METRONOMY – Love Letters
Album #4 opens rather tentatively with sparsely instrumented tracks like “The Upsetter” and “I’m Aquarius”. The songs sound vaguely unfinished – almost like demos. And the pace never quite picks up for the rest of the album. Presumably, Metronomy was not interested in simply replicating meaningless dance rock numbers. Good for them.
FUTURE ISLANDS – Singles
Synthpop is best utilized when it provides the instrumentation for classic pop songwriting (re: Depeche Mode’s seminal Speak and Spell LP). Glad to report that Future Islands understand this concept perfectly well. Probably one of the finest evocations of 80s synthpop out there that deserves to exist because of stellar songwriting. Kudos.
TOKYO POLICE CLUB – Forcefield
These indie pop-rockers blast off with the 8 1/2 minute infectiously rollicking “Argentina Parts I, II & III” and immediately, it’s impossible not to start jumping! The rest of Forcefield does not disappoint either. TPC does well with the noughties Strokes-Franz Ferdinand template with sharp hooks and knowing rhythms. Feel good album of the week!
OWLS – Two
There may be a thirteen year between albums but the reformed Owls have basically continued from where they left off in 2001. Oddly enough, this was the quirky and obtuse music I expected from the new Metronomy album. Opaque and impenetrable at times, songs like “Four Works of Art” and “Surprised….” will thrill fans of offbeat geek pop.
ASIA – Gravitas
The progressive rock supergroup return with a new album without guitarist Steve Howe – who is replaced by Sam Coulson. Longtime fans will be familiar with the drill – bombastic anthems, epic melodies, virtuoso instrumentation and wall-to-wall pomposity. But seriously, the sound has desiccated and will not appeal to anyone but a diehard fan.
CIRCA ZERO – Circus Hero
Andy Summers returns to rock! With collaborator Rob Giles, Summers sounds like he has been given a new lease on life with an exhilarating edgy rock music that recalls the best pop-rock of the 70s and 80s. Giles is no slouch with an appealing voice that works well with Summers’ renowned guitar work. Worth checking out!