Thurston Moore’s 19th album, Inspiral Carpet’s first album for 20 years, The Coral’s latest effort – 12 years after their debut, and …Trail of Dead’s 9th LP, 16 years after their first release.
The Coral are back with their fifth full-length release The Curse Of Love. The band will be familiar to many, from their early days of Dreaming of You, Pass It On and In The Morning. Unfortunately they have never achieved these kind of dizzy heights since, with their last Top-40 single coming in 2007. Thankfully, however, their fanbase has remained strong: all of their previous LPs achieved Top-20 status. It’s with similar optimism we delve into The Curse of Love. Wrapped In Blue has a pleasing allegro vibe to it. View From The Mirror takes the tempo down a notch or two, and the overall flow of the album is grateful for it. Gently is evocative of Yellow Submarine. Essentially, the album adds enough variety and entertainment to be a worthwhile listen, but fails to offer a stand-out single-worthy track-of-note. The Choral continue their evolution into an above average album-band. It’s difficult to believe they would still be recording, 12 years after their debut, if they only had one excellent song on each of their albums. Instead they’ve given us 12 perfectly adequate ones.
When it comes to the award for overtly longwinded band names …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead are definitely in the running. Don’t let that put you off, however, as their ninth album IX is a very strong outing. Tracks are anthemic, without being obvious – a great sign of longevity when it comes to music. Initial influences seem to come in the guise of Scandinavian garage rock (The Hellacopters et al.) The album shows a good level of maturity compared to the immediacy of early releases. Track 6 The Dragonfly Queen spins yarns in the same vein of fan-favourite Mistakes and Regrets, but comes across more like OCS indie anthem The Day We Caught The Train. How To Avoid Huge Ships follows, and sounds like the second half of Clapton’s Layla, with added seasoning à la Explosions In The Sky. This album takes many turns, and unveils more on each pass. The sign of a true classic.
In the Year of Comebacks little could come as close to front-page news as Inspiral Carpets’ new LP. It has been two decades since their last full length release. With band members now being only a decade away from collecting their bus passes, we were hoping this would not be a cringe-worthy affair. We were pleasantly surprised. The album is as vibrant and essential as the band’s seminal output, influencing many 90’s Brit-Pop bands (including one guitar technician called Noel Gallagher, who went on to form Oasis). Enough of the history lesson, what about the album? Tracks such as A to Z of My Heart and Changes do have a slightly weaker punch to them, compositionally speaking, but there are few weak tracks here. Hey Now sounds like a bunch of teenagers having fun… in a band… with their mates… And it’s great fun to hear too! Let You Down featuring John Cooper Clarke is as iconically British-swagger as you could imagine. Which sums the album up well. Sometimes good fun music is just that; fun. And we should be eternally grateful to Inspiral Carpets for bringing us this joyful nugget.
Thurston Moore harks back to the heyday of Sonic Youth, with his latest solo release, The Best Day. Track opener Speak to the Wild sounds very much Sonic Nurse, with familiar riffs and key-changes aplenty. Great, but not that original for an opening song. Forevermore feels epic in its intensions: like going on a journey, without having been anywhere (both literally or metaphorically!) Quite early in the album for such post-rock adventures. Tape contains eastern influences in the strings, whilst Detonation has a distinctly Mark E. Smith of The Fall style to the delivery. Vocabularies sounds too much like an album opener to be down the playing order, however Germ Burn is a great instrumental, which would work well as a good “side-A closing track”. A few different influences show themselves throughout, however this is primarily a Sonic Youth album, minus a few key faces. It’s a shame the running order makes so little sense.