Something went wrong. Try again later

callumbay

This user has not updated recently.

611 118 22 11
Forum Posts Wiki Points Following Followers

REVIEW: Los Campesinos! - Hello Sadness

No Caption Provided

It feels like Hello Sadness has been such a long time in the making, when in fact it's only been around 18 months since 2010's brilliant Romance is Boring. A lot has changed within the band; some members have departed and there have been some new arrivals. Although they are still a seven piece, the dynamics have changed quite drastically.Los Campesinos!, as a band, have only been making music for just over five years, and in those five short years we've seen 4 albums and 2 EPs, all of which are solid releases. You would think that the speed at which they release would have a detrimental effect on the quality of their work, but that is not the case, in fact it's the opposite. With each album, they seem to get stronger and stronger as a band, and with Hello Sadness they don't seem to be stopping that tradition any time soon.

The album deals with the themes of breakups, sadness and death, as is telling from the record's title, but it does so in a surprisingly upbeat fashion, although not to the extent of their previous work. There are some lulls in the pace (Hate for the Island in particular) but for the most part they keep it moving upward and onward throughout all of the ten-tracks.

Frontman Gareth's ability to conjure vivid images in their listeners' minds is ever present across the record, with vast use of metaphor mixed with very down-to-earth lyrics that makes it feel like something we can relate to while still keeping it on multiple levels. For example, in a highlight of the album The Black Bird, The Dark Slope Gareth uses the image of a blackbird extensively to represent the dark side and flaws in him, and in all of us, and how they hold him back. In contrast, some songs, such as By Your Hand are very much grounded in reality, with lyrics such as "'cause we were kissing for hours / with her hands down my trousers / she could not contain herself, suggests we go back to her house" that we know and love from Los Campesinos!

Musically, the album is a lot more conventional in the way its structured and how it will be viewed in the eyes of the general public as far as indie-pop goes. It all feels a lot more toned down but this fits the overall mood of the album well. Gone is the sporadic shouting and distortion on most of the tracks, leaving a more refined, grown-up album.

It'd be hard for a band to beat an opening track like In Medias Res from 2010's effort, but Los Campesinos! try their hardest and might have just succeeded. By Your Hand, the lead single from the album, starts the album off with a bang. The song is filled with sing-along choruses, Gareth's trademark, biographical lyrical styling's and arguably one of the catchiest melodies of the year.

The hooks found in their previous work are not lost in the transition to their new sound though. Songs like Baby I Got The Death Rattle and the eponymous Hello Sadness have massive triumphant finishes, and a hell of a lot of energy. Hearing a crowd shout the words "not headstone, but headboard / where I wanna be mourned" is quite an unforgettable experience, and just shows the emphasis LC! can put into their music while still maintaining their tongue-in-cheek nature.

Although it may sound like I'm overflowing with praise for the record, it's not all gravy. The final track on the album, Light Leaves, Dark Sees pt. II, feels like a missed opportunity. The track is a lot slower than others found on the album and with lyrics like "but they request that I leave / 'cause my sad eyes are too much to bear" it attempts to be a coveted emotional finish (a la Coda: A Burn Scar in the Shape of the Sooner State from RIB) but seems to miss the mark completely. The song then divulges into a chorus of woaaaah's from the rest of the band, it all seems a bit contrived. But that's only a slight knock at an otherwise brilliant collection of songs.

Hello Sadness sounds like a record made by a band who know what they want to do and are proud of that fact. They've always been associated with keywords such as 'quirky' and 'twee' but they've countered those views by making a record that is their most accessible yet and maybe they'll attract a bigger audience now with what might just be their strongest album to date. Heck, they deserve it.

9/10

1 Comments

REVIEW: Alex Turner - Submarine EP

 Release Date: 14/3/11  


No Caption Provided

 

 When I heard that Alex Turner, main singer of The Arctic Monkeys, was writing the soundtrack for the much buzzed-about debut feature film from writer, director and comic actor Richard Ayoade, who you may know better as Moss from The IT Crowd, I could not be any more excited. The coming-of-age comedy-drama concerns one Oliver Tate, a fifteen-year-old outcast who has two missions in life currently; to lose his virginity and to stop his mother from leaving his father.

The EP see’s Turner in mostly unknown territory; gone are the upbeat electric-guitar driven sounds that The Arctic Monkeys are renowned for, instead we’re left with a peaceful, acoustic foray filled with romantic imagery.

Turner’s voice is at its peak on this recording, fitting in with the soothing instrumentation to create a highly relaxing sound which complements the film’s tone extremely well. All the tracks on the album implement a fairly simple arrangement of instruments, but it’s the subtle choices that make the dynamics of the album work so well together.

The standout track is definitely ‘Stuck on the PuzzleIt’s signalled that this is really going to be something special by the fact that the first track is an introduction to this track, building up anticipation. That’s not to say that the rest of the tracks are not vital to the overall experience, very much the opposite.

Turner manipulates imagery of everyday situations and synthesises them with surreal metaphors to create unique stories. Lyrics like “If you’re gonna try and walk on water/make sure you wear your comfortable shoes” really highlight the contrast between reality and surrealism that Turner is trying to pinpoint.

The only thing worthy of criticism here is that it’s over a little too quickly. With a running time of just under twenty minutes, it seems to finish just as its getting into its stride. Maybe that’s a testament to the quality of the music at hand here; it meanders by so unobtrusively that you don’t seem to notice how quickly it’s gone by.

Given Ayoade’s past collaborations with Arctic Monkeys as director of numerous music videos as well as a live DVD from them, it seems like a perfect fit for Turner to return the favour. The result is a soundtrack which couldn’t really have really worked out any better.

9/10


     
1 Comments

Top Albums of 2010

As I can't really see my list changing this December I thought I'd put my list up now! I might have missed out some albums but these are the ones I reallly enjoyed this year... 
 
 1. Los Campesinos! - Romance Is Boring
2. LCD Soundsystem - This is Happening
3. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs 
4. Wild Nothing
5. Laura Marling - I Speak Because I Can
6. Gold Panda - Lucky Shiner
7. Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
8. Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles (II)
9. Pulled Apart By Horses - Pulled Apart By Horses
10. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
11 Sleigh Bells - Treats
12. Perfume Genius - Learning
13. The Black Keys - Brothers
14. Broken Bells - Broken Bells
15. The National - High Violet
16. Twin Shadow - Forget
17. Four Tet - There Is Love In You
18. Warpaint - The Fool
19. Ratatat - LP4
20. Broken Social Scene - Forgiveness Rock Record    

1 Comments

My top 15 tracks of 2010 so far!

This is it. My first blog. I decided to make a list of my top 15 tracks of the year, 9 months in, because I'm impatient. Here we go!
 
Note: I'm not going really going to elaborate on my choices that much because I feel like if you just listen to all the songs on it you'll see why I chose them ;) And I'll make a Spotify playlist so you can listen directly to the playlist from the link! (although I have a feeling that not all the track are on Spotify, we'll see.) 
 
1. Dance Yrself Clean by LCD Soundsystem from the album 'This is Happening'.
2. Empathy by Crystal Castles from the album 'Crystal Castles (II)'. 
3. Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) by Arcade Fire from 'The Suburbs'.
4. Rill Rill by Sleigh Bells from the album 'Treats'.
5. Chinatown by Wild Nothing from the album 'Gemini'.
6. The Sea is a Good Place To Think About The Future by Los Campesinos! from the album 'Romance is Boring'.
7. Mr Peterson by Perfume Genius from the album 'Learning'.
8. Rambling Man by Laura Marling from the album 'I Speak Because I Can'.
9. Down By The Water by The Drums from the album 'The Drums'.
10. Everlasting Light by The Black Keys from the album 'Brothers'.
11. What's In It For? by Avi Buffalo from the album 'Avi Buffalo'.
12. World Sick byia Broken Social Scene from the album 'Forgiveness Rock Record'.
13. Sorrow by The National from the album 'High Violet'.
14. O.N.E by Yeasayer from the album 'ODD BLOOD'.
15. Cousins by Vampire Weekend from the album 'Contra'. 
 
Here's a link to a Spotify playlist of most of the tracks! (as I suspected, some weren't on there, only Arcade Fire and Avi Buffalo though.)

1 Comments