Microreviews – 9.14.10

The Walkmen – Lisbon

Grade: A-

Best Tracks: “Stranded”; “Angela Surf City”; “Woe Is Me”; “Blue As Your Blood”; “Juveniles”; “Lisbon”; “Victory”; “All My Great Designs”

Comments: The Walkmen continue their winning streak with the slow-burning, elegaic, stately grandeur found on Lisbon.  They know just when to roll (or waltz) along with restrained guitar and muffled drums and when to release singer Hamilton Leithauser’s world-weary fury and play to the rafters.

Ra Ra Riot – The Orchard

Grade: B+

Best Tracks: “Too Dramatic”; “Boy”; “You and I Know”; “Foolish”; “Massachusetts”; “The Orchard”; “Keep It Quiet”

Comments: RRR’s sugary, uptempo style seems perfectly suited for 2010 indie pop success.  Their sophomore album branches out a bit from their debut while maintaining the sweet, melodic vocals, deft percussion, and orchestral flourishes that made The Rhumb Line so approachable.


!!! – Strange Weather, Isn’t It?

Grade: B/B-

Best Tracks: “The Most Certain Sure”; “AM/FM”; “The Hammer”; “Jamie, My Intentions Are Bass”

Comments: The newest from un-Googleable dance rockers !!! has some fantastic standout moments (see those Best Trax), but in general fails to deliver on the promise of their past high points (“Me and Guiliani Down By The Schoolyard” and much of 2008’s Myth Takes).  Their style is consistently enjoyable (not to mention danceable) but the middle of this record sinks into disco-fueled monotony.

The Thermals – Personal Life

Grade: C+

Best Tracks: “I Don’t Believe You”: “I’m Gonna Change Your Life”; “Power Lies”; “Only For You”

Comments: On their newest, former NW firebrands The Thermals seem to have lost some of the fire that was in their bellies when they recorded their career highlight The Blood The Body The Machine.  Personal Life has some punchy tracks, but most of them are somewhat uninteresting mid-tempo plodders short on Hutch Harris’s powerful vocals and long on simplistic guitar noodling.


~ by toren on September 13, 2010.

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