Sunday, 6 June 2010

Music Mid Terms: Mini Reviews From 2010 [Pt. Un]

The quality albums and big name releases came thick and fast from mid-March onwards, creating a backlog of reviews just begging to see the light of day here on Heavier - Than - Air. Really, the iPod went on strike under the sheer pressure of burgeoning reminder playlists. 

Though the odd tweet acted as a minor release valve, the only sensible method for relieving the pressure before the situation goes all BP is a series of mini-reviews, getting the point across without the customary rambling that we've all come to love - love it....right?? - of these pages.  

To wit, here are some you might have missed:

The Besnard Lakes The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night

Cosmically languid with enough memorable material to keep the interest high throughout, something lacked by its predecessor, The Besnard Lakes Are the Dark Horse. Although this one has no such overwhelming sensory peaks as Devastation, it's a more consistent piece of work and an absolute joy to listen to as you zone out of life, the universe, and everything.

MP3: The Besnard Lakes - Albatross
[via Jagjaguwar]

Buy it at Insound!

Harper Blynn - Loneliest Generation

Covered frequently herein but never fully reviewed, it's enough to say that these guys have the pop melodies of The Beatles and the sublime vocal harmonising of Simon & Garfunkel, all brought up to date for a 2010 audience. 25 Years and Above The Noise stand out to my ears, though in truth all the songs here are memorable and each could be a single in its own right. The digital version made the H-T-A top albums with a squeezed in, mid-December release, yet it's tempting to consider it again for this year simply to bump it higher up the rankings. A stellar debut that sets the foundation for an already outstanding band to spread their sound much farther afield than NYC.

MP3: Harper Blynn - 25 Years

Buy it at Insound!

She & HimVolume Two

The light, summery tones of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward's second (duh) outing hit a little earlier than the sunny months with a March release, but when the songs are this lush it would be poor form to make an issue of it. From the lilting opener Thieves and its bright, cheery companion In The Sun, all the way through to the reassuring hum of closer If You Can't Sleep, this album has the quality song writing and pop sensibilities that ensure it will appear on many a year end list. Before we plunge ourselves prematurely into winter, however, let's make sure it sound tracks our respective summers eh?

Buy it at Insound!

Phantogram Eyelid Movies:

With a distinctive groove and sultry vocals that recall Portishead on more than one occasion, Eyelid Movies has quickly moved from a pleasant exploratory purchase to an album I need to listen to on most days my eyes (ears?) are open. Though not everything hits the highs of the first two tracks or my choice cut, the moody bombast on Bloody Palms, there is certainly more than enough to hold the interest of even the casual listener. With strong variations in emotion and tempo, this duo hit a number of highs and make repeat spins a must. Highly recommended and a case in point that, if the price is right for a breaking level band, ears will prick up to them.

MP3: Phantogram - When I'm Small
[via Insound]

Buy it at Insound!

Broken Bells Broken Bells

Accompanied by hyper-hype, given the union of indie-rock icon James Mercer and renowned beat master Danger Mouse, this debut delivers some great tracks but fails to maintain this quality across its fairly short 37 minutes running time. Cuts like The High Road, The Ghost Inside, and October blend their skills wonderfully to create a contemporary fusion of melodic indie-pop with undeniable, swaggering beats. Unfortunately there are a few 'skip' moments too, be it the unassuming loitering of You're Head Is On Fire or the equally meandering Trap Doors , preventing the wholesale success lauded upon the album before it had fully settled.

MP3: Broken Bells - The High Road

Buy it at Insound!

Plenty more to come this week, so stay tuned. I can feel the stink eye of my little musical BFF lifting somewhat already....let's never fight again....?

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