Album Reviews: May 1, 2018

Brazilian Girls – Let's Make Love  (New York)

After a hefty break, most would expect a band to have a few stumbling moments on a return record but Brazilian Girls have made one of their strongest records to date. More fearless than ever before, the band bridges worlds of indie and dance-pop for a powerhouse record to dance to. The album is full of vintage energy as it opens with "Pirates" and brings a humble little synth-pop to start things off. They really pick things up however on "Go Out More Often" as they get rowdy and loud but never bring that same attack to their chorus. Their bouncy spirit takes a dark turn on "We Stopped" as they match a brilliant synth landscape with contrasting hooks to make a strong bit of tension in the song. With overtones of The Pretenders "Let's Make Love" is a lush moment of pop bliss on the record that brings in fun writing and a lot of booming harmonies.

The Harvest One Project – Slightly Lemon Moon (Ottawa)

With so many new ideas being brought to the world of sci-fi on a daily basis, it's refreshing to see what indie artists are bringing to the table. For an album that mixes elements of dance, scores and video game music, this is one record with a lot of spirit. The raw bass on "Enroute"  keeps things funky and frantic as the steady beat keeps things moving with a deep rush of sound. There's a more spooky atmosphere to "Luminous" as glistening synth riffs provide a cinematic foundation for the track's sprawling chords. Heavy beats and a house music drive run through "System Shock" as something of a dance and thematic music hybrid hits listeners with relentless beats. The most score-like track on the record however is "Roland's Quest" as brooding synth basses create a fog to let grand melodies hide in the ether. 

A Place To Bury Strangers – Pinned  (New York)

When the right band finds the right sound and runs with it, you can get some of the most unique sonic experiences ever. For their latest record the dark sonic experimentation of A Place To Bury Strangers is pushed into a new dimension, and really finds the band in their stride. This fierce spirit is running through "Never Coming Back" as demented vocals and heavy riffs build endlessly from top to bottom. "Execution" becomes even more oppressive in its  sound, turning one little bass hook into the anchor for a wild barrage of riffs and feedback. There's a fun and rushing pop to "Too Tough To Kill" as they turn their sound into something volatile. "Frustrated Operator" even injects a little Ian Curtis into the mix to bring the album some dark but ecstatic energy.

Deathsticks- Deathsnacks (Ottawa)

Great punk music is always a little dirty, which is what keeps Deathsticks as one of the Ottawa bands to watch in the scene. On their latest collection, the band keeps their edible theme from being a novelty as they whip out track after intense track at your ears. A blistering beat starts things off on "Finger Food" and Deathstick's unrelenting delivery keeps the track from ever really letting up. By the time "Fridge Nachos" sets off, it's almost tiring to hear the band continue their onslaught of sound but it's a spirit that lets them keep bodies moving even while listening at home. Heavy riffs take the place of breakneck speed on "Buzzkill" as the shrieks get louder and the distortion becomes even more overpowering. "Done (Like Dinner)" is one last stab at their ferocious sound as the band merge their oppressive riffs into an even more rapid beat to make a song that's as dangerous as it is addictive.

Confidence Man  – Confident Music For Confident People (Melbourne, Australia)

Making music that's as funny as it is catchy is a hard game, and usually quite the mixed bag. For Australia's Confidence Man however, the group's latest effort merges really snarky commentary and a self-aware sense of humour into music that you'll be grinning to one way or the other. In the dense production of "Try Your Luck" you may think the band is over-thinking their writing but their satirical lyricism proves they just want their music to be as clever as their wit. The peak of their humour comes on "Don't You Know I'm In A Band" with some absolutely powerful musical drops mixed into a gut-busting track. "Out The Window" mixes a lot of fun 90's tropes into something totally exciting, and Confidence Man's cheeky attitude sells what would normally be considered tacky. There's a lo-fi energy to "Bubblegum" that make the track really charming and turns a simple hook into one of the album's most driving tracks.