Microreviews – 3.8.10

Laarks – An Exaltation of Laarks

Grade: A-

Best Tracks: “All the Words You Can’t Say Right”; “The S Stood for Science”; “Electioneer Year”; “You Know They Do”; “Telephone”

Comments: Despite their many similarities of Ben Gibbard’s best-known band, Laarks avoid all-out Death Cabbiness by keeping their arrangements much more energetic, blustery, and just plain loud than Death Cab’s recent output.  Every time I think I might be getting bored of this album, a new catchy melodic line hooks me right back in.

Retribution Gospel Choir – 2

Grade: B+

Best Tracks: “Electric Guitar”; “Poor Man’s Daughter”; “Hide it Away”; “White Wolf”; “Workin’ Hard”

Comments: The songs on 2 start out as catchy, power-pop punches and dissolve into psychedelic jams heavy on bass and distorted guitar.  There are some really stunning moments here (the epic “Electric Guitar”) but the brevity of the album (33 min) leaves some ideas feeling underdeveloped.

 

B. Dolan – Fallen House, Sunken City

Grade: B+

Best Tracks: “Fifty Ways to Bleed Your Customer”; “Marvin”; “Kitchen Sink”; “Economy of Words (Bail it Out)”; “Body of Work”

Comments: B. Dolan brings a socially-conscious, spoken-word sensibility to this grimy, verbose, and relentlessly dark hip-hop album.  Lyrics ranging from corporate greed to urban decay are set over raw, fuzzed-out beats that conjure images of dark, dirty alleyways.

Sade – Soldier of Love

Grade: B-

Best Tracks: “Babyfather”; “Soldier of Love”; “In Another Time”

Comments: A tough album to grade.  This is some of the most willfully pleasant, uniform, unobtrusive music you’ll ever hear — it’s hard to eve distinguish between tracks, at times.  But it’s well-written, incredibly well-assembled, and delivered with great skill and finesse.

~

Ellis Paul – The Day After Everything Changed

Grade: C+

Best Tracks: “Annalee”; “Dragonfly”; “Hurricane Angel”; “River Road”

Comments: The production’s a bit too slick, the stories a bit too sappy, and the whole affair a bit too country for my taste.  But on the other hand, the songs underneath are more than solid, and if more contemporary country sounded like this, I would probably listen to it.

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~ by toren on March 8, 2010.

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