Album Reviews: January 2005

 

The Others - Others (Pop Tones)

3 single releases, we caught just one of these, but what a single, 'Stan Bowles' was a perfect introduction to the arrogant irrelevance that The Others inspire, you may well catch a sideward's sneer coming from these guys, and undoubtedly from this glance you'll gather just how inspiring this band are. I'm uncertain as to their ages or even where they're from, but this 4-peice for me capture what I heard as a child in the punk movement that was then appearing, I'm afraid that I may've missed the boat on this one as I'm no longer a teenager with hunger in my eyes, but I can look on and marvel at the energy that this band are crafting.

As a debut album this really is a work of art, 12 songs that adhere to
melodies that are not bloated and self indulgent, but instead are songs that capture the life and energy of youth. If you imagine this band as the son's of The Buzzcocks then I don't think you'd be far off. Rarely you come across a group that are not only exciting and energetic, but come from the most unlikely places, for me The Others are that band, raw and uncomplicated. Undoubtedly political to the core, in a time when we are all conditioned to believe we are all living in a time of opulence, this is indeed a rare thing. An album of true honesty. 10/10

Nick James

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LCD Soundsystem – LCD Soundsystem (DFA/EMI)

Anyone who picked up on the genius DFA compilations reviewed by yours truly towards the end of last year will be aware of LCD Soundsystem already. And no doubt will be big fans!

This album is an extension of the energy and excitement generated by the few releases that we have previously seen. Strong, tough tracks with intelligent and humorous lyrics riddle this debut album. From track one, ‘Daft Punk is playing at my house’ you are jumping around, wildly trying to gain some rhythm (oh sorry that’s just me!!) but really soaking up the attitude. The great thing is, this is dance music at its best! Its not what you expect, there are no repetitive droning sounds, laced with special synthy effects. What is there is tough, rock based strings and bass with true punk origins, thumping beats and an energy and attitude that makes you think f*$& it!

Tracks of particular mention are ‘Movement’ – great lyrics and tough sounds dropping into a true rock guitar spree, ‘Never tired as when I’m waking up’ – a mellow, contemplative classic, superb vocals, this one will linger, ‘Disco Infiltrator’- pure genius, tough, rockin, rushin, punk funk for our time!!! And the finisher to CD one ‘Great release’ is just the perfect cherry on the funkiest tastin’ Swartz valle de kirsches tort ever!!!!

CD 2 is very much more of the same with great tracks like ‘Losing my edge’ and ‘Yeah’ of which there are two versions.

If you are going to buy one dance album this year, and I know it’s early yet, this has got to be the most serious contender. A child of our time!!!! 10/10

Nic Caesar

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Emiliana Torrini - Fisherman's Woman (Rough Trade)

The Icelandic maiden's second album, since releasing her debut 'Love in the Time of Science' in October 1999. As I'm listening here I can't help wondering "what does this remind me of, there's something there with which I can grab onto?", then suddenly it comes to me, the music of a floating refrain, the singer's pitch and style; it's 'The Cranes' and Alison Shaw, the group's vocalist. If not as dark and foreboding, this singer has whipped her musical coffee with one of those devices that brings a light fluffy head to this beverage of audible treats. But if you sign off on this album after hearing just a few tracks worth, then let me tell you it's worth sticking to, as it does mature in the listener's head and will have you returning to sample some more of this delightful product.

I can hear why Emiliana took so long to craft this collection of songs, any quicker and it would been like rushing the souffle, to take it from the oven and see the crown deflate and fall flat onto the tray. On track four 'Lifesaver' this singer seems to achieve a styling that pays tribute to that of Ian Brown as she draws out her breathy presentation to the creaking masts of a boat as she explains to the songs subject that their affair is over. This album is a beautiful work of art, where the words intertwine with music that might appear so fragile it's set to break, but is in fact strong in structure and will last longer than listeners fickle whim.


You've really got to hear this album, unlike the harsh environment from which Emiliana comes, this album could be described as the first day of spring in a clear landscape, or the day following the first fall of snow, when only natures footprints disturb the delicate surface. 9/10

Nick James

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The Fiery Furnaces - 'EP' (Rough Trade)

It's not as if we haven't been here before, 'EP', as its title in a round-a-bout way suggests is a collection of EP's previously released by the brother/sister combo, 2 in fact. These received a less than emphatic reception on their write-up's. a 6 for 'Tropical Iceland' released in February 2004 and a 7 for 'Single Again' (July 2004), making a mean marking of 6.5. The album fared similarly, achieving 7, alright so these scores may be considered 'alright', but 'alright' is not quite up to the potential I see this group achieving.

On listening to this collection of songs put together in this way, I can see that The Fiery Furnaces are somewhat of a slow-burner. Whereas when I first heard their album 'Gallowsbirds Bark', I found this really quite hard to warm to, but these EP's are a different story and although they didn't have me jumping about the room, they did posses a quality that was more in keeping with an afternoon spent confined to your own head space. And having spent such time, I'd like to grade these up 1 point (or 1 1/2 if you're being picky) and award... 8/10 Not bad for the group once described as 'The White Stripes' younger siblings.

Nick James.

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