Given that I work in a music shop, I thought that it might be fun to give quick “first impression” reviews of some of the new CDs that have come out. Obviously this isn’t as in-depth or insightful as reviewing an album that I’ve had a chance to listen to carefully. Nonetheless, it’s fun (and a great way to keep myself occupied when it’s deeeeaddd at work). I’ll probably continue this theme as I remember/can be bothered.
Manic Street Preachers: Journal For Plague Lovers – very different to their older stuff; much rockier, and they’ve started incorporating sound clips into their music. The album opens with an audio clip from the awesome, awesome film The Machinist, which pretty well had me sold. The album sounds pretty cohesive, and stays consistently rock-ish, occasionally bordering on garage, and sounds pretty good. It’s MSP, so there’s little doubt that the lyrics are also good.
Madness: The Liberty of Norton Folgate – another band that has really changed their sound (though it has been many, many years since they produced their most well-known pieces). The first 2/3 of the album is all right, incorporating a little of the almost ska-ish sound that characterised their earlier works. The last third of the album is awesome: New Orleans, Beasly-St style upbeat jazz with brass accompaniment. If the entire album sounded like that, I would have purchased and loved it immediately.
The Mars Volta: Octahedron – some of the singing is very ‘Coheed and Cambria’-ish, and the album sounds pretty similar to their other stuff (or at least what I remember of them). Unless the lyrics are exceptionally good, I think this is more of a background music sort of album.
Gavin DeGraw: Free – very, very laid back album. A few pieces have a slightly more upbeat style, more reminiscent of his big single “I Don’t Wanna Be”, but on the whole the album is a rather quiet, mellow affair. That’s not to say that it’s bad, because it isn’t, it’s just a more easy-listening album, rather than something that demands your immediate and undivided attention.
Tori Amos: Abnormally Attracted to Sin – well it’s Tori, so you know it’s going to be good. I personally liked this album a lot more than American Doll Posse (though I really liked the concept of that one) and The Beekeeper. I think it signals more of a return to her older style; understandably, this album is a little more mellow, but she’s back to really using her voice. The album has a slightly sultry, blues-ish feel to it, without being mellow or overwhelmingly slow or dark. “Welcome to England” is a particularly awesome track.