Album Reviews 19/06/09
Black Eyed Peas - The E.N.D (Polydor) will.i.am has been rethinking the concept of the album. Rather than them being the final part of a long creative process, the Black Eyed Peas main man reckons albums could mark the beginning of a new creative take.
For this album — subtitled Energy Never Dies — he encourages fans to tinker with the tracks via his blog and has promised would-be remixers to make their efforts readily available.
Suitably energised by his remake-remodel theories on the album, will.i.am has reinvented his band's sound, too. Soulful hip-hop is given a wide berth — enter electro-dance songs featuring electronically treated vocals. It's a welcome diversion from the group's increasingly formulaic offerings. The album could have benefited from being trimmed back substantially — a frequent fault with the band's albums. But for those who had become jaded of the tiresome Fergie, The E.N.D. offers a chance for reappraisal.
Burn it: Boom Boom Pow
Wavves - Wavves (Bella Union)
It is not often that a hotly tipped band gets bottled off stage at Barcelona's super laid-back festival, Primavera, but that's what happened to this San Diego outfit earlier this month.
Frontman Nathan Williams subsequently blamed a cocktail of ecstasy, valium and Xanax for his shoddy performance.
If stoner rock, surf-pop and guitar feedback are your thing, then you will find plenty to marvel at here. Williams' openness about his drug-taking will hardly surprise anyone who listens to this album — much of it seems to have been made amid a haze of mind-bending stimuli. Even the title of one of the songs, Weed Demon, leaves little doubt.
Of course, all this could make for horribly self-indulgent music, but it is to Williams' credit that he mixes the commercial and experimental with aplomb.
The track So Bored will generate a reaction at polar ends from that title.
Burn it: Goth Girls; So Bored
The Holy Roman Army - How the Light gets In (Polydor)
Dublin-based Carlow siblings Chris and Laura Coffey have sensible day jobs — a doctor and psychologist respectively — but it's their musical sideline that's getting them noticed. |Although they have written songs together for more than a decade, it is only in the past 18 months or so that their ideas have gelled into textured, atmospheric electronica featuring laptops, synths and live vocals.
This debut is an intriguing snapshot of the band’s progress to date.
Stephen Shannon of Halfset provides an exemplary production on songs that touch on elements of shoegaze, indie and trip-hop.
Their professional work provides much of the dark lyrical content and one can imagine Tricky really pushing the material into exciting new places.
In their sunnier moments, the Coffeys give Morcheeba a run for their money.
Burn it: Berlin