sound with deep bass lines and electronic drums which I would normally enjoy but I have to say I found this album a bit of a tough listen. I’m all for a bit of moodiness but for me many of the tracks edged too far into the dreary. The lead vocal is almost stand-offish and I can’t quite get the feeling behind it. Still if this sounds like your thing then give it a try, maybe it just wasn’t the right day for it.
Standout track: The Finest
Finally got to see Haim live last night! To celebrate their new album they held a a special one-off gig at the Electric Ballroom in London, and it was fantastic! Definitely one of my favourite shows ever, and the album is pretty great too. It continues to blend indie rock, pop and RnB with their unique harmonies making a sound that is their own. I like a band whose music isn’t easily defined because you get interesting albums like this with tracks that mix up and cross genres. It means you get an album with a cohesive sound that you can identify without a bunch of same-sounding tracks. I also liked the breezy feel that their debut album had, maybe because of it’s sunshine Californian heritage, something that this album retains. Make sure you also listen to the percussion and melodies – just great!
Standout track: Walking Away