If Elbow know anything, they know how to build atmosphere.
They know how to craft a world with sound, how to populate it with echoes of reality, where and when to give us glimpses of a better, warmer world.
Part of the appeal of ‘The Take Off and Landing Of Everything’ is that incredible world-building at work. Another, larger part is the uncannily poetic perceptions of Guy Garvey, watching the world we live in and bringing it to life in a way we’re all much too lazy to attempt.
Elbow want us to wake up to the noise and splendour of the city; to drink in and savour the quiet moments of life with the same excitement and appreciation we afford a Game of Thrones season finale or a £20 bottle of wine.
Football fans know the standing joke so we’re paraphrasing slightly here, but so the question goes: Temples are good, but can they do it on a cold Friday night in Leeds?
We’ll come to the answer later.
Portmanteaux’s new single ‘We’re Just Kids’ is the musical equivalent of Dr Doolittle’s Push-me-pull-you.
With its eyes clearly fixed on both the past and the future at the same time, like that extraordinary and perplexing creature this is a band to inspire nothing but imagination and wonder.
About half way through this gig, one of my companions casually asked: “So, what do you think The Boxer Rebellion sound like?”
As innocently as it was couched, it’s a question usually designed to send music writers into apoplexy, a query which demands some sort of mind-blowing insight by response, as if your scribe is a master of the art form like Lester Bangs and Simon Reynolds squared. Under the circumstances there was little to do other than bluff and reply that I’d ‘have to think something up’. As cop outs go, this one was almost total.
There are some albums for which the ‘skip’ button is a bit defunct, and there are some for which the consumer can be infinitely grateful that there is an ‘eject’ button…
Luckily, this latest offering by The Rifles most definitely falls into the former category – unless one is in fear of wearing out the record through over playing, and wants to wrap it up in cotton wool before plopping it into the relevant listening gear and cutting some more rug to it.
From the word go, don’t expect to hear anything here that is dark, or edgy, or slightly ‘out there’, for it doesn’t appear that the collective members of The Rifles are suddenly going to scrap their conventional instrumentation, and songwriting process in favour of taking to the stage and hitting defunct gas ovens with loins of meat, or recording themselves drilling large holes in the sides of Porsche 911s.
There’s only so far an endorsement can go, but Temples have been offered the rare dual accolade of being loved by both Johnny Marr AND Noel Gallagher, the sort of props many other new British bands would sell their grannies for.
That’s not quite the full story of course, as Noelly G was simultaneously using the Kettering foursome as an example of the kind of act sidelined unfairly by Radio 1′s taste-makers – as well, funnily enough, as himself.
On first listen, there’s little denying their chops are fashioned from the DNA of sixties Swinging London, references that probably helped to seal the backwards compliment of having them shooed in the direction of Radio 2.
After a decidedly prolific release cycle which saw three albums crafted by lead singer and chief songwriter Jack Steadman and co through summer 2009 to summer 2011, there has been an unnervingly lengthy wait for the chameleonic indie troupe to deliver their fourth studio album ‘So Long, See You Tomorrow‘, but first impressions are that it was well worth the wait.
Bombay Bicycle Club has often been a difficult band to pin down to any particular genre, representing a key aspect of their indomitable charm as their back catalogue proves. A full spectrum of music deviations – from the abrasive punk anthems found on debut ‘I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose‘, to the follow-up melodic folk harbouring ‘Flaws‘ and the amalgamation of the two styles (with added piano segments and dance inspired bass grooves) on ‘A Different Kind Of Fix‘ – has led to a supposed period of introspection as the band continue to search within for a sound that will truly define them.
There are many bands that go through tumultuous periods at some stage in their career, although for Brooklyn-based Augustines the difficulties branch much deeper than any petty inter-band squabbles or creative differences.
Having recently returned to their original moniker from the adopted We Are Augustines, the three-piece set up comprising singer and guitarist Billy McCarthy, multi instrumentalist Eric Sanderson and drummer Rob Allen are the present day iteration of what once Pela – a previous band tangled up in a string of re-recordings, record label disagreements and the untimely death of McCarthy’s brother James.
The culmination of this cruel luck was the band’s eventual 2011 debut ‘Rise Ye Sunken Ships‘, encompassing a collection of emotionally charged tracks as a response to music industry disillusionment, and a therapeutic tonic to their collective bad fortune. A wholly independent release, they went on to build a loyally dedicated indie community fanbase through an impressive streak of touring.
The dawning of a new year brings with it the usual wave of music press hyperbole and grand statements telling us which bands will be bigger than The Beatles or the best thing since the discovery of penicillin.
In reality, there is inevitably going to be a lot of tripe among the hype that is not worth your time – among the new music to arrive this year is a debut release by Moxy Ru, and thankfully they do not fall into the latter category. On the eve of their second anniversary, the band are gearing up for the release of their first EP and single. Since their conception they’ve gigged at some of London’s most iconic music venues, including the highly revered Dublin Castle which has played host to some of the best bands to emerge in England. Now with an established fan base and a growing arsenal of material they are ready to unleash their first official release – ‘Momento Retro‘.
In some respects Warpaint have been slow starters since forming back in 2004.
While other, lesser acts have already released a clutch of records, this LA quartet have been busy exploring and honing their craft with a constant round of gigging and touring during the intervening years, and are only now releasing that tricky, much anticipated second album – following 2010′s debut ‘The Fool‘ right at the time when there seems to be a notable crop of ‘tre’ cool female fronted acts coming from loosely left field dispositions.
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