Microreviews – 2.22.10

Shearwater – The Golden Archipelago

Grade: A-

Best Tracks: “Landscape at Speed”; “Black Eyes”; “Castaways”; “Uniforms”; “Hidden Lakes”

Comments: Shearwater continues to come into their own on the follow-up to 2008’s excellent Rook.  This album finds them sound more epic (and cinematic, come to think of it) than ever, really exploiting the quiet/loud dichotomy to great effect, playing weird instruments, and keeping things concise.

 

Field Music – Field Music (Measure)

Grade: A-

Best Tracks: “Effortlessly”; “Them That Do Nothing”; “Each Time is a New Time”; “The Rest is Noise”; “Precious Plans”; “In the Mirror”

Comments: The mere fact that a 20-track, 70+ minute album of fairly conventional pop music does not get tiresome is a marvel in itself.  Field Music keep things fresh by indulging a sort of mini-experiment on each track, then moving on.  Masterful in their use of the studio, surprising, and enjoyable!

Massive Attack – Heligoland

Grade: B

Best Tracks: “Paradise Circus”; “Psyche”; “Babel”; “Atlas Air”; “Girl I Love You”

Comments: Massive Attack’s latest effort brings a bunch of interesting guests (Elbow’s Guy Garvey! TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe!) but none of them match up with regular contributor Martina Topley-Bird’s vocal performances, and the music lacks the glory and menace of their masterpiece, Mezzanine.  Still, these guys know their shit, f’real.

Carolina Chocolate Drops – Genuine Negro Jig

Grade: C

Best Tracks: “Trouble in Your Mind”; “Trampled Rose”; “Peace Behind the Bridge”; “Cindy Gal”

Comments: The uptempo songs here definitely have an old-fashioned charm to them, but Carolina Chocolate Drops don’t really have the vocal abilities or the instrumental chops to support the tunes when they slow down.

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~ by toren on February 22, 2010.

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