Friday, 10 December 2010

Sun Kil Moon - Admiral Fell Promises

Rating: 9/10
Genre: Acoustic/Alternative
Another release that won't be making the headlines in many music magazines this year is Mark Kozelek's new Sun Kil Moon album Admiral Fell Promises. Following on from the Red House Painters Kozelek has continually delivered great albums to critical acclaim whilst remaining well and truly hidden from the mainstream. His work with Sun Kil Moon to date has all been of sterling quality allowing him to open up and experiment with different styles of music whilst retaining his textbook sombre ballad style.

"Admiral Fell Promises" however is a departure from the variety displayed on "April" or "Ghosts Of The Great Highway" and see's Kozelek go back to basics with stunning results. Oddly the album is released under Sun Kil Moon's moniker whilst the album itself appears to be more of a solo effort but this is of no real importance being that even when with Sun Kil Moon members in tow Mark is still the creating driving force. Fitting to type the album is made up of sombre brooding ballads performed with little else but an acoustic guitar for company leaving the compositions airy and sparse. As usual Mark's expert lyricism is instantly affecting and shows a great level of depth and range in terms of emotion. The lyrics are delivered in his usual mumbled soft tone making it a beautifully soft album with a dream like quality and a thrill to unwind to. Between the songs are classical styled jazzy interludes of spanish guitar. Highlights include the beautiful winding "Third And Seneca" which has the slightest cymbal brushes and has a beautiful instumental mid section. "Church Of The Pines" also stands out with its spanish interludes and overlapped vocals adding an extra dimension of beauty. The only negative aspect is that it is quite similiar to much of Kozelek's material and as such could be seen as a safe choice in terms of the minimal variation.

Overall I would recommend this album to any eclectic music fan. The soft melodies and dreamy vocals makes this an engrossingly beautiful listen, perfect for soothing the stresses of a bad day. Highly recommended.

Download: "Half Moon Bay" "Church Of The Pines"

Chickenhawk - Modern Bodies

Rating: 8/10
Genre: Hardcore/Metal
Hardcore has come a long way since its inception in the late eighties. These days hardcore is so far removed from Punk it is almost unrecognisable and now the term is applied to anything heavier than rock that fails to tick the boxes to be classed as metal. Hardcore has reached quite a boring phase as of late with so many bands out there throwing there hat into the ring relying on nothing but tight jeans an emo mullet dyed jet black with bleach blonde tips and a series of monotomous breakdowns. This is where Leeds based Chickenhawk come in and save the day. With their first release on Brew records (the same label that bring us the beautifully deranged hardcore of Kong and the epic Humanfly) Chickenhawk kick the living shit out the competition with Modern Bodies.

The album opens up with "Scorpieau" some strange digital sound that instantly crashes into a full out aural assault as squealing guitars screech over a heavy low end bass attack as the drums thunder along. The unhinged shouty screaming vocals of  Paul Astick tie this all up very nicely, well I say nicely in all honestly it's almost so psychotic it's scary. The one thing that really seperates this band from the herd is the use of complicated time signatures, rests are used to devastating effect lulling you into a false sense of security before barraging with more lightning fast violence. Other aspects that work very well are the utterly sinister child like group vocals and the use of short interspersed shredding solo's and sci fi distortion. Highlights include the crashing symbols and screeching chorus of "Nasa VS Esa" and the utterly deranged 6 minute "Gravitronic Life-Ray Table" a song with more twists than you can shake a stick at. The only downside to the whole album is that much of the material is formed of rerecorded tracks from their self titled debut, although in balance the band line up has changed significantly enough that this is easily forgiven (The lead singer used to be lead singer and drummer).

Overall if you are looking for something to blow out the cobwebs between your ears this is a great release. If you are however of a nervous disposition this unhinged monster may not be to your liking. A great release from a band destined to do great things. Highly recommended to any metal or hardcore fan.

Download: "Nasa VS Esa" "I Hate This, Do You Like It"

Kele - The Boxer

Rating: 3/10
Genre: Dance/Alternative
Late last year saw Bloc Party take a temporary hiatus as their record contract was completed. After 3 solid studio albums and 2 remix albums the band have decided to take a break and go their seperate ways to try out new projects before reconvening some time in the future. "The Boxer" is one of the resulting projects of this hiatus and sees lead singer Kele Okereke tackle dance music head on. Bloc Party themselves had slowly been making the transition from straight up Indie Rock to Indie Dance hybrid with their last album "Intimacy" mixing synthesizers, samples and drum loops with their guitar driven rock sound. However "The Boxer" really takes this up a notch by almost discarding the rock edge completely.

"The Boxer" is ambitious and daring. Unlike many solo projects it is not just a rehashing of Kele's original band's work but an actual departure from that sound a step into the unknown. The only problem with this is that it hasn't exactly produced great results. The opener "Walk Tall" is a good example of this, the off kilter synthesizers surge against the tight robotic beats to produce dance music that has too many layers clashing at once to be coherent. The album jumps from one song to the next with no real flow with tracks like "On The Lam" attempting to capture a club classic drum and bass sound and falling short due to over sampling. The problem with the sampling is that often an annoying squeaky sound is picked and then recycled repeatedly throughout that track. This wouldn't be much of a problem unfortunately this is potentially the only consistent element running through the record. The only highlights really are the tracks that manage to escape the over cluttering like the simplistic electro of "Tenderoni" and the very Bloc Partyish track "Unholy Thoughts". Unfortunately most of the record falls short of expectations and whilst the album was an ambitious release it seems Kele may have over reached.

Overall i wouldn't recommend this album to anyone except die hard Bloc Party fans. The two or three tracks that are passable do not make up for the rest of the cluttered crap on show here. As far as dance music goes you would be better off sticking with artists who excel at what they do like Holy Fuck or Rival Consoles.

Download: "Tenderoni" "Unholy Thoughts"

Walter Schreifels - An Open Letter To The Scene

Rating: 9/10
Genre: Indie/Emo
Walter Schreifels has always been regarded as a cult legend. His illustrious career began way back in the late 80's as a guitarist in several bands in the New York hardcore scene. Since then he has been involved in many acts such as Quicksand and Rival Schools usually delivering amazing records and then disappearing off the face of the earth before getting any of the recognition they are due. So it is a welcoming sight indeed to see another full length LP arrive with his name on it.

The first thing to note here is this is in essence a very poppy release. Walter has always had a knack for a great melody as much of Rival Schools debut LP United by Fate demonstrates and here is no different. The album as a whole is filled with catchy choruses and beautiful harmonies. The songs are short and sweet and mostly consist of Walter on an acoustic guitar with some light jazzy percussion and the odd sample thrown in here and there to add variety. The whole affair is uplifting and makes for a very summery listen. Highlights come in thick and fast from the opener "Arthur Lee's Lullaby" with it's teasing squeals of electric guitar to the majestic beauty of Walters harmonies on "Save The Saveable". There really are no disappointments with this album from start to finish it is fun fresh and accessible. The compositions seem a million miles away from much of Walter's different bands, the only similarity being the stunning melodic singing, but this is still a very well ronded release. Simplicity seems to be the key to its success as a stripped back sound allows you to focus in on Walter's brilliant musicianship and singing. The only reason this didn't land with a score of ten is its short length, many of the best tracks fail to pass the 3 minute mark. That being said it's still one of the best albums 2010has had to offer.

Overall "An Open Letter To The Scene" is a very well accoomplished solo record from an artist that I always have high expectations for. A follow up to this album is already in the works after completion and release of Rival Schools new album "Pedals" next year (One of my most anticipated recordsof 2011) which can only be a good thing. A great album and a great listen all round. Highly recommended.

Download: "Save The Saveables" "Ballad Of Lil' Kim"

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Film School - Fission


Film School - Fission
Genre: Shoegaze/Indie
Rating: 5/10
Film School have always been one of those acts that have bubbled under the surface of the mainstream audiences. Their innovative mix of shoegaze and Indie earning them a strong underground or cult following.
This year saw the band release their 4th LP Fission which is as ever is a step in a slightly new direction. Whilst never outright rock and always keen to throw in big harmonies against their usual fuzzy and blurry soundscapes this release sees the band step more towards pop and shoegaze than any other record they have released so far.

The general feel of the record is very hazy as is most shoegaze. Big blurry basslines permeate through against minimalist key work, reverb guitars and dual layered vocal harmonies. For the most part the songs are very upbeat and have a distinct poppy feel to them the intro to "Heart Full Of Pentagons" for example is  almost something you would expect from a boy band until the bassline slinks in. I can't even put into words how relieved I was for the song to move on into an acceptable piece of catchy indie. Unlike last album Hideout there is less variety on offer unfortunately and at times the new harmonic dreamy tunes sound twee and sickly. Whilst pop may not be the bands strong suite they still have a good ear for a lovely harmony and tracks like the brooding "Meet Around 10" sound very reminiscent of the airy shoegaze of previous releases. Other highlights include "Nothing's Mine" which sees Lorelei shine as she takes on lead vocal duties as the bands upbeat sounds are given that extra edge by subtle touches of strings. The only issue other than the sugary pop giving you a mild case of diabetes is that many of the songs do blur into one another and are quite uneventful for example closer "Find You Out" which plods along with no real direction.

In conclusion this album is not exactly pushing all the right buttons but is a decent release from a band who are daring enough to mix it up once in a while. Whilst previous releases may outshine this album it's worth noting that Film School change from record to record so even if this isn't to your liking some other new twist is round the corner. Personally I would recommend their 2007 Hideout to new listeners as it has a better range and greater variety.

Download: "Meet Around 10" "Nothings Mine"

The Black Angels - Phosphene Dream

Rating: 4/10
Genre: Psychedelia/Rock
Black Angels return with their third LP Phosphene Dream and yes just like the last time the album sleeve itself is enough to make you queazy. Black Angels pride themselves on authentic Psychedelia and their art work is no different. The 60's for many were a golden era in terms of music. Artists like the doors and the 13th Floor Elevators blew apart the traditional view of what rock could be at a time where music inspired a generation of a shared drive for peace and love. For many bands now the only way to move forward is to first look back and today there are swathes of bands trying to place themselves into this important part of rocks heritage by emulating their heroes. The real benefit is the new technology that is now available allows modern artists to create ever more complex compositions whilst many classic albums were marred by the horrendous production quality of the recordings.

The music the Black Angels make is very traditional  in many senses and mostly consists of fuzzy distorted electric guitars that continue to drone along in time with slow paced beats and Alex Maas's almost Jim Morrison styled crooning with a penchant for the dark and eery. It all sounds very appealing on paper and the heavy influence of the Velvet Underground and 13th Floor Elevators  normally allows for quite an interesting set of songs. Unfortunately Phosphene dream disappoints. The over distrortion leaves each track bleeding into one another lacking the same dark hypnotic rythm of previous releases. Much of the problem stems from the lack of variation over their career, little to no changes have been made in terms of musical style and even with the best writing in the world repetition becomes dull and stale. Whilst the level of musicianship has not lowered most of this album feels like a lazy rehashing of 2008's Directions To See A Ghost. The solitary highlight is "Entrance Song" which provides the only memorable moment of the album with its low end groovey rythm .

Overall this is far from the Black Angels best work. The issue with a band so set in the past is that the musical scene they are trying to be a part of is no more. Only using the past as a reference makes it very difficult to actually make a progression in sound and here has worked to the detriment of the band. This unfortunately makes this album quite dull. I recommend 2008's Directions To See A Ghost instead.

Download: "Entrance Song"

Roky Erickson with Okkervil River - True Love Cast Out All Evil

Rating: 7/10
Genre: Rock/Blues
The truly legendary Roky Erickson returns with his first solo album in a staggering 14 years True Love Cast Out All Evil backed up by fellow Austinites Okkervil River. Roky's tragic life story is that of Rock and Roll legend. His career started as the voice of the Thirteenth Floor Elevators a band deemed by many as the true creators of 60's Psychedelia however due to classic rock and roll excess and the bands pro LSD stand point he was deemed a threat by the authorities. He was eventually made an example of, a miscarriage of justice that cost Roky many years of his life incarcerated in institutions surrounded by murderers and rapists. Due to the psychological damage done by his excessive drug use and the primitive treatments he was exposed to whilst in various mental institutions when Roky finally did get out it seemed as though he was destined to fade away into obscurity. So this come back album is a monumental achievement to say the least.

The album itself works very much like a time capsule of Roky's life. Due to continuous legal battles and Roky's difficult mental health issues much of his solo work was lost or prevented from wide spread release. Many of these songs appear here in re-recorded forms. The album is also held together by several scraps and demoes taken from a massive archive of unreleased material that was given to the producer of the record and front man of backing band Okkervil River Will Sheff. The music here is a million miles away from Roky's classic rock material from his eighties album Evil One and takes on a more acoustic and almost blues like foundation. The majority of the record is made up of stripped back acoustic numbers with Roky's soulful melodic singing voice guiding you through each tale of his trials and tribulations. Whilst much of this record is sad and deals with themes of madness and forced solitude most of the songs remain uplifting and joyful. It seems evident that this is Roky's most personal and intimate album and demonstrates his almost super human ability of survival. The true highlights are the tracks where Okkervil River really get involved in the layering and backing such as "Goodbye Sweet Dreams" a stirring masterpiece with swirling feedback and a beautiful electric guitar solo as it reaches its emotional apex. "Bring Back The Past" is another highlight, a truly upbeat pop rock gem that could have easily fit in nestled amongst some of his earlier solo work.

Overall this album is a great listen the only issue is that due to Will Sheff's admiration of Roky and his work I feel he has aired on the side of caution too frequently. Many of the scratchy demoes are of such poor quality they are almost unlistenable and due to Sheff's reluctance to edit these for most people these will provide very little enjoyment. This release is still worth a go and a deffinate must have for any Roky Erickson fan and hopefully a sign of things to come. It is almost impossible to not be moved by this album I recommend you give it a go.

Download: "Goodbye Sweet Dreams" "Bring Back The Past"

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Oceansize - Self Preserved While The Bodies Float Up

Rating: 9/10
Genre: Alt-Rock/Prog Rock
Like most Oceansize fans I was more than a little worried when they announced that their fourth album would be made up of shorter songs. Oceansize, for the uninitiated, on the whole produce long complicated and proggy rock songs that fuse complex time signatures and  powerful guitar crescendos with sparse post-rock soundscapes. Oceansize managed to achieve a strong cult following similar to many of their peers (e.g. Biffy Clyro) and many of the bands peers have since folded under the pressure that the music industry put on them whilst others commercialised to ensure their survival. So when the manchester quintet stated the new album was going to made up of shorter songs alarm bells began to ring.

These initial fears and doubts are instantly put to bed as soon as "Part Cardiac" pummels your ears with its slow lumbering sludgey opening riff. Then the penny drops, shorter songs doesn't always mean compromise. Oceansize have rarely sounded as heavy as they do here on Self Preserved... leading many to claim this as their heaviest album to date. In reality however this album fits in with one of the most cliched claims a band can make: "The heavy bits are heavier, the soft bits are softer". It seems that many of the lessons learnt from their last EP Home and Minor come into play on softer tracks like "A Penny's Weight" and "Pine". Keyboards and reverb sync with Mike Vennart's soft vocals beautifully making the softer songs welcome rests from the otherwise unrelenting bass heavy riffing. Even after vowing to shorter tracks they still treat the listener to two sprawling masterpieces that nearly hit the ten minute mark in the form of "Oscar Acceptance Speech" and "Silent/Transparent". The other tracks as suggested are fast heavy and driven by the amazing rythm section with Mark Heron's insane drumming underpinning the whole record nicely.

Highlights include the slow building majesty of "Oscar Acceptance Speech" which ends in a beautifully icy string section reminiscent of Olafur Arnalds. The lightning fast "Build Us A Rocket Then..." and the unnerving ender "Superimposter" which slowly builds at an eerie pace towards a truly hair raising droning siren. Overall you'll be hard pushed to find a more robust release this year. This is Oceansize at the top of their game. Highly recommended.

Download: "Oscar Acceptance Speech" "Superimposter"

Monday, 22 November 2010

Neil Young - Le Noise

Rating: 6/10
Genre: Rock/Folk Rock
Not many artists are lucky enough to reach true legend status. Even fewer are able to have a career span over 40 years and maintain the same level of relevance as when they started. So it is no small feat that at 65 Neil Young has released his 33rd album Le Noise. Produced by Daniel Lanois "Le Noise" is somewhat of a departure from Young's trademark folk rock sound and a step in a new direction. Stripped of all his backing it is just Young and his guitar for company as the record unfurls around you.

The music is on display here is some of Youngs most interesting and challenging of recent years. The heavy distorted guitar sound and echoey vocals is very different from the usual acoustic ballads that adorn his solo records. Le Noise sounds more like a spaced out Young and Crazy Horse collaboration with the heavy guitar tones stealing the show and making each track that little more epic. Whilst a vast improvement on his 2009 effort fork in the road, which was a rather shambolic cliched rock n roll record about driving fast cars, Le Noise is still far from Young's greatest achievement. Overall the effects and overlaps of guitars and vocal tracks blur much of the album together making it hard to pick out where one song ends and another begins. The distortion also gives this record a very sparse feel leaving the listener feeling almost disconnected from it. As ever Young's voice is on top form when it breaks out from behind the wall of noise and his lyricism is as personal and affecting as ever which is especially notable on tracks such as "Hitchhiker" and "Love and War".

Overall Le Noise is a brave release for Neil Young. Whilst it is nowhere near his best work it is still worth exploring and a welcome sign that there may well be life in the old dog yet.

Download: "Love And War" "Hitchhiker"

Friday, 22 October 2010

Humanfly - Darker Later

Rating: 8/10
Genre: Metal/Alternative

Many metal bands key weakness is there inability to change their formula. This has never been an issue for Leeds quartet Humanfly, who it seems are constantly evolving into a more impressive force to be reckoned with. Darker Later is no different in this respect as it improves upon the trademark sounds from both their first and second albums mashing both up into a hellishly dark monstrosity. Their debut God Among Insects consisted of fast heavy riffs and hardcore style screams with few of their songs passing the two minute mark. The follow up album II gave a huge nod towards post-metal bands like Isis and Neurosis mixing their heavy riffs with sparse melodic segments with songs often stretching towards to 10 minute mark.

Darker Later sees the band mold these two styles together to make heavier more immediate tracks with subtler melodic and atmospheric tinkerings. In essence they have taken the best aspects from both previous records and created a new entity that is bigger, badder and better than ever. Tracks like opener "This Is Where Your Parents Fucked" surge with the raw power of a lumbering colossus whilst "Stew For The Murder Minded" is a fast paced hardcore racket where the screams of lead singer John try and break through the thick sludge riffs. Another highlight is title track "Darker Later" a dark melodic interlude that serves to make the crushing intro of "Heavy Black Snow" that extra bit devastating.

Overall there is no doubt in my mind that this is Humanfly's greatest work to date. The beauty of this record is the variety because whilst there is a huge range of styles employed all of them are executed masterfully without compromising the flow of the record. Highly recommended to any metal fan.

Download: "This Is Where Your Parents Fucked" "Darker Later"

The High Confessions - Turning Lead Into Gold With The High Confessions

Rating: 6.5/10
Genre: Post-punk/Alternative

The High Confessions are made up of Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth, Chris Connelly of Revolting Cocks/Ministry, Sanford Parker of Minsk and Jeremy Lemos of White/Light. The impressive C.V's of everyone involved with this project surrounded their debut with fevered speculation. What would it sound like being the main question on everyones lips. With all the artists working in such varied genres many were very interested in seeing which sound came out as dominant. The speculation only grew when it was announced the band would be releasing their debut on relapse (a label that predominantly works with metal music).

What the band actually deliver with "Turning Lead Into Gold..." are eerie, off kilter soundscapes that leave you bereft of any reference point to draw. The understated simplistic drone of the music is counterbalanced by Shelley's drums. Whilst all this unnerving sonic racket barrages you Chris Connelly's aggressive sneer barks twisted dark lyrics with bile. The closest point of reference in my opinion would have to be sonic youth's self titled debut but even this falls short in matching the raw animosity and darkness behind this record. The true strength of this record is its atmosphere. The songs clatter along at a snails pace each laced with dread and almost post-apocalyptic overtones the drums and the occasional murmur of guitar youronly guide through the bleak and sparse soundscape. The only flaw with the record is the varied results of these minimalist whims. Whilst the unhinged overlapped spoken word piece "Along Came The Dogs" sets off a truly disturbing reaction other tracks like "The Listener" fall short providing nothing but 17 minutes of jazzy noodling.

The true highlight of this album would be the closing track "Chlorine And Crystal" which unlike anything else on the album provides a more standard song structure and more defined reverb drenched guitarwork. Whilst this album is deffinately not going to appeal to the masses or be to the taste of many, what it does it does well. You will be hard pushed to find a darker atmospheric album this year.

Download: "Dead Tenements" "Chlorine And Crystal"

The Unwinding Hours - The Unwinding Hours

Rating: 10/10
Genre: Post-rock/Alternative

Many a tear was shed in 2007 when scotish post-rock titans Aereogramme announced their departure from the music scene. Crushed by a nine year battle trying to stay afloat in a fickle and ever changing industry had finally got the better of them. Yet a beacon of hope remained as lead singer Craig B announced he would carry the torch on with a new project. February this year saw the fruition of this in the form of the Unwinding Hours glorious self-titled debut. Joining forces once again with Aereogramme guitarist Iain Cook the Unwinding Hours were born.

The music here follows a very natural progression from Aereogramme's final album My Heart Has A Wish That You Would Not Go. Rather than excessive sampling and programming, which was interspersed with frequent shifts in tempo and the occasional scream on earlier Aereogramme material, here we have a more stripped back sedate affair, almost. A few curve balls are still thrown in the listener's way using loud quiet dynamics to stunning effect. This is summed up perfectly on the track "There Are Worse Things Than Being Alone" which starts off delicately before building into a huge crackly wall of noise. One of this records true strengths is not only the strong lyricism but the beautiful delivery of Craig B's vocals. His soft melodic vocals pull you seamlessly in to the emotional centre of each song making the experience powerful, personal and intimate. As with Aereogramme records orchestral backing is used to devastating effect pulling at your heart strings and making each track that little bit more grandiose.

There is also a great range of experimentation on the record from the sonically astounding opener "Knut" to the strange but wonderful "Peaceful Liquid Shell". The true highlight of the album is the closing track "The Final Hour" an emotionally devastating ballad of betrayal that starts as delicately as snow before pummelling your ears with angsty screeches of guitar. Overall this album is quite simply amazing. Filled with a full range of emotion, expertly expressed. Terrific all round.

Download: "Child" "The Final Hour"

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Melvins - The Bride Screamed Murder


Rating: 7/10
Genre: Metal/Alternative
As hard as it is to believe the Melvins career has spanned over a quarter of a century. Whilst other bands would be content with releasing greatest hits albums and touring on the back of songs they wrote at the height of their career the Melvins buck this trend. The Bride Screams Murder (their 20th album) is the third album the Melvins have released incorporating Jared Warren and Coady Willis of Big Business. This is normally mentioned whenever the Melvins are talked about because it has changed their sound tremendously. The real benefit is easily heard with two drummers thrashing out insanely complex drums and dual harmonic vocals the band sounds monumentally loud.

The album opens up with some text book insanity with "The Water Glass" a surreal military like roll call and demonstration in showy drums. The Bride Screams Murder has some truly infectious tracks like "Evil New War God" and "Inhumanity And Death" that are both future fan favourites and welcome additions to Melvins impressive canon. Unlike previous offerings with the Big Business duo on this record the Melvins delve into their playful experimental side seen on earlier offerings such as Stag. Just like on Stag however these end with varied results. The off kilter opener "The Water Glass" whilst utterly absurd and deranged remains punchy and coherent enough for repeated listens. Other tracks however serve as nothing but fluff and wacky nonsense often slowing down the momentum of the record. The true highlights are the sludgey behemoths "Evil New War God" and the sinister Who cover "My Generation". These tracks prove that after over 25 years in the music business the Melvins are still kings of their craft.

Overall whilst this release is marginally blighted with some duff filler the record still remains a rewarding listen. The fact that the band are still producing work of this calibre after over 25 years is nothing short of jaw dropping. Recommended.

Download: "Evil New War God" "My Generation"

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Interpol - Interpol


Interpol - Interpol
Genre: Indie
Rating: 5/10

Few albums released this year could really match the anticipation of Interpol's self titled 4th outing. The band unfortunately are plagued with a fan base at war with itself like many bands these days are. Their prolific career started with a bang with the release of "Turn On The Bright Lights" which instantly turned them into cult indie heroes. The record itself was a beautiful mix of slow laid back indie awash in reverb and fast groovey  dance tunes with hints of grandeur slowly seeping through it. This for many of their fans set a standard that has not been surpassed or even recreated since. Whilst I agree that Interpol's debut is their strongest album I am not in any way hoping for them to recreate that same album again and again to apease the masses.

However this latest offering from the new york based band has left me disappointed. The music follows off in quite a similar style to their previous offering "Our Love To Admire" which contained their first attempts at creating bold, cinematic music. Unfortunately whilst "Our Love To Admire" managed this very well on tracks such as "Wrecking Ball" nothing on this album really grabs the listener here. The first half of the album provides the most solid tracks like "Lights" and opener "Success" both quite brooding and understated to start with but slowly build to fantastic conclusions. Unfortunately as the album progresses the band tend to over reach and the whole "cinematic sound" feels forced and tired often leaving you with the feeling that songs are building towards a moment that never comes.

Whilst I would not say this album is terrible it is far from perfect. Interpol's frontman Paul Banks released a solo album under the moniker Julian Plenti just last year that has surpassed this album in everything it tries to do. That said if you are a long time fan of the band or intrigued try it before you buy it.

Download: "Lights" "Success"

iLiKETRAiNS - He Who Saw The Deep


He Who Saw The Deep - iLiKETRAiNS
Genre: Post-Rock/Prog-Rock
Rating: 9/10
3 years have passed since iLiKETRAiNS last LP, the gloriously epic Elegies To Lessons Learnt, and those three years have felt painfully long. This albums predecessor was steeped in historical research and as the title suggests concerned itself with tragic stories from the past dealing with topics such as the black death, witch trials and the assassination of Spencer Perceval. Needless to say it was a bleak album filled with heartbreak and a great sense of foreboding. For a band to create such an epic and well thought out debut is truly an amazing achievement in itself, however it did set the bar incredibly high for their follow up.

More than three years later after funding issues and going independant the record has finally arrived. Before the release various band members alluded to a shift in direction and from just one listen it is apparent what they meant. Rather than scouring the depths of human misadventure in the history books the band have instead shifted focus to the future.

David Martin paints a macabre picture of the future with his chilling barritone vocals, again acting as a morbid announcer, ushering in dooms day. Whilst again producing another slice of epic post-rock which retains their indelible stamp they are not just repackaging an old album with a twist. The true brilliance of this album comes from the more traditional use instruments. Whilst its predecessor saw practically every song drenched in reverb and atmospherical tweaks here we have the band coming as close as they are ever likely to be to "rocking out". Squeals of feedback and more pronounced percussion and rhythm makes these songs almost strangely accessible for the uninitiated. This isn't to say there isn't reverb or synths as they are present in abundance throughout making this an album that the "die-hard fans" won't reject.

The record itself is also more varied than Elegies in terms of tone with certain tracks like single "A Father's Son" almost sounding upbeat. Whilst the subject matter of death and impending doom is found throughout the record the mood peaks and trophs almost to suggest an acceptance of the end. A truly rewarding listen all round. Highly recommended.

Download: "Progress Is A Snake" "Sirens"


Hello and welcome. My name is Andrew and this is my blog. As the title suggests this is going to be a music blog. I plan to write album reviews and short band bios as well as blogs centred around the ever evolving music industry. Please note I am not a grammar nut so there will more than likely be a few mistakes here and there I apologise in advance. I'm only human.

The reason for starting this blog is really just to give myself a place to rant about music. I'm pretty passionate about music and have found that in real life as I go off on a rant peoples eyes start to glaze over because most people don't give a shit. Rather than expecting everyone to start giving a shit I figured it'd be a good idea to have a place where I can rant forever indeffinately without anyone listening so here we are.

To put an end to any pointless questions over the name Captain_Of_Lies:
  1. I'm not a captain nor have I ever been one.
  2. The name is taken from a track by Yourcodenameis:milo featuring Jamie Lenman and Guy Davis of Reuben from Print Is Dead Vol. 1. Both bands are very dear to me and have since broken up.
  3. I adopted this name for use in Biffy Clyro's forum and have stuck with it ever since.
Thanks for your time ladies and gents.