Sunday Suggestion – Arcade Fire – Reflektor

Reflektor’ is a single from Arcade Fire’s fourth studio album Reflektor that was released in 2013 and produced by the great James Murphy. The album may not have the complete quality of their third album, but it was still a very strong album and it largely made up their up-beat and simply wondrous Glastonbury headliner. The track has percussion and a rhythm riff that creates a solid hook. The vocals are spaced out well and sit perfectly above the instrumental core with the switch to French on the bridge keeping you on your toes and adding to the variety. The burst of the horns too; gives the hook an extra kick as well. The song goes on to take up a highly atmospheric build up and instant fall as it realigns itself back to normal which is something which won’t fail you when done in such a way. Even Bowie makes a brief appearance too. Despite being crammed full of different elements and three different vocals; nothing kills off anything else and they’ve utilised the plus seven minutes they had to good effect to really spread everything out and keep the atmospheric quality of it as well as retaining a lot of room for the different sound progressions and melodies.

Single Review – Pooltheory – The Dreamer

‘The Dreamer’ is the debut track from Pooltheory and showcases what is a smooth and panoramic sounding track from with very little effort. The track opens with an open acoustic rhythm which expands outwards once the echoed vocals enter the fray. From this the track sweeps in waves as the music floats off into the distance. A anchor is applied to the track’s instrumentals with a simple drum sample and this only invites the instrumentals to grow and expand even further outwards in a richer fashion with what is a wonderfully produced track with a lot of relaxed energy and effortless sonic quality about it.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Chasing Yesterday Review

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds Chasing Yesterday stream

Love him or loathe him, this man is a musical stalwart and a pretty iconic one in many peoples opinion (probably his too) and with every Noel Gallagher penned album from Oasis’ debut LP Definitely Maybe in 1994 to the High Flying Birds self titled debut in 2011 have reached number one.  He’s been very vocal about everyone else’s music recently (or in other words since 1994) and (as always) he has to justify his critique of everyone from Taylor Swift to Alex Turner by delivering the goods himself. With this in mind it’s the first album that sees Noel take charge of the production as well as the writing with his long-term producer Dave Sardy moving into the film industry “because obviously the music-industry is dying on it’s fucking ass.” As other producers told him it was already finished he went on to take matters into his own hands and produce it himself. He admitted that he doesn’t even like the title Chasing Yesterday but it’s the music that matters, but is it up to standard?

The first track to be released from his album is ‘In the Heat of the Moment’ and it would seem he has largely dropped the earthy feel of his self titled debut solo LP. The track has more of a buzz plus a more enthusiastic beat and rhythm to it. The subtle percussion of the intro becomes more isolated and crisp as you head to the verses, with a grinding, distorted guitar and a spacious feel born out of a very fine synth chime. It’s no massive departure and it’s one that wasn’t wholly expected, but if anything it shows Noel’s vocals can still hold their own in this track of welcoming melodies, foot stomping rhythms and the familiar man in the middle…’The Ballad of the Mighty I’ is Gallagher’s collaboration with Johnny Marr and is one of the strongest tracks on the album with it’s ringing guitars, sweeping strings and vibrating bass line that are strung between soft piano intervals. There is a constant culmination of sound lead by Noel’s vocals that give the track several peaks to fixate upon. This track shows a subtle approach towards recording the guitars that keep them from being overbearing, yet keep them as a prominent part of the track and more so than his last album. The strings too are used as an integral part of the song and certainly give the track a greater fluidity and smooth progression. A credit to Noel the producer.

‘Lock All the Doors’ is a proper rocking track that is quite akin to the Foo Fighter’s recent efforts particularly in the chorus with it’s united and directed melody and hooks. It’s certainly an upbeat and strangely old-style track, but one that you haven’t really heard from Noel before. A nice and inoffensive track, but one that isn’t about to set the world alight. ‘The Mexican is a track that has a bit of a musical attitude and swagger about it that is more in your face with it’s solid rhythms and it’s meandering bass line accentuated with a warped filter and a more bullish vocal performance to deliver more self assured lyrics. A lot of the tracks on the album certainly have shades of his debut LP, particularly with ‘The Girl With the X-ray Eyes’ and ‘The Dying Light’ etc. and it’s almost like they’ve been stretched to fill up the album. Though these tracks have a greater sonic quality than those of his debut album and they present him as an ever capable lyricist, but you feel like more could have been achieved in those more core parts of the album. Having said that, the album’s flow is brilliant and there isn’t a poor track to be found and two things worth noting were some of Noel’s greatest guitar work and the quality of the production. So is it up to standard? Yes, easily. Is it a game changer? Of course not, but it’s certainly worth a listen.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Chasing Yesterday = 7.5/10

Musical World Tour – Netherlands – De Staat – Devil’s Blood

Single Review – Crocodiles – Crybaby Demon

Crocodiles - Boys album cover

San Diego’s finest fuzz inducing, lo-fi rockers return with the follow up from 2013’s Crimes of Passion with their upcoming fifth studio album entitled Boys which is out on May 5th. In what they are calling ‘Salsa Rock’ this album recorded in New Mexico, the lead track ‘Crybaby Demon’ certainly has the familiar elements of Crocodiles sound with the distorted vocals and the lo-fi guitars. With this track though, they do a slight bit of rhythmic quality about them and they actually generate another catchy track from it which is no mean feat. The problem with this track is that the duo are in danger is not making any real progress with their sound and if you’re going to boldly stylise your sound as ‘Salsa Rock’ then you need to.

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