Thursday, 29 October 2009

Album Review: Editors - In This Light And On This Evening

Album: In This Light And On This Evening
Artist: Editors
Singles: Papillon
This new album from Editors is a very interesting change of direction from their usual stuff, embracing the sound of synths for a fantastic new album. There are huge anthemic moments, there are beautiful moments, and there are some really catchy songs on there.

In This Light And On This Evening
From the first note of this album, you can tell it's going to be huge. The album sounds like it knows where it wants to go, and this song is a great starting point. It is a very dark, intense song, and it builds up slowly while Tom Smith repeats a weirdly poetic lyric ("I swear to God, I heard the Earth inhale, moments before, it spat its rain down on me. I swear to God, in this light and on this evening, London's become the most beautiful thing I've seen.") a few times before the song launches into an insane instrumental where all the synths crash wonderfully into one another. A very strong opener.

Bricks And Mortar
It's only the second track and we're already onto six minute epics. This is my favourite from this album. It is led by a fantastic synth riff repeated throughout the song. This is another build-up song - first come the drums, then the bass, then the synths, then the vocals, then some backing synths... etc. The best part is when the drums get going about a minute in. Then two and a half minutes in, it launches into a huge chorus backed by a choir, as Tom tells us "this home is more than bricks and mortar." The song then adds some odd instrumental noise before it calms down for a story about a boy becoming a soldier, before launching into one final chorus, and then it keeps up the synth riff to the end. Absolutely fantastic stuff.

The first single, clocking in at five and a half minutes, is another long song. Its synth riff is a stroke of absolute brilliance. The line "it kicks like a sleep twitch!" is odd, but guaranteed to get some crowds chanting along live. It seems to be the song with the most simplistic song structure on this album, but is catchy and keeps up the amazingly high standard the album has set so far.

You Don't Know Love
"You don't know love like you used to. You don't feel love like you did before" opens this song, rumoured to be the second single (a well-chosen one at that). The song returns to a dark mood that shows the band making full use of their synth sound. And just before you were getting bored of having no guitar, in comes a fantastic guitar solo that, despite its repetitiveness, perfects the song for its final two minutes.

The Big Exit
The most raw song on this album. It pretty much only features drums, an odd mechanical noise that crops up every so often and vocals for the first couple of minutes, save for a chorus backed by one lone synth. It is very much an album track, unlikely to make it as a single, but will work (and has worked) well live. Towards the end it turns into a massive crash of vocals chanting "They took what once was ours" with drums and synths that sounds incredible. Odd, but brilliant.

The Boxer
This is my second favourite song from this album, and builds up slowly with synth noises and piano before a beautiful synth riff joins them. A very downbeat song, but with a massive chorus that manages to pack a lot of emotion into it. It sounds huge, particularly the second time round, when Tom continues to sing in tune with the synth riff. It reminds me of some parts of the band's previous album, An End Has A Start, particularly The Weight Of The World. The ending of this song, with Tom singing "dazed in the final count" with a fantastic mix of synths, is absolutely staggering. Brilliant song.

Like Treasure
Very much an album track, and in my opinion the weakest song on the album, but still very good indeed. It really sounds good when it gets to the random instrumental synth bits at the end. But it's not as memorable and instant as most of the tracks on this album. I'll be amazed if this becomes a single (despite its popularity amongst a lot of Editors fans (at least, amongst ones that I know))

Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool
Interesting title. Slightly disturbing, and the only song I've ever heard that has an equals sign in it. Inventive. But regarding the music, the song is another brilliant, raw, anthemic masterpiece. The drums, at first, seem a bit weak, but then they smash in for the massive chorus, that sounds quite poppy, particularly with the seemingly uninventive lyrics "I give a little to you, I give a little to him, I give a little to her." One final anthem before the deep beauty of the final track, which is...

Walk The Fleet Road
"A winter wind blows, in from the north" opens this final song. The humming throughout the song sounds great, and this song is another indication of how well Editors can use their synths to full effect. Like The Boxer, it manages to pack a sense of emotion into its chorus. It's unusual that this is the shortest song on the album; usually the last song is quite long, but this one is the only one under four minutes on the entire album. It does feel like it ends too quickly at the end, but shows that the band can tinker with their normal formula and still make it sound completely stunning.

Overall, the new sound is a welcome change of direction. Of course, I wouldn't complain if they went back to guitars, but they seem extremely comfortable with this new synth sound. They have used it to make an absolutely brilliant album. Despite having only nine songs, the album flows wonderfully. There are little bits here and there that don't sound perfect, but that's just me nit-picking and doesn't spoil the enjoyment of the album. As such, I don't feel as though there's anywhere I can knock points off. Therefore, I give this album:

For the record, their previous albums: The Back Room (8/10), An End Has A Start (7/10)

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Album Review: Muse - The Resistance

Album: The Resistance
Artist: Muse
Singles: United States of Eurasia (free download), Uprising, Undisclosed Desires

The band who were recently voted "best act in the world today" fully deserve the title with an album like this. Although the band explore a new direction (in fact, several) on this album and let their creativity run wild, the results are wonderful.

Immediately we are thrown into the wonderful new world of Muse with synths and chants of "oi." A wonderful opener to the album. Catchy and upbeat, this song was a well chosen first single and shows off Muse at their best.

An ethereal synth opens this track, before a piano and drums join in to start the song, and also the build up to a great chorus, as Matt Bellamy declares "love is our resistance." It is odd that although this song is six minutes long, it doesn't seem like it, and it feels like it's all over too quickly.

Undisclosed Desires
Muse stray far from their usual sound in this song. It's amazing, though, that they can still make it brilliant. It is catchy and has a great chorus, and is definitely one of the highlights of this album.

United States of Eurasia (+ Collateral Damage)
When this launched as a free download back in July, I thought that this would be one of the weakest on the album. And I was right. I think it is the weakest on The Resistance. It still sounds good, but some moments you can't help but laugh at the ridiculousness of it all, especially when Matt's singing about "Eurasia! Sia! Sia! Sia!" And I know this has been said a hundred times before, but there is definitely the sound of Queen in there, particularly when the song gets going (listen to "When there can be only one!!" for an example). The second part of the song, the (+ Collateral Damage) part, for all its calmness and peacefulness it has, seems rather pointless. I won't say it's out of place, because this entire album changes its sound every single song, but it just sounds like something tagged on the end. Well, that was a long rant - shall we move on?

Guiding Light
The plane sounds from the end of the previous song flow nicely into this song, as a powerful drumbeat starts up. This song sounds like it came from the eighties, with its synth sounds in the background. There is a rare guitar solo (at least from this album it's rare) that, unfortunately, is really short, but while it lasts, it's good. There's no moment here that gives you shivers or makes you go "Wow!" like most Muse songs, but it is a fantastic song nevertheless.

Unnatural Selection
My personal favourite, this seven-minute epic reminds us of the usual Muse sound, with its magnificent guitar riff and chorus. Halfway through, it becomes slower and allows for some more great guitar, before launching into the chorus for one last time. It is one of the best songs Muse has ever written, in my opinion.

MK Ultra
"The wavelength gently grows, coercive motions re-evolve..." Eh? What are you singing about now? That aside, this is another brilliant song from the album. The guitar at the start sounds epic, and it only takes a minute and a bit to change into a quieter part where all we hear is "they're breaking through" and "we are losing control" before the song comes back for a second verse and the final chorus. One of the shortest on the album at four minutes, and worth every second.

I Belong To You (+ Mon Coeur S'Ouvre A Ta Voix)
Another example of Muse pulling off a new sound that before now, I wouldn't have thought possible. I was gladly mistaken. It is catchy, and Matt's singing is great - though his French accent in the middle of it all is a bit off. But nit-picking aside, this is a good song as well as the rest of this inconsistent album.

Exogenesis: Symphony Part 1: Overture
The moment the first violin came in, I got goosebumps. It is that good. The strings are wonderfully arranged, and Matt is back to singing in a very high voice - one of the very few singers who can actually do that (and make it sound good). The moment the guitar came in, I got goosebumps again. This song sounds absolutely epic, but then it is the first (and the best)part of a three-part, thirteen-minute, Muse-written symphony. My only criticism is that this song ends far too early. It takes three minutes for the guitar to come in and you expect they're going to really get going on this song, but no, it's over a minute later.

Exogenesis: Symphony Part 2: Cross-Pollination
Piano opens this part with some strings backing it, then the singing comes back, before it turns to a heavier sound (a heavy sound for the symphony, that is) before returning to piano again. This part, to me, doesn't seem to be anything special.

Exogenesis: Symphony Part 3: Redemption
A peaceful and beautiful ending to a fantastic album, leaving you feeling relaxed, particularly when it fades out towards the end. Funny that five songs ago, we were listening to a massive rock anthem, and that ten songs ago, we were listening to a catchy piece of synth-led rock.

Whilst this is one of the most inconsistent albums I've ever heard, it is one of the greatest. I think it may be Muse's greatest. I know many Muse fans who loved Origin of Symmetry may not enjoy this album, and some will. Unfortunately for them, Muse may never make an album like Origin of Symmetry ever again. Just so you know, I was never too keen on their second album. (Or their first, come to that), but I loved Absolution and Black Holes & Revelations.

For the record, their previous albums: Showbiz (4/10), Origin of Symmetry (6/10), Absolution (9/10), Black Holes & Revelations (9/10)

Preview Only Revolutions

You can hear previews of Biffy Clyro's fifth album on iTunes now. I love the sound of the first half. Not too sure about the second half though - Shock Shock and Cloud of Stink seem good, but that's about it. Hopefully, I'm proven wrong.

Waking Up Stuff

OneRepublic's second album, Waking Up, will be released 17th November. Tracklist:
01. Made For You
02. All The Right Moves
03. Secrets
04. Everybody Loves Me
05. Missing Persons 1 & 2
06. Good Life
07. All This Time
08. Fear
09. Waking Up
10. Marchin On
11. Lullaby



Thanks to some computer repairs that took eight bloody weeks to complete, I haven't been able to update this site. Since then, Muse and Editors both released some fantastic albums, which have been on my speakers endlessly since their releases. My (amateur) reviews will be up soon.

Any news about other bands that I have heard about will be put up first though.