Don’t mind me, just cleaning up. Worthless comments on albums you’ve already made your mind up about, and to be honest, Modest Mouse and Jazmine Sullivan definitely deserve more attention. PS: I’ve noticed over the past few months someone from Belgium visits this blog a lot. Leave a comment, Belgian buddy, and let me know what you think.
MODEST MOUSE – Strangers to Ourselves (Epic): Appropriate title given that after the first two tracks they sound so dissimilar to what they used to. But hey, a six-year hiatus will do that to you. B PLUS (**)
JAZMINE SULLIVAN – Reality TV (RCA): R&B singer contrasts the appearance with the reality, that she always carries mascara not because she wants to do touchups but because “you never know who’s watching,” a creepy commentary, as the album name suggests, on our ever-increasingly voyeuristic society. B PLUS (**)
BEST COAST – California Nights (Virgin EMI): Concerned I was being nostalgic, I replayed Fade Away to reassure myself the songs were distinct and good. They were. But California Nights offers an undiversified pace, constant barrage of guitar attack, and repetitive relationship problems stories that limit Beth Cosentino’s chorus’ ability to be distinguished as individual songs. B PLUS (*)
AMERICAN WRESTLERS – American Wrestlers (Fat Possum): A Gary McClure (who?) solo project made with a looped drum machine and lots of layering. McClure has no voice, a tamer version of Ben Bridwell. Sometimes his guitar sounds like Mark Knopfler’s, and sometimes it doesn’t. B PLUS (*)
HOT CHIP – Why Make Sense? (Domino): A favorite among Brits, I always like a cut or two off their albums (Made in the Dark, in particular, had two standouts), but Alexis Taylor’s terribly sweet voice can’t carry me too long over his keyboards. CHOICE CUT: “Huarache Lights”
OF MONSTERS AND MEN – Beneath the Skin (Island/Republic): On this episode of Did You Know?: You can repeat the same Coldplay-lite song thirteen times, call it an album, and charge people money for it. LEMON
THE VACCINES – English Graffiti (Columbia): Less fixated on their garage punk aesthetic, and worse for it. Justin Hayward-Young’s at his best when he conjures Brian Wilson masturbating on a street corner, less so when he cynically imitates Chris Martin. LEMON