Album Reviews: May 13, 2019

Vampire Weekend – Father Of The Bride (New York City)

Without Rostam in Vampire Weekend the melodies still hit hard, but there's definitely a noticeable change in how they produce their material. While their previously sharp weirdness is now used like a switch, their powerful use of rhythm still makes for some euphoric moments. "Hold You Now" brings tenderness and a heavenly feeling of love in its choral chants, though it's the two-sided story courtesy of Danielle Haim that really sets its narrative apart. With its bouncing beats and charming vocals "Harmony Hall" is infectious and serene, presenting you with an elevating piece of music that still presents the band's classic quirky bohemian style. As Steve Lacy lays down grooves on "Sunflower" Vampire Weekend show just how much they can swing, and provide a much needed tonal shift to the record. They really push the limits of their sound on "Spring Snow," as they twist a simple piano track into something weirdly mechanical but jazzy.

Biko – 13 Bronze Non-Country Tributes (Ottawa)

Where Biko deceives listeners with a simple and acoustic sound, they're truly a more complex and lushly produced entity. Though many of their hooks aren't that out there, it's the sense of warmth from their music that shines brightest. "Stay Forever" oozes this calming feeling well, letting all the harmonic and subtle background touches take over the emotions of the track. There's a much quirkier approach to "Japanese Cowboy" as Biko seems to tackle Western charm with outlandishly romantic ideas. "Chocolate Towns" has a strangely dissonant feeling in its writing, to constantly let you know something is off about its themes of love. Though "Demon Sweat" is definitely an early step into a more hip hop-driven production for Biko, there's a lot of promise in its sometimes uneven steps that show where they could go with it.

LSD – Labrinth, Sia & Diplo Present… LSD (London, UK)

With the collective pop history between al the creative minds in LSD, it's only shocking that it's so strange in its production. This makes for a quirky but catchy record, with enough talent to sell it. "Welcome To The Wonderful World Of" for example drifts between folk and classic rock, to deliver you properly into their psychedelic musical experience. Sia's vocal hooks make this record soar, especially in the descending dark hooks of "Genius" where her strong presence allows the unhinged writing to work. "Audio" is a much denser listen, with a straight pop energy blossoming in the otherwise heavy sound of the track. "Heaven Can Wait" on the other hand has a triumphantly rock approach with notable theatrics in the writing that sees Sia bouncing all up and down her vocal range.

Jade Trinkets – Day Off (Ottawa)

Serene is probably the best way to define Jade Trinkets' music, and it works wonders for your mind. "Day Off (Intro)" pulls you into this world of soothing water and birds, while painting a strong picture of the landscape this music exists in. With a little more wind and fuzz in its tones, "Pineapple Tones" drifts like the breeze to make its hooks land soft but poignantly. There's a lot more tumbling rhythm to "The Guardians Of Guava" as Jade Trinkets create a much more abrasive sound that feels fiery and ready to explode. "Duke of Honeydew" represents the most 80s energy of the record, for a track that is smooth but always lingering around something darker.

Michael Abels – Us (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (Phoenix, Arizona)

The only thing as chilling is Jordan Peele's "Us" was the soundtrack that took a surprisingly unorthodox approach to horror scoring. With strange choirs, hip hop remixes and a unnerving strings, this soundtrack will leave you frightened. "Anthem" roars with a strange religious energy, invoking a cult-like drive in its sound and light use of natural beats. Though it touches on familiar horror compositions, "Home Invasion" is so jarringly visual in its use of strings that you can really see every twist and turn from its scary scene in the film. "Pas De Deux" is a completely symphonic reimagining of "I Got 5 On It" with stabbing bass notes, plus its dynamic use of tone and delivery makes each new phrase feel like a deeper descent into madness. This doesn't mean "I Got 5 On It (Tethered Mix)" is the same beast however, as it slowly twists the original song out of from your ears to pummel you with its main hooks. 

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