Sep 6, 2007

Album Reviews

Give Up - The Postal Service

You may ask yourself, "Why is he reviewing an album that came out in 2003? Is he that hopelessly behind the times?"

The answer is, of course, "If you're so cutting edge, get your own damn blog."

It only takes about one second for the average listener to misidentify The Postal Service as Death Cab for Cutie. This is an understandable mistake, since they share a singer and sound virtually identical. I'm only moderately familiar with DCfC, but what I've heard is very catchy a few times and then kind of annoying after that.

The Postal Service is most famous for the song "Such Great Heights," which was covered on the Garden State soundtrack by some hippie and both the TPS version and the hippie version have been featured in numerous commercials since then. This is too bad, because it's really a pretty good song. In fact, the whole album is pretty good, if a bit twee at times.

TPS, by contrast, has grown on me through several plays. The album is a mix of mild electronica and the same sort of cheerful-even-when-singing-depressing-lyrics sound of DCfC. The most notable feature of nearly every song is that it sounds exactly like the moment in a movie at which the protagonist realizes he really needs to turn this damn car around and go back to tell the girl he's not leaving after all. That's not to say the songs sound the same, because they do vary a bit, but the tone is somehow precisely evocative of that movie moment.

Highlight tracks:
  • "Such Great Heights," though it may bug you on repeat plays.
  • "Nothing Better," a weird duet in which the guy is singing about how great their life will be together and the woman is trying to calmly explain why he needs to move so she can get out the door.
  • "We Will Become Silhouettes," in which (as far as I can tell), they cheerfully sing about a nuclear or biological disaster.
  • "Clark Gable," in which the singer attempts to determine whether true love can strike like it does in the movies by making a movie of him kissing his ex-girlfriend while they pretend to still be in love.

White Noise
- Alpinestars

Okay, this one's a little more current. No, wait. Apparently it's from 2002, according to Wikipedia. Thanks, iTunes -- you have destroyed my street cred.

I actually picked up this album by accident. I was reading reviews of an album by a German electronica band named Seabound and someone mentioned something called "White Noise" that they didn't acknowledge, made under a different name. I assumed that this electronica album was it, and a few iTunes sample bites made it sound pretty good.

Well, as far as I can tell, Alpinestars has nothing to do with Seabound. That said, the album is really very enjoyable. It's a mix of electronica and rock, with pretty noticeable disco influences. It has decent, non-industrialized vocals and some great beats.

Highlight tracks:
  • "Nusex City," kind of a funky dance tune with fairly repetitive lyrics, but catchy.
  • "Burning Up," a less funky track with a much moodier sound -- mostly bass and piano. The lyrics are pretty much nonsense, but they work.
  • "Smash It Up," which sort of sounds like latter-day Tears for Fears.

The Bravery - The Bravery

Now we're talking! 2005, baby! I'm only two years behind the times, now. At this rate, I might be hip by 2013.

The Bravery is the debut album of the band by the same name. They are a sort of synth-rock band from New York and, yes, they sound a bit like The Killers. I hear echoes of the "Muse sounds like Radiohead" arguments of a while back, mainly because I like The Bravery better than The Killers, just as I like Muse better than Radiohead.

Like the average Muse album, The Bravery is a fairly eclectic selection of songs. At times, you can hear a bit of the band's ska background (mainly in "No Brakes"), while most of the other songs, like "Tyrant" and "Public Service Announcement," have a distinctly 80's New Wave sound. The latter song features the entertaining lyric:
Stop, Drop, and Roll.
Stop, Drop, and Roll.
Stop, Drop, and Roll.
You're on Fire!!
That made me laugh quite a bit, in a good way.

Other Tracks of note:
  • "The Ring Song," in which the singer wonders when a nice girl will make an honest man out of him.
  • "An Honest Mistake," in which the band does a damn good job of channeling Duran Duran.


Anonymous said...

Have you checked out the band "She Wants Revenge"?
I think you might like it. I think that they have a more recent offering coming soon.

Morgue said...

I have, actually. I picked up a couple of tracks from iTunes before Coachella 2006, because they were playing there. (I only ended up seeing them do a song or two, because they were one of the last acts.) For a while, I was pretty fond of "Tear you Apart" and "These Things," but they got a little monotonous after a while. They get compared unfavorably to Interpol, who I haven't really listened to much.