On Deck | with Justin Poulsen and Chris Montgomery

On Deck | with Justin Poulsen and Chris Montgomery

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ondeck1 If Diana Krall and Jaimie XX had a baby, he (or she...) would be named Rhye. With a honey-misted voice that caresses the tender drums and twid­dling baselines, Woman marries easy listening with easy living. You’re not sure if you’re sitting in a smokey jazz basement or breezy star-lit cabana, but it’s successfully sensual.

Obviously vocalist Robin Hanni­bal is gender-bending his way to newsworthiness, which certainly influences the impressiveness of the album, but he’s got talent too. The instrumentals occasionally strike a pose with some well mixed horns and harps; but the majority of the album floats along with minimalist synths, allowing the majority of the harmonies to grow from Hannibal’s own voice.

 

 

 

 

FOALS

It begins by climbing from an ambient dither to a wrenching com­bination of shouts and wails. It’s full of drawling diary lyrics that lead you back to the haunting malcontent of the 90’s. But before you get there random songs like “My Number” and “Out of the Woods” snap you back into a perky fast-stepping modern disco.

Holy Fire refuses to act as a soundtrack to your feelings; it dic­tates its own landscape of echoing guitar riffs, a near-beachy xylophone, and the occasional chorusing of cave vocals. You simply can’t listen to this album all the way through with one emotion. But no matter what song you’re tempted to skip to, it’ll be worth a full listen.

 

 

 

DB

To the current generation, Bowie is known less as Ziggy and more as a walk-off facilitator, so he had a chal­lenge ahead of him when he decided to bring us some new sounds. The title track kicks into gear without any hesitation. Bowie is still his old self, but keenly aware of the melodies that attract the younger audience.

Where Are We Now? Sounds like it could have been lost a few decades ago and re-discovered just in time to make the new album pressing. A beautifully reflective ballad shows a legendary artist realizing the impor­tant things in life. While they—let’s politely call them ‘experienced listen­ers’—will be taken on a refreshing yet nostalgic ride, it may fail to attract a new fan base for his next tour.

 

 

 

jt

Back in 2006 the focus was all on bringin’ sexy back. Although after the 2004 ‘Nipple-gate’ one could argue he might not be the one to do it.

The big question after his surprise musical return announcement in Janu­ary, was could he live up to the ridicu­lous expectations that come with for­mer N’Sync members? ...Or at least some of them.

“Suit & Tie” wasn’t exactly what most people were expecting, but al­though Jay-Z for once in his life dead­ens a song, it showed that we were in for a Timberlake well in touch with his now post-30 age. The maturity and steady pacing stays the course throughout 20/20. While their aren’t the same club hits, the themes of love and lust still weave their way through.

Listeners may at first think the swelling strings of “Pusher Love Girl” are preluding the entrance of an A-lister at the Academy Awards, but soon the beat kicks in and the charm­ing falsetto takes over.

He took his time creating the al­bum and he takes his time taking you through it. With only one song falling under 5 minutes, it really is an experience to go through. Making use of the lengthy track time to jour­ney from James Blake to Bollywood, JT clearly demonstrates yet again, a sophisticated and eclectic sound that proves once again why we should love everything he does.

PHOENIX

After four years it looks like Phoe­nix is anxious to return to the pack of their synth-pop-pioneer peers—in­cluding the likes of Tegan and Sara and MGMT—who all emerged from the womb of the North American fame machine back in the mid-2000’s. But this time it sounds like Bank­rupt! emerged from the womb—and the torrents—two months too early.

Bankrupt! is frustrating be­cause it’s so close to being good but then just devolves into mediocrity.

It’s obvious that lead singer Thomas Mars is trying to add some gravitas to the band, extending his vocal range and holding on to notes in an attempt to shirk away from their earlier slap-happy party con­notations. From the sounds of it, he doesn’t tell his fellow band mates about this new direction; their instruments refuse to give him any space.

The only soul-swaying moment of the entire album occurs at its heart— track five of ten—in the last two min­utes of the primarily instrumental track “Bankrupt.” Here, all the elec­tronics merely accessorize a peeping guitar line and the unmoderated mut­tering’s of Mars: “Forever is for ev­eryone else...” And then the moment ends, and we’re thrown back into the struggle, thus making the album even more tragic than its contents.

 

End of the game

End of the game

Everyday Unsung Heroes | Thomas Aquinas

Everyday Unsung Heroes | Thomas Aquinas