On Deck | with Bryce Perry, Justin Poulsen, and Chris Montgomery
Music for your ears.
This review is rather unnecessary as you’re either already blaring this album non-stop to your disgusted roommate—or you are the disgusted roommate. But considering it’s the first album in a decade to have back-to-back sales of a million copies, it deserves a look. For all Red’s lyrical repetition, I find it amazing how she still manages to find new metaphors to describe the same themes of broken hearts and broken boys.. It stalls lyrically, but manages to find its stride in more musical experimentation, including a guest appearance by Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol, and a brief and surprisingly effective venture into dubstep. The problem with her exploration is the near-exact imitation of her pop counterparts. Did I just switch to a Katy Perry song? Was that Kesha? Lily Allen? It lacks significant cohesiveness—I found myself unsure whether to go clubbing or go crying.
The British synth-nymph is back, and she’s conquered the often career-breaking sophomore album with ease. I expected Halcyon to have a series of bassy dance tracks; and those elements remain, but are often pinned back to make room for Goulding’s soulful vocals. And rightly so. Almost every song is an intense progression that begins with you lying on the floor softly crooning along, then rising and stomping your feet in tribal defiance of an indecisive lover, and culminating in some ecstatic howling at the sky. Despite the more victorious theme, she manages to maintain her darker edge—particularly with her Active Child cover—and surprisingly dodges the mainstream dubstep wave, despite the fact that she’s currently dating Skrillex.
If you are uncertain as to whether you’re a bobble-head or a metronome, don’t worry, Alt-J’s debut studio album is here to help sort out your method of groove. An Awesome Wave is ripe with a collection of catchiness expressed through captivating yet basic piano and guitar, grungy synths, and mathematical drums. The syrupy bass and whimsically weaving vocals will compel you to get up and swerve across the floor. Contrasting sounds like the opaque “Fitzpleasure” versus the lighthearted feeling of “Sounding Good” or the instrumental “Interlude II” work wonderfully, giving the album a welcomed diversity. This British quartette will definitely get you groovin’ in the most chill, cool way possible.
Sharp authoritative drums, a hornets nest of guitar riffs, and soaring vocals that threaten to jump the track at any moment—you’ve never really noticed music until you’ve heard Anberlin. Many fans are labelling Vital as a sequel of Cities, to which the lead bassist Deon responds with “a punch to their faces.” They’re definitely two separate albums; but not necessarily in a good way. Where Cities pushed the capabilities of each artist’s instruments, particularly Stephen’s voice, Vital seems preoccupied with synth experimentation. It works, but isn’t nearly powerful enough to compensate for their simpler melodies. Still, Anberlin consistently thrusts you into the darkness only to watch you re-emerge fueled, and ready to fight.