Single Review – FIDLAR – West Coast

“A Call To Arms for Suburban Teenagers” was one of the critiques of L.A guitar thrashers FIDLAR and their latest album Too and as well as many of us not really buying into their style, we’re not really buying into the waves of middle class teens swooning over them as a statement of style over substance. That final statement sums up the album and this single ‘West Coast’ as if they haven’t already screamed out the fact they’re from California and they like it. With almost every track from the album this one has thrashing guitars and screaming pop-punk vocals. It is another track that has managed to travel forward through time from 1999, blissfully unaware of the changes of the last two decades. There’s no doubt that their live performances are an manic experience, but with the volume high and with big enough speakers then anyone could have an audience that manic.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Lana Del Rey – Ultraviolence Review

Lana Del Rey returns with her hotly anticipated third studio effort and with a new approach. Ultraviolence is produced by The Black Key’s Dan Auberach which is a smart move as he’s successfully produced a few groups now as well as co producing The Black Keys albums. Perhaps the main gain is that it is just one producer and not the multitude she had for Born To Die. It was an album that fell down as some songs were produced far better than others and this is a problem she won’t have this time around and it will only be a good thing for her and the flow of her third LP. The last piece of the puzzle is Lana herself. ‘Born To Die’ was brazen, bold and provocative but hammering the point home or offering up an alternative could work for her either way, but the latter always holds that risk of failure.

West Coast is the first single off Ultraviolence and the progression is evident from the off. The sleek, streamlined sound is given life by the oscillating sounds and the refined melodic riffs feeding off it. It generates a fluid sound that changes shape for the chorus and just as easily slip backs into the verses. On top of this, it is intertwined with what is Lana’s more tuneful and haunting vocal that is spread finely to filter back into the sounds while the main body of her vocal sweeps over verse and chorus and the songs dynamic structure showcases just what she can do as a vocalist. A charged and pulsating track. ‘Shades of Cool’ still has that wonderfully distant and subdued feel of the previous single, but unlike the undulating pulse of ‘West Coast’; this track is a delicately formed ballad with the traditional thin instrumental arrangement with strings, the gentle pluck of the guitar and the brush of the snare drum. This song is made by Lana’s vocal. It trembles and rises to higher tones with comfortable effortlessness and is more of a fragile, floating swoon as opposed to the more driven and direct vocal of the previous track. The big guitar solo breaks the entrancement a little, but it just as gracefully falls back into place. If this track has taught us anything, it’s that Lana is becoming a far more versatile vocalist than even ‘West Coast’ had suggested and this has perhaps been unlocked by Auerbach and his production.

‘Ultraviolence’ operates more on the stylish and graceful grandeur of ‘Shades of Cool’ but with darker and shadowy undertones and corners of the production and the lyrics. Lana’s relaxed and throaty sound resonates against the echo of the stuck piano as she shifts to the sweeping and chiming vocal that floats through it’s own echo and the carefully placed strings. All of this is loosely tied together by a simple strike of the drum. The parts of the song are so intricate and basic, yet they are maximised to their fullest extent and potential to form a soothing and tragic sounding piece of pop music. Though it was something she had many a stab at back in 2012; it is here that she has found a way to convey it’s feel with sincerity and fragility that makes it much more believable. ‘Brooklyn Baby’ again sees a shift in vocal and style packaged through the strung out and distant production. The soft, undulating riff is glazed over with the space around it and then Lana’s swooning soar over it all. So then falls back to the close and intimate vocal on the verses where the echo pitches back and forth across the whole space of the song. The lyrics here are more sentimental and the subdued and slightly obscured feel of the track almost realises a hark back from the past. ‘Cruel World’ opens the album and offers up similar twist and turns to ‘Brooklyn Baby’ with the subtle rise and falls of sound. The vocals again rise and fall with it. The eerie and wiry vocal at the close of the verses and the low slung slur of the chorus. ‘Old Money’ has Lana’s more solid vocal set around the piano and string ballad instrumental which ever so timidly fluctuates as it dares to increase it’s volume. The slung out and gentle rock of ‘Pretty When You Cry’ features a bold, yet simple riff as it twangs and twinges before the drums lay themselves down upon it. It does go and indulge in a few too many ripping leads riffs at the end of some tracks and this is no exception. There are also a few occasion where it can get a little repetitive despite the album’s effortless flow and beauty of arrangement and production and perhaps the sort of feel of ‘West Coast’ and it’s ideas weren’t exploited as much as they could’ve been. Nevertheless, this is a sizable improvement on Born To Die and Ultraviolence has showcased her development as a vocalist with much more versatility and dynamism.

Lana Del Rey – Ultraviolence = 8/10

Image from lanadelrey.wikia.com

 

Single Review – Lana Del Rey – Shades of Cool

Lana Del Rey continues the intrigue over her upcoming third studio album Ultraviolence and follows up on the release of the dazzling ‘West Coast’ last month. It showed early signs of promise from the Dan Auerbach produced album and could be a sign of the how albums potential as a whole. This will likely be the result of having just a single producer and one with experience at the other side of the microphone with The Black Keys as opposed to having several with Born To Die. ‘Shades of Cool’ still has that wonderfully distant and subdued feel of the previous single, but unlike the undulating pulse of ‘West Coast’; this track is a delicately formed ballad with the traditional thin instrumental arrangement with strings, the gentle pluck of the guitar and the brush of the snare drum. This song is made by Lana’s vocal. It trembles and rises to higher tones with comfortable effortlessness and is more of a fragile, floating swoon as opposed to the more driven and direct vocal of the previous track. The big guitar solo breaks the entrancement a little, but it just as gracefully falls back into place. If this track has taught us anything, it’s that Lana is becoming a far more versatile vocalist and this is perhaps been unlocked by Auerbach and his production.

Image from popdust.com

This Weeks Music Video with Lana Del Rey, Manic Street Preachers, Wild Smiles and Metronomy

Lana Del Rey – West Coast

Manic Street Preachers – Walk Me To The Bridge

Wild Smiles – Fool For You

Metronomy – Reservoir

 http://youtu.be/Azf0BVBrJ0c

Single Review – Lana Del Rey – West Coast

Lana Del Rey has returned in the run up to her Ultraviolence LP which is set for a June 2nd release, which could prove to be perfect timing for her to take advantage of the summer sound for 2014. Her third album is produced by The Black Key’s Dan Auberach which is a smart move as he’s successfully produced a few groups now as well as co producing The Black Keys albums. Perhaps the main gain is that it is just one producer and not the multitude she had for Born To Die. It was an album that fell down as some songs were produced far better than others and this is a problem she won’t have this time around and it will only be a good thing for her. ‘West Coast is the first single off Ultraviolence and the progression is evident from the off. The sleek, streamlined sound is given life by the oscillating sounds and the refined melodic riffs feeding off it. It generates a fluid sound that changes shape for the chorus and just as easily slip backs into the verses. On top of this, it is intertwined with what is Lana’s more tuneful and haunting vocal that is spread finely to filter back into the sounds while the main body of her vocal sweeps over verse and chorus and the songs dynamic structure showcases just what she can do as a vocalist. To see the advancement of this track alone against her last album is pretty damn exciting and more than I expected. It’s brilliant to be proved wrong and I hope the fundamentals of this track are carried on through to the rest of the album.

Image from popdust.com