Album Reviews: August 25, 2017

Everything Everything – A Fever Dream (UK)

Manchester's dance-rockers Everything Everything bring a sonic pallet on their latest record that will blow you away whether or not you fall in love with the writing. Gripping from head to toe, the record will definitely please those looking for more pop than depth. Starting menacingly with "Night of the Long Knives" the band brings a strong sense of electronic life and roaring bass, all coming together on a booming chorus. "Can't Do" brings the whole sound into an 80s tone, letting its harmonies and catchy melodies elevate a slightly hollow production. "Run The Numbers" however brings parts Royal Blood and Alt-J for a track with dynamic heft, coming down hard after its technically proficient verses. Going full-blown power pop on "A Fever Dream" the band lightly channels Major Lazer in their strange instrumentation used for catchy hooks, making for the most fun track of the record.

Dweeb – Sliders (Ottawa)

Offering a more vintage take on local hip hop, Dweeb's lo-fi remix style has a relaxing but utterly polished take to the genre. Giving listeners something they can easily leave in the background and focus on with equal excitement, their record doesn't take it easy. Starting on the bass-heavy "Banana Peppers" the track wubs and claps in a lounge-like dream, as pianos glide and hiss along to something that feels like it's dropping in from another era. "Ketchup (UGuessedIt) drives up the intensity a little more with its solid guitar lines and vocal sample, but it's the dynamic finale propelled by the loud sample of OG Maco's "U Guessed It" that finds the track pushing the limits of lo-fi hip hop. Taking a hint of Mac Demarco in the slow jive of "Red Onion," there's a suave back and forth between the guitars and drums, and the stops offer up even more drive to the track. Closer "Baba Ghanoush" rolls the piano again as the heavy mix gives it a club tinge.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Sketches of Brunswick East (Australia)

Towing in Mild High Club for their third of five releases this year, the Aussie psych rockers aren't taking things easy. Bringing in another band paid off well too as their funk-infused record sings with the right blend of weird and fun. The moody opening piano of "Sketches of Brunswick East I" star the album with a blend of jazz and vintage pop, letting a sultry flute guide the harmonies before the bass drops out. Bringing a little demented vocalization to their easy-going rock, "Countdown" is as off-putting as it is relaxing. With a running current of Stevie Wonder, "The Spider and Me" chugs along on a crackling guitar line and drum base, with its vocals and solos sunny enough to make you smile. Oozing with tones of French pop, "You Can Be Your Silhouette" calls to the music of Françoise Hardy and is so cheery it can easily brighten up a bad day even in its exotic solos.

STAT!K – STAT!K (Ottawa)

While young and still learning their craft, STAT!K showcase a lot of raw talent in this first release. Bringing very familiar but undeniably groovy licks and carrying it with an energy that you can feel, they make a fuzzy and gritty debut. On a wall of feedback, "Hiding in the Shed" grinds along with catchy drive on albeit fairly familiar guitar hooks, offering up the real meat in their delicious drums and percussion production. Crafting a stark opening that emulates Wolfmother in an exciting way, "In The Basement" doesn't try to be anything but a loud riff-rock song and excels because of it, making for something truly fun and energy-building in the process. "Wasting Time" while a little raw instrumentally, still brings the hooks in heaping handfuls and comes down with the band's best vocal lines and builds of the album. Getting a little dark in their finale, "Dream Killer" shifts to a much more down-note as the band reflects on how our minds can keep us down.

UNKLE – The Road, Pt.1 (London, UK)

After seven years away, UNKLE returns with an epic and shocking album full of even more depth than they'd ever showed before. Through sprawling songs that blur the lines between classical and modern electronic UNKLE has made an album that will fascinate fans of all disciplines to now end. Coming off a spoken-word intro, "Farewell" starts the record in a swell of piano and sound, enveloping listeners in its lush harmonies (delivered by a list of supporting artists to long to list) and keys, it slowly becomes a delightful wall of music. Pulling the likes of Mark Lanegan and ESKA on "Looking For The Rain" they find a mix of symphonic magic blended with dark and mysterious electronica that is scary and endlessly intriguing. Taking a much more focused blend of harmonies and piano pop, "Stole Enough" finds Mink showcasing a gut-wrenching melodic mastery as he takes you down a dreary but captivating road in the composition. Racing along with endless life in every note and beat, ESKA commands on her own with "The Road" with cascading vocals as the instrumentation excitedly runs and crashes along with her vocal hooks.