Staples of indie rock Mystery Jets return with a new psychedelic heavy sound but is it any good?
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Hymns has Bloc Party with new members, new influences and a new sound. Real question: is it any good?
Savages are not a conventional “girl band” in the way that the likes of Little Mix are. In fact, the use of that term seems obsolete as the London-based act pack tracks with such brutish force that they put most other bands in the genre to shame, helping to destroy this stereotype of female groups being capable of tracks only about men and relationships.
Whilst their debut album Silence Yourself showcased this expertly, it also showed that Savages aren’t just feisty, snarling women who love to sing about polygamy: they can also bash out a well made slow burner (see Waiting For A Sign to hear the evidence for yourself).Their recently released track Adore, off their upcoming album Adore Life that is set to release later this month, is further proof of this.
Jehnny Beth’s vocals are no doubt the standout feature of this track with a conquering, all powerful delivery accompanied by a somewhat eery and omnipresent guitar. While this builds up to a finale that arguably fizzles more than it bangs, the song’s contemplative lyrics about life and the problems that come along with it manage to save it from being anything less than great.
A second album is often the most difficult for a band and whilst many have tried and failed to win over fans, either by totally changing their sound or just dishing out the same album with a bit more polish, it’s clear that Savages aren’t afraid to experiment with this new found minimalism.
Best Of July #3
I’ll probably be shot by a legion of indie maniacs for this but I’m not a fan of The Libertines. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not a terrible band, far from it, they’ve crafted some of the best song of, arguably, this century. However, when I was growing up and even now, it’s difficult to believe that The Libertines would be as prolific as they are without the media antics of front-man Pete Doherty who battled drug addiction time and time again.
After a brief stint at a rehab clinic in Thailand, Doherty is now fresh and clean and ready to jump back in with his fellow Libertine band mates to continue their legacy. It seems fitting that the first verse of comeback single Gunga Din sounds like a mess, a sloppy array of chords with an ever more sloppy singing Doherty feeling “sick and tired of feeling sick and tired again.”
As soon as the chorus starts though it’s a different story as Gunga Din shows exactly why The Libertines are loved by thousands. It shows that they’ve not lost that magic touch they had back in the early 2000’s, crafting a track that can fend for its own alongside their greatest hits.
I might be a bit harsh describing the first verse as sloppy, after all The Libertines have always been praised for really not giving a fuck. In a way it’s admirable that even when the music seems like a mess, it can still charm you in ways you thought unimaginable. Whether or not the rest of their upcoming album Anthems For Doomed Youth will be able to handle the hype it’ll no doubt gather but things are looking good. Who knows, it might even convert me into a fan.
If I were to point out one aspect that The Horrors seem to excel at, it would have to be reinvention. When their debut Strange House emerged onto the scene, the Gothic sound of it that reeked of Robert Smith’s aura was laughed off by many music fans at the time however these same people immediately regretted doing so once their follow up Primary Colours appeared and was universally lauded by critics and fans alike, appearing with the bands brand new sound that lead many to compare their transformation to the likes of Primal Scream. The Essex boys have placed the technicolour psychedelia sound they’ve been perfecting from previous releases onto the operating table and have meddled with it for their fourth record Luminous and you’d be wrong to say they haven’t done so with some brilliant results.
Case in point? Take the track I See You, the first single the band showcased on Zane Lowe’s Radio 1 show, which radiates a sparkling disco sound that is dangerously close of echoing Simple Minds work. It would be a sure fire single if it weren’t for the track’s long run time but with an energetic 3 minute outro, no one’s complaining. In And Out Sight is another stand out track which features an intro Kavinsky wouldn’t mind adopting and has the pleasure of preceding Jealous Sun which features a strong bass throughout and showcases the band’s ability to shift from different tones throughout this record. Kudos to First Day Of Spring which, although may sound like a lost track from Skying, still fits in incredibly well into the album and sounds fantastic as well as emphasizing frontman Faris Badwan’s voice which has enough uniqueness to allow it to stand out.
If there’s any complaints that can be made it’s that some tracks can sound slightly similar though the same musical palette that the album draws its tracks from helps to create a nice flow which also highlights when the band are entering dark territory with it though this solely comes down to the listener’s perspective. In addition to this, Luminous gives off the vibe that the band are playing it a bit too safe. Even though there has been some slight changes to the sound, there haven’t been enough radical ones to help it feel entirely fresh.
When The Horrors aim for a sound, they more or less do well with it. Luminous, like Skying, shows that the band are capable of doing well with this psychedelic sound. The record’s 51 minute long length has some indie gems that’ll no doubt please fans of the band as well as new listeners. Let’s just hope next time the boys shake up their sound a bit more rather than let it settle.