Motörhead: The Wörld Is Yours


RIYL: Motörhead

The World Is Yours sounds like Motörhead’s previous album Motörizer, which is to say it sounds like Kiss Of Death, Inferno, Hammered, We Are Motörhead, and most of the other 20-plus albums in Motörhead’s discography. Lemmy growls and scowls, while guitarist Phil Campbell and drummer Mikkey Dee support him by playing as loud and as fast as they can. Its a formula that worked in 1977 (albeit with a different lineup) and it still works today. About the only discernible difference between this record and Motörizer is that Lemmy doesn’t bother with anything close to a ballad this time around. Instead we get non-stop speed metal songs about killing (“Outlaw”), screwing (“Waiting for the Snake”) and just being the all around badass that the 65-year old bass player from hell is (“Devils in My Hand”). The closest thing to sonic experimentation on The World Is Yours is “Brotherhood of Man,” which loops what sounds like a distant soccer chant as the chorus, while Lemmy somehow makes his voice even more menacing by lowering it a couple registers.

Sure, its nothing new. But at this point does it even matter? This is Motorhead sounding like Motorhead, and that’s good enough for us. (Motörhead Music 2011)

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Candi and the Strangers: 10th of Always


RIYL: Blondie, Cocteau Twins, Lush

Forming a dream pop band is one of the ultimate acts of devotion one can commit. No band in the genre ever rose above cult status in terms of sales, but the ones that have done it well will live forever. You have to think that Austin quiintet Candi and the Strangers knows that their commercial potential has a visible ceiling, but God love them for reaching for it anyway. The band’s sophomore effort, 10th of Always, is like listening to the thoughts of a cool girl in love. She feels the same things that everyone else feels but refuses to let it show, so even when the songs swoon – and boy, do they swoon – it’s done so with impeccable taste and composure, and perhaps a bit of detachment. Cool girls don’t lose their shit, you know.

Candi_and_the_Strangers_edit

Fans of Blondie are going to lap up this album, and not just because “Femme Sonique” is a toned-down re-write of “Atomic.” “Nico Regrets” captures both the smooth and edgy aspects of Blondie’s sound, and the epic closer “The Weather Is Here, Wish You Were Beautiful” is like the Jesus and Mary Chain getting their hands on some lost girl group song and turning it inside out. “Glide,” meanwhile, is positively blissed. There are times, though, when singer Samantha Constant’s vocals are a bit too far down in the mix, and despite the album’s consistently strong songwriting, it takes several listens before some of the songs leave a visible footprint. But such is love, even with a cool girl – you take the good with the bad, and with 10th of Always, it’s all so pretty that complaining about imperfections seems petty. (Candi and the Strangers 2011)

Click here to download Candi and the Strangers – Nico Regrets

Candi and the Strangers MySpace page
Click to buy 10th of Always from Amazon

  

White Lies: Ritual


RIYL: Bands that sound like Joy Division, Joy Division

Ritual, the sophomore album from freakishly pale London post-punkers White Lies, opens with “Is Love.” It is a love song about love that goes into great detail about how damn awesome falling in love feels. Is it a sign that the group of anemic goth London boys are looking up? Maybe they finally got some sun?

No. Don’t worry. While “Is Love” does extol the virtues of falling in love, nearly every other track on Rituals is a counterargument to that upbeat track, explaining in great detail why love is a hideous monster filled with dread and despair, and something that should be avoided at all costs.

On “Bigger Than Us,” lead singer Harry McVeigh worries that his significant other may be leaving him because she’s taking a different way home from work, “You’ve never taken that way with me before / Did you feel the need for change?” The somber tone of “Peace & Quiet” is a little more abstract, but its a safe bet that when he bemoans a “great pressure coming down on me,” he’s talking about love. He’s definitely talking about love on “Streetlights,” which opens with the oh-so-cheerful lyric “Hold tight for heartbreak, buckle up for loneliness.”

White Lies are mopey bastards, brought up in the school of Joy Division, combining sparse yet soaring riffs with dissonant melodies, all while McVeigh does his best to sound just like Ian Curtis. So yeah, they’re derivative without an ounce of originality in them. But they’re still fun in their own “I can’t believe they’re serious way.” Besides, there are far worse Joy Division rip off groups that you could listen to. On a scale of Interpol to She Wants Revenge, they’re definitely a high Editors. (Fiction 2011)

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Red: Until We Have Faces


RIYL: Chevelle, Breaking Benjamin, Three Days Grace

Twice-nominated for Grammys and one of mainstream rock’s most successful acts, Red are back with their third studio release, Until We Have Faces. Revolving around the theme of seeking one’s identity (and at least partially-inspired by the C.S. Lewis book, “Till We Have Faces”), this new offering may be the record that Red’s detractors have been foaming at the mouth for. It’s a pretty safe, mainstream offering that sees the band doing what they do best, and not much more. Guess what? It still rocks.

Kicking off with its heaviest track, “Feed the Machine,” Red attack the sound system with a simply epic sound. Featuring heavily down-tuned guitars punctuated with string arrangements and soaring choruses Red’s music personifies “brutal but beautiful.” The single, “Faceless,” is one of the stronger tracks and a very safe radio play. “Let it Burn” and “Not Alone,” in the same vein as previous tracks “Let Go” and “Start Again,” display the band’s penchant for ballads and layered melodies. The closing track, the piano-driven “Hymn for the Missing,” takes on a mythic beauty that holds long after the album is finished.

Red is anchored by vocalist Michael Barnes, whose emotional delivery and at-times wicked scream continues to lift what would otherwise be standard issue rock songs. He’s the perfect fit for what are mainly hopeful, positive lyrics (Red is, after all, a Christian band). The rest of the band is tight, and guitarist Anthony Armstrong carries a one-man army of a tone. Producer Rob Graves, who also produced Red’s previous efforts, knows these guys have a good thing going.

Red are really one of the last truly mainstream rock acts around. They’re heavy enough to bring in fans of more aggressive music, but friendly and catchy enough to cross over to contemporary rock fans. The sensational vocals of Barnes and the beautiful orchestral arrangements really help them separate from the competition. Those expecting progression from a technical standpoint will be disappointed, but savvy veterans content with Red’s place in the musical landscape are going to find a whole new batch of songs to love. (Red Ink/Sony 2011)

Red MySpace page

  

Audio Bullys: Higher Than the Eiffel


RIYL: Primal Scream, The Ting Tings, Basement Jaxx

Yet another lesson in why bands should choose their names carefully. The word ‘bully’ suggests someone aggressive and intimidating (and, conversely, someone insecure and a little scared). The Audio Bullys, however, are no such thing. They’re beat mongering rockers, like Hard-Fi pulling the late shift in an Ibiza club. (Singer Simon Franks and Hard-Fi’s Richard Archer should do a duet, just to mess with people’s head over who’s singing which line.) The band’s third album Higher Than the Eiffel has some good ideas – lead single “Only Man” is armed with one hell of a hook, and closing track “Goodbye” is a nifty modern-day take on the Specials – but is sorely lacking a filter, not to mention an editor. Two of the first three songs contain fragments of ideas stitched together, much like Coldplay’s Viva La Vida, but there is no flow. Why did “Daisy Chains” need to end with an a cappella bit? (Answer: it didn’t.) “Shotgun” is the only song here that takes advantage of melding two separate ideas into a whole, but it arrives a bit too late to care, thanks to the album’s 56-minute (!) run time. Take out some of the clutter, and this bully could have been a contender. (The End Records 2011)

Audio Bullys MySpace page
Click to buy Higher Than the Eiffel from Amazon

  

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