Sunday Suggestion – The Clash – Clampdown

By the turn of 1979, The Clash had become the enduring force of Punk that the Sex Pistols would not be. But at this time, they were starting to enthuse their punk with reggae and elements of new wave into their sound which culminated in on of the greatest albums of all time with London Calling. It is one of the most influential pieces of political statement in music that has been produced on this island. Almost every song was not just the worthwhile fusion of genres and truth telling. One example from the vast array on this album is ‘Clampdown’. Musically, it is the simple, yet effective combination of Strummer’s rough and unmoved vocal along with Mick Jones’ softer and more delicately animated vocal. Not only offering the harmony but the depth and a shifting nature in addition to this. The instrumentals carry out the same tasks with the jolting percussive beat, the rough wash of the guitars and the bass line anchor with the wiry lead guitar solos and ringing organs. This changes with Jones’ sole vocal part with the guitars shimmering and glistening in all directions. The lyrics too are about the endless, fruitless work of people in the capital system and with subtle references to the rise of Nazism and Revolution too. A song with as much lyrical relevance as musical relevance and it’s simply a hook filled anthem on top of that too. A token of the Clash’s talent and legacy.

Sunday Suggestion – The Clash – Clampdown

By the turn of 1979, The Clash had become the enduring force of Punk that the Sex Pistols would not be. But at this time, they were starting to enthuse their punk with reggae and elements of new wave into their sound which culminated in on of the greatest albums of all time with London Calling. It is one of the most influential pieces of political statement in music that has been produced on this island. Almost every song was not just the worthwhile fusion of genres and truth telling. One example from the vast array on this album is ‘Clampdown’. Musically, it is the simple, yet effective combination of Strummer’s rough and unmoved vocal along with Mick Jones’ softer and more delicately animated vocal. Not only offering the harmony but the depth and a shifting nature in addition to this. The instrumentals carry out the same tasks with the jolting percussive beat, the rough wash of the guitars and the bass line anchor with the wiry lead guitar solos and ringing organs. This changes with Jones’ sole vocal part with the guitars shimmering and glistening in all directions. The lyrics too are about the endless, fruitless work of people in the capital system and with subtle references to the rise of Nazism and Revolution too. A song with as much lyrical relevance as musical relevance and it’s simply a hook filled anthem on top of that too. A token of the Clash’s talent and legacy.
 

Elvis Costello & The Roots – Wise Up Ghost Review

Elvis Costello is back with a new album but this time with help from The Roots who he met after several encounters on the Jimmy Fallon show in the States. The ultimate result of this is the album Wise Up Ghost and it looks like another intriguing collaboration with what Is mainly an instrumental hip-hop group. When you look at the various sounds Elvis has worked with including Punk, Pop, New Wave, Ballads, Folk and so on then it doesn’t sound so odd. You know that the lyrics and vocals will be a little eccentric and off the beaten track so to speak and the pressure is very much off Elvis Costello due to his already legendary status but it’s still a bit of a gamble that would do him no harm if it pays off.

The track released in July called ‘Walk Us Uptown’ is evidence that his most recent collaboration looks to stand up to his past ones. There is no doubting the Reggae/Ska beat and rhythm of the track that is very similar to some of The Clash’s later work and Joe Strummer’s solo work. Costello’s voice, recorded in that isolated fashion, sounds as if it’s been recorded closer than the music which is by no means faded into the background and it see’s for a happy compromise. Costello’s lyrics and delivery also fit the music well and it’s not awkward or forced like most collaborations; but they’re easy in each others musical company and they gel well together. ‘Sugar Won’t Work’ is more of a strutting and smooth song musically. With the deep, indelible groove from the bass and the organs providing the melody and the vocal harmonies placed typically but it works for what it is. It see’s Elvis go from his all out vocal to his deep impression of the other Elvis and there’s no real worry about how his vocal sits as it can usually hold itself up with the music without having to isolate the vocal in the studio either. Not a jaw dropping track but one that showcases everyone’s capabilities as players, vocalists and producers.

‘Wise Up Ghost’ almost sounds like a late Wings or early 80’s McCartney track with deep pool of synth sounds and the string sections which then lead in to a rip-roaring 80’s like guitar power riff or something. But when the electronic beat starts to kick in then it begins to come into its own. Costello’s vocal is tinged with echo but its also rather immediate and slightly haunting in that sense. ‘Stick Out Your Tongue’ has a similar quality and sound to it as ‘Sugar Won’t Work’ with it’s groove and its smooth flow but there’s more of an atmospheric feel and it’s a little more spaced out and has some room to fluctuate which Elvis does with his vocals at times which puts it ahead in that sense. It’s like the complete version of ‘Sugar Won’t Work’. ‘Tripwire’ is the ‘Alison’ moment of the album in that its the slow loved up ballad which Elvis does well. Naturally the musical composition is basic and has standard features and Elvis’ vocals are still up for the task on such an intimate style. The album in terms of musical composition and style uses a lot of tried and trusted techniques that are always going to be utilised to their max with someone like Elvis Costello; but you get the odd surprise too and it’s clear that he and The Roots bounce off each other well throughout the album so the collaboration worked and will have been a welcome surprise for Elvis Costello fans and for anyone just looking for some well structured and well-played music.

Elvis Costello & The Roots – Wise Up Ghost = 8/10

Images from www.antiquiet.com / www.pastemagazine.com 

Album Taster – Elvis Costello & The Roots – Walk Us Uptown

After several encounters on the Jimmy Fallon show in the States, The legend that is Elvis Costello decided to work on a collaboration with The Roots who are said to make a ‘hip-hop’ sound with actual instruments. The result of this is the album Wise Up Ghost and it by no means raised any of my eyebrows like Paul McCartney’s collaboration with Bloody Beetroots earlier this year. McCartney is just one of many collaborators that have worked with Costello and he has a wide range of sounds from Punk, Pop, New Wave, Ballads, Folk and so on. The track released in July called ‘Walk Us Uptown’ is evidence that his most recent collaboration looks to stand up to the rest. There is no doubting the Reggae/Ska beat and rhythm of the track that is very similar to some of The Clash’s later work and Joe Strummer’s solo work. Costello’s voice, recorded in that isolated fashion, sounds closer than the music which is by no means faded into the background and it see’s for a happy compromise. Costello’s lyrics and delivery also fit the music well and the album as a whole looks to be an intriguing one that will probably vary in tone and genre. Wise Up Ghost is out in September so look out for it.

http://youtu.be/9lfhafgiONU

Image from www.brooklynvegan.com