Saturday, March 01, 2008

(Dawning of a) New Era

Dub Pistols, Speakers
and Tweeters, Defend
Music Inc. [5/6/08]

In theory, I'm all over this album. Reality is another story. It's not that I dislike the music; it's that the concept is more compelling than the creation.

Take Lily Allen, for example. The petite potty-mouth created something new and exciting out of her love for Blondie and the Specials—to say nothing of X-Ray Spex and Wreckless Eric.

The third full-length from these fellow Londoners features a
cover of Blondie's "Rapture," vocals from Terry Hall of the Specials, and a more up-to-the-minute approach than its predecessors (thanks to the hiphop and techno touches).

But good grooves aside, this post-big beat venture lacks the attitude and personality of Blondie's Autoamerican, the Spec-
ials's self-titled debut...or Allen's irresistible Alright, Still.

The Pistols also take on
"Gangsters" (the Specials),
"Peaches" (the Stranglers),
and "You'll Never Find" (Lou
Rawls). Hall, incidentally,
sounds just as dreamy on
"Rapture" as on the Fun Boy
Three version of "Our Lips
Are Sealed" (on which his trio
were joined by Bananarama).

The parade of non-originals gives the impression that Speakers and Tweeters is an '80s tribute album or greatest hits collection. As such, it's pretty good—despite the scarcity of dub promised by their name (at least until "Stronger" rolls around). I guess I just have impossibly high standards when it comes to certain genres, like ska and two tone. In fact, this disc would serve as a swell par-
ty record, and to quote Heart, I bet these guys kick it out live.

Cross-posted at

Voyager One, Afterhours in
the Afterlife, Loveless [3/25/08]

Seattle's Voyager One have found what works, and they're sticking to it. The duo's modus operandi is a stripped-down,
post-millenial take on shoegaze. If their fourth full-length is less memorable than Spiritualized's first, Lazer Guided Melodies—to name one possible influence—they share the same sonic space.

Peter Marchese even sings as
if he were born in Britain, al-
though that isn't to suggest an affectation on his part; shoe-
gaze vocalists often evoke England no matter their country of origin. It's one of the qualities that distinguishes the subgenre from post-rock, which isn't as closely associated with
the UK (and where vocals are submerged or reduced even further).

Marchese and Jeramy Koepping both handle guitars, keys, and
programming. Aside from vocals, the multi-talented Marchese
adds bass and drums to the mix. Guest musicians supply the rest
of the sounds. Afterhours in the Afterlife is recommended
to fans of Spiritualized, the Dandy Warhols, and tour mates Black
Rebel Motorcycle Club, whose influence can be felt most keenly
on "The Future Is Obsolete," which rocks harder than the rest.

Cross-posted at

Here's what I wrote about
Monster Zero for Tablet:

If you've been missing Ride
and thinking that solo Rich-
ard Ashcroft doesn't quite
measure up to Verve (or ev-
en U.N.K.L.E.)—Voyager
One should cure what ails
you. The locals have taken
the old shoegazermobile out
of the garage, dusted it off, and slapped on a new coat of paint. And they certainly aren't trying to pretend they've never heard any British bands from the 1980s and '90s—as if their sound just somehow sprung from out of the air—because they take on Echo and the Bunnymen's delightfully ridiculous "Bedbugs and Ballyhoo." The lyrics are as silly as ever ("Bed-
knobs and Broomsticks" anyone?), but musically, it's always been one
of the Bunnymen's best, and Voyager One give it their own distinctive
spin by slowing it down and stretching it out into a nifty new shape.

Endnote: For more information about the Dub Pis-
tols, please click here; for Voyager One, here. Images
from MySpace, the All Music Guide, and All Mixed Up.

No comments: