King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Quarters
The 60’s psychedelic vibe of King Gizzard’ invokes the sound of the 13th Floor Elevators. Pulsing, minimal solos are filled with pleasant guitar expressions. Even though this LP contains 4 ten minute tracks, the traditional 3 minute sections on opener The River seem disparate. It comes across as inoffensive a piece of music as you could ever imagine.
Infinite Rise contains a stuttered build up, cut short with pleasant yet psychedelic lyrics. The repetitive melody wears thin way before the 10 minute mark. Great production redeems it in parts, which is the album’s hidden charm. God Is In The Rhythm sways pleasantly from Yellow Submarine’ Beatles to The Animals like a Sunday afternoon amble through the park. Mmmm…. Nice! Track 4 The Lonely Steel Sheet Flyer eventually throws in a psych cliché of bongo and synth style guitar here and there, however it seems a little forced given the previous half hour. This band has some great ideas, but should focus more on writing a good song and less on grandeur concepts. Their pop sensibilities should really shine brighter.
Special mention: band name 11/10
Shilpa Ray – Last Year’s Savage
When one of your best features is your broken teacup of a voice, it’s best to start an album with a big performance. That’s exactly what Shilpa Ray has done on the opening track Burning Bride from her new LP Last Year’s Savage. Thankfully the album continues with a big BIG performance from the New Yorker. Part Nick Cave, part Debbie Harry, the album is a real treat that deserves to be heard. This album takes great artists, lets them all show off their natural skill, but brings them all together in a wonderful selection of music.
Lone Wolf – Lodge
This is Lone Wolf’s 4th album to date, and starts out like a comforting blanket. Piano, horn and falsetto vocals set an otherworldly haze of calm before a pouncing Lone Wolf engages with some Philip Glass style minimalism layered with devastating lyrical expressions. Speak easy style lounge brass floats in and out like a mist behind cutting piano beauty. Some of the more interesting moments feature a pounding bass guitar track adding a doomlike inevitability to the music. The album will divide, with some finding strength in the heart on the sleeve singing, and some will become alienated with the constant bombardment of romantic realism.
Slaves – Are You Satisfied?
Album opener The Hunter contains enough stop/starts to hook you in for an explosive time. Then… Cheer Up London swaggers on to the scene with more teen angst than is realistically comfortable. Sometimes clichés work out quite well, but this stinks of a parody of a parody of a good thing. Think part Mighty Boosh, part Nathan Barley.
The band sing about staying true, and not working for the man or selling your soul… But that feels exactly what they’re doing here! A half decent tune + some salt of the earth anti-establishment lyrics = a nice big paycheck. What’s more, their key demographic are probably still 3 or 4 years off needing to earn a living, so they’re not exactly starting a revolution here.
Ninety Nine starts with a repetitive riff of sorts that has some nice buzz and distortion, but by this point on the album you know he’s going to start singing soon and it will all go wrong. Slaves need to take a lesson or two from recent groups like Pulled Apart By Horses et al for examples of how to write good brawling song for their generation. Or better still, dig out some Joe Strummer LPs and see how to really drawl over a microphone.