Jun 6, 2011

2011: Arctic Monkeys - Suck It and See

Suck It and See is Arctic Monkeys' fourth studio album. Eight years since forming it seems they have come a long way in changing their style from hard-hitting indie-rock to a more alternative suit. Suck It and See seems like a more natural transition from Favourite Worst Nightmare than Humbug. Yet they are still oceans apart.

On Suck It and See the band mixes the darker sides of rock with glossily produced indie-pop ballads.
Here songs are either dark and grindy or rather sentimental and softly sung.
The songs are solid and highly enjoyable. However the production doesn't seem to suit the Monkeys very well and doesn't give the album enough lasting value. Some of the songs even border on getting slightly tedious with each listen.
It's a good album though, but just hope that next time around the Monkeys will pick one style and stick with it. This feels more like a disappointment that could have been something more, rather than a successful change in artistic direction.

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Jun 3, 2011

2011: Battles - Gloss Drop

Gloss Drop, Battles' sophomore album, is a tough album. It has the drums kicked up to eleven and enough complex song structures to make even the most hardcore fans dizzy.

Starting the album is "Africastle", which is a very strong opener with delightful textures and bombastic drums that also fuel most of the album. But you'd almost wish more of the songs were like it;
A slow build-up, which reveals expertly placed ripples of guitar that unexpectedly and cleverly shifts the melody of the song. Moments like that are missed later in the album when the sometimes dizzying electronics take center stage. Thankfully, the rest of the songs on the album do make for a highly entertaining listen.

Gloss Drop
is a collaborative effort, with 4 of the songs featuring guest vocals. Most refreshing of these is "Ice Cream" featuring Matias Aguayo, who brings melodic joy into a the workings of the album.

A minor problem with the album is that some of the songs aren't engaging enough and it therefore sometimes feels more like a musical exercise than an effort in songwriting. But despite that, Gloss Drop is a skillfully crafted album, which doesn't leave you doubting the band's musical skills. Instead it rather leaves you pleased with the band's unique approach to alternative music.

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