I haven’t had a review in some time, have I? Well, I thought it might be a good time to break one out now since there are some wickedly awesome albums out and about right now.
The first one I’d like to talk about is St. Vincent’s third album “Strange Mercy”
This album is… incredible. To say the least. The amount of emotion Annie Clark puts out in this record is more emotion than both of her previous albums combined. Not to say that those two albums were bad, they are actually really good. It’s just that St. Vincent has topped herself once again, which is impressive for any musician to do.
This album is her most guitar heavy album yet (as far as I can tell) and she uses the guitar as a weapon of unease. You hear the sporadic, crunching guitar lines in “Chloe in the Afternoon” and it just puts you in a feeling of unease. It’s really odd as too, to hear Clark’s voice, which is smooth and heavenly akin to a beautiful angel’s. Same with “Cheerleader”, which seems like a slow, calm song in the beginning, but snaps into a violent plead: “I-I-I-I don’t want to be a cheerleader no more.” Both of these are great tracks on the album with some unease. Well, a lot of them contain that feeling; but when paired with these nervous guitars and low-lying electronics, it turns into something sinister.
Sinister is a good word to describe a lot of the sounds here. There is some dastardly dark stuff on this album – unconscious feelings and thoughts that aren’t out in the open but in the mind of whomever is saying the lyrics. Could it be Annie or some other character saying these lines? Take “Northern Lights” which starts off like any normal song, but it breaks down internally and externally near the end with crazy, distorted breakdowns and melting vocal melodies. This is one of my favorite songs on the album just for the hectic mess that it is.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are other extremely beautiful songs on the record as well. The title track is something I cannot explain: I love it so much. The drop off of the chorus is perfect, which is followed by a robotic guitar line that makes the whole thing tied together. “Champagne Year” is also beautiful and is unlike the entire album in terms of guitar lines. It seems devoid of all that sharpness but it still has tinges of creepiness.
This album is awesome. Straight up. It did not disappoint me at all and I’ll see it place very high in my favorite albums of this year, unless a ton of better music comes out this year, which I don’t think will happen. I seriously recommend picking this up. Seriously.
Just get the album.
Next is Nerves Junior’s debut album “As Bright As Your Night Light”
I like to call this album “The Most 90’s Radiohead Sounding Album Since 90’s” due to the fact that it sounds a lot like old Radiohead and pulls it off brilliantly. I don’t want to say these guys are a Radiohead cover band or that they just sound like Radiohead. They sound like a good, new band that combines A TON of influences in to one, cohesive project that’s pulled off wonderfully.
Let’s see what they got in terms of influences of the songs: they have some 00’s alternative (the good kind) on some songs; they have classic rock guitar licks and sharp, snappy vocals (“Nails to Scratch With”); they have some orchestral folky songs; some slow building burners; you name it, they got it! Seriously!
This album is great because it doesn’t really sound like anything that has come out in the past few years. Everything that has come out recently has been following the same formula so that they can achieve a great radio hit or commercial fame. Well this band probably wants fame as well, but they don’t go along with that formula. It doesn’t sound robotized, it sounds like the band is having FUN in the studio recording all these songs. The last time I heard a legitimately FUN album was both Battles’ “Gloss Drop” from this year and Fang Island’s self-titled debut from last year.
This album is a great time and Pretty Much Amazing loves it. So if you want a more convincing review of it, go over to PMA and read their review. I like this album but they do a better job of articulating themselves. Maybe since it’s their job.
You know what? Scrap that Radiohead comment. These dudes are RADICAL in every sense of the word. I keep listening to the album over and over to find that every single song is unique in its own way. There really aren’t any songs that blend together into another one to make them unintelligible. They each have their own souls and carry their weight with the others. They have all kinds of genres up in here and they all pull it off with flying colors. The only reason I made the Radiohead comment is because the singer’s voice sounds kind of like Thom Yorke’s, in a way.
This is a radical album. I can honestly say it will place highly in my end of the year list. If not, one of the members killed my family or something. If that doesn’t happen, Nerves Junior, you have just earned yourself a spot on Combo Breaker Kid’s favorite albums of 2011 list. It’s not much. At all. But still. Nice.