Posts Tagged ‘Regina Spektor’

Assorted Music Reviews

In Culture on April 4, 2012 at 11:36 PM

Kasabian – Velociraptor.  4 stars

Kasabian seemed to have mellowed with the birth of Sergio ‘Serg’ Pizzorno’s first child if the evidence of this album (not their interview) is anything to go by. For Velociraptor is a far more mature, coherent and rounded album than the self-titled one the Leicester lads burst onto the scene with, aiming to give a kick up the backside to all the supposed whining indie kids dominating the hearts, if not charts, of British music fans. The two following efforts, Empire and West Rider Lunatic Asylum followed up with a few great songs, such as Empire and Underdog, but much filler and confused mess.

Velociraptor kicks off with their standard classic rock riffage of Let’s Roll Just Like We Used To and Days Are Forgotten, which should suit down to the ground Kasabian’s stereotypical fan-base of cocksure young lads. But the album should earn them a wider fan-base, because they have, possibly for the first time, backed up their charisma with consistently good tunes. The Psychadelica of La Fee Verte makes no bones about its inspiration with its Beatles nod (“I see Lucy in the Sky / Telling me I’m high ),but is executed with enough class to make it more than a pale imitation. Another highlight is the paranoid, electro-inflected I Hear Voices.

It’s an art to make an album so indebted the 60s and 70s sound important, but Kasabian have – finally – mastered it.

Pixie Lott – All about tonight. 4 stars.

An attractive young blonde singing over a dance beat about how she’s going to go to a club, drink, dance and possibly even bag a new fella doesn’t break any musical boundaries, much less solve the banking crisis or shed light on the Amanda Knox trial. But when the chorus is so infectiously huge as to be the work of some omnipotent deity of pop, this does not matter one jot.

Sak Noel – Loca People. 1 star.

Anyone that wants a reminder that summer is over, need do no more than listen to this faecal matter. It comes on like some awful hangover of the summer party season; intoxication seemingly the only excuse for enjoying a robotic feminine voice repeating ‘all day…and all night’ ad nauseum over a beat largely indistinguishable from a pre-programmed keyboard beat.

Niki and The Dove – The Drummer. 5 stars. 

The Drummer, in which Malin Dahlstrom sings of being a drum, is as brilliantly mad you would expect from that description and the fact that Niki and the Dove come from the spiritual home of eerie Electronica: Sweden. But it matches this craziness with a downright great pop tune. It wouldn’t come as a surprise if Niki and the Dove were, in fact, the result of a cynical, high-tech experiment taking Robyn, Lykke Li and The Knife and coming up with something even better than the sum of the parts. Even if true, I’d probably listen. Whatever they put in the water in Sweden, it needs to be bottled and sent over to the offices of Messrs Cowell…snabbt.

Lucy Rose – Scar. 4 stars.

Lucy Rose is basically a carbon copy of Lucy Marling (herself not unlike many others). Or Alas I Cannot Swim-era Laura Marling, anyway. Since, ol’ Laura has become more mature, wintry and, frankly, just a little trying to listen to. There are no such worries with Lucy Rose, though. While not exactly being revolutionary, this lovely lament to young love, lust and loss, sung with an incredible voice, means that doesn’t matter one jot. Or maybe that’s just this reviewer, who frankly is just a little besotted with Lucy (creepily so?), and wants to join her in, just like she does in the video, Scar, skimming stones, driving in an open-top vintage car, and climbing in a treehouse and wondering around non-descript parts of London looking all indie ‘n’ that.  And indulge in some of her home-made jam and tea she offers to fans at gigs. The soppy twat that he is.

Regina Spektor – All The Rowboats. 4 stars.

All self-respecting muso’s favourite kooky arty woman returns with All The Rowboats. From the intro, it sounds like her near three year sojourn has been spent partying in German electro club, but soon the familiar jaunty twinkle of Regina’s trademark piano kicks in and it’s all pleasingly arty, fan stuff – a salutary tale of the trials and tribulations of characters in the pictures of boats she sees. It also has a discernible tune and melody which is a nice – not necessarily typical – inclusion. Rowboats is just another example of Ms Spektor flitting between the real world and her hyperactive imagination – like her very own Inception. Here’s hoping no-one finds the tell to her totem.

Bon Iver – Latitude

Bon Iver has only just emerged – musically and emotionally – from the heartbreak-induced musical cocoon that saw him cooped up in a Wisconsin log cabin, mourning (or moaning) his loss of the titular Emma of the first album. While usually lovely, in large doses the relentless earnestness could grate. (Everyone’s broken up with someone, so the criticism that he should grow some fucking balls and get over himself is harsh but not totally unfair). His second album, though, has seen him open up, exploring North America’s forgotten backwaters and all attendant emotions with a broader sound, delivered with a bolstered backing troupe, encompassing horns, synths, organs and electric guitars.  Make sure to catch him playing these big shows quick so he doesn’t return, sullen and unloved, to more masturbatory musical carthasis in some sensitive loner’s paradise like Alaska or Iceland – which plays magnificent host to his Holocene video. For that would be a shame, as he’s a great musician and seems like a nice bloke too – if too nice.

Similarly pleasing to the ‘middle-class bedwetters’ (myself somewhat included) that seem to proliferate at the wimpy/uber-cool/pretentious Latitude should be demure indie songstress Laura Marling; Devonian folk-pop singer Ben Howard; bonkers yet lovely (and fit) shamanic mystic Bat For Lashes; and Elbow (though it’s acceptable in all quarters to like them because they’re down-to-earth Northern lads). All great, as with many others, but thankfully there’s loads of good comedy too to prick the balloon of (possible) pretentious, soul-searching wankishness. Can’t wait.

Joel Durston