Capsule reviews of new music that has been released in the last couple of weeks.
WARPAINT – Warpaint
Dreamy atmospheric drones are the order for the day on the sophomore effort from this Los Angeles-based quartet. Very high on ‘feels’ and rather low on songcraft per se, the attention to sonics and rhythms somewhat circumvents any melodic deficiency in evidence. Which is fine, as Warpaint’s modus operandi is to lull listeners into a feel-good chilled out mode. Good enough.
CIBO MATTO – Hotel Valentine
Miho Hatori and Yuka Honda are back with a concept album that involves “a love story and ghosts in a hotel”. Two years in the making, Hotel Valentine is a brilliant mix of a range of electro-pop movements – with elements of acid jazz, trip hop, space age bachelor pad & electro-funk being liberally sprinkled over songs like “MFN”, “10th Floor Ghost Girl” and “Deja Vu”.
TEMPLES – Sun Structures
Wonderfully retrodelic! From the opening “Shelter Song” with its playful psychedelia, there is much to savour for 60s pop fans here. With authentic sonic references – the instrumentation is spot-on as far as the era is concerned. And it never hurts when your lead singer is a dead ringer for the late great John Lennon. Beatlesque to the max and that’s a positive thing!
CHEATAHS – Cheatahs
Well, here we go again. Yet another band who sounds like they have been listening to nothing else but Ride, Swervedriver, Chapterhouse & The House of Love. Alright I am being unfair. Truth be told, I was rather taken by Cheatahs’ ability to make the 90s sound fresh enough for 2014! Light, bouncy and infectious, songs like “Geographic” and “Northern Exposure” sound trippy, live and loud.
NOSTALGIA 77 – A Journey Too Far
Frankly, was kinda expecting an old school punk revival but Nostalgia 77 is actually more like a tasteful chamber-jazz-soul-pop combo. Instrumentation and arrangements are derived from the 40s to 60s, with a mood and timbre that is soothing and compelling. There is much to admire here and longtime music fans will dig its simple eclecticism. Easily.
CASKET GIRLS – True Love Kills the Fairy Tale
Take harsh industrial electro backings and add girl group vocals and mix viciously until the cup shatters into a million pieces. That’s exactly what listening to Casket Girls sounds like. Which makes for an intriguing aural experience. The tunes are always sweet and in contrast the arrangements are always somewhat discordant. Bittersweet? About right.
… still there’s more …