Album Reviews: June 12, 2017
Chastity Belt – I Used To Spend So Much Time Alone (Washington)
The third albums from these Walla Walla natives finds them maturing perfectly as artists, straddling a line of tight and focused while making some truly heartbreaking and evocative music. In a wash of surf-pop, "Different Now" flows with sparkling guitars and a lyrical rant of someone sick of seeing friends get a bad lot in life. The moody push of "This Time Of Night" changes out for burning screams throughout the tracks deeper sounds, making for a bright yet mysterious sound. "What The Hell" rolls with a simple yet so well crafted guitar line that it carries the song without ever needing to switch to its satisfying chorus. On one of their more explosive notes the album closer "5am" slowly devolves into a explosive finale of breaking drums and guitar to make a contrasting finale.
Bunnies (for real) – For Real (Ottawa)
Pushing a hefty 90s sound and vicious attack on club electronics, Ottawa dance outfit Bunnies (for real) bring the heat on their latest EP. "I Got The Beat" runs a dense and electrifying beat that never lets up on its aggressive rush of sound, and its dynamic synth bridge is a shocking blast from the past. Heavy as all hell, "Swerl" is the off-putting, hype building drum and bass track you just don't seem to find enough these days, with a chaotic chorus that hits on every level. While its beat may be more straightforward, "Hipnotize" lands its catchy moment as the vocal chants and bass boom kicks in, creating a direction so enveloping it can sweep up the sounds from each bridge as it goes. The most trippy and slow of the bunch, "Poor Little" is a more explorative track, that lets the slower tempo open things up for a more sonically curious and zoomed in sound.
Bleachers – Gone Now (New York City)
Growing his reach both artistically and behind the scenes, Jack Antonoff has become more in demand by the year since his time in Fun., working with Sia, Taylor Swift and Grimes, as well as producing Lorde's upcoming album. Taking the focus back to his solo work, Antonoff returns to Bleachers with a lot of producing experience to show for it. With soaring vocals and disturbing warped vocals, mix together with booming drums and bass "Dream of Mickey Mantle Starts the album on surprisingly experimental note. "Hate That You Know Me" starts the theme of bombastic choir vocals, and gives them even more grandeur thanks explosive drums and backing vocals from Carly Rae Jepsen, Julia Michaels and Sam Dew. Moving back to more pop-focused territory on "Don't Take The Money" he tries to take a solid bass and really mess with the rest of the sound internally, enlisting help from Lorde to add to its retro aesthetic. The most different on the record "Nothing Is U" takes things down a much more emotional route, bringing in some of the lyrical depth of Fun. while making the rest of his album seem more candy by comparison.
Telecomo – For Sale (Ottawa)
Revitalizing the long overdone garage-rock genre required a mix of the right artists and the right time away and Ottawa's Telecomo is doing it all right. Mixing parts Iggy-styled punk and other classic rock into the garage fold "Long Gone" sets the stage with a hefty dose of high theatrics and sophistication. "Lipstick" zips out the gate on an intense thrashing mix of guitars throbbing and bursting drums for a banger that hits all the right fast notes for a fun party track. Bass rumbling with authority behind the screeching guitars "Bike" is a multifaceted machine that lets its pieces speak on different levels of the recording rather than getting lost in each other. "Turn Back" is a throttling throwback that takes the sleazy attitude of a 2000s punk track and sprinkles in the right amount of pop to make it all catchy.
Benjamin Booker – Witness (New Orleans)
Leave it to New Orleans to push out some of the most forward-thinking and diverse music around this year. On his latest record Benjamin Booker throws genre definition in the trash to make music his own way and it makes jumping song to song a lot more exciting for it. "Right On You" rips the album open on a shredding and viciously fast note mixing notes of Nirvana with modern psychedelic overtones. His velvety vocals hit strong highs on the gospel meets T. Rex stomper "Witness" as riffs and delicate piano lines come together to make Booker's excited performance all the more beautiful. Taking a step back in time, "Believe" mixes a vintage string intro into more old-school blues drives for a song that plays into its derivative sound for all the joy its worth. "All Was Well" closes things on an ambitious note with frantic, exploring guitars, a heavy purring bass and Booker shrieking like he forget the calm soulful music he just laid out.