Album Reviews: The Last Dinner Party, Ty Segall, Moonvampire
The Last Dinner Party – Prelude to Ecstasy
It’s rare to hear a band come out the gate with orchestral arrangements and over-the-top energy on a debut, and still feel like that band has figured out their sound. The Last Dinner Party certainly has their aesthetics figured out already, though they sometimes pivot so often and abruptly across single songs of this album that you just want them to split certain ideas into their own songs. Dancing between a more electronic and heavy serious rock tone, “Burn Alive” rides on the immense theatrical tension this band loves to toy with, not always soaring with momentum, but consistently a massive moody piece. There’s a more gripping groove on “Caesar on a TV Screen,” as it hits an immediate stride to let the quirkier strings and overt performance angles take a breath. The pop whips to the forefront on the riff-heavy “Sinner,” as the band takes an indie-pop approach while applying their character to the charge of the song instead for a great single that keeps getting louder and more brash. The best melding of all the band’s sensibilities comes through on “Nothing Matters,” as their poetic lines feel just as grounded as they are sky-high, and they never lose the snowballing motion of the track, instead properly weaving each big section into the next for a climactic high on every turn the song takes.
Parris Mitchell – JAKKY BOY! (Single)
New York City
With a riff that cuts from sharp rock to digital and bouncy pop, “JAKKY BOY!” has a fun and addictive hook into you from the first listen. There’s a punchy sense of soul amongst its indie pop sensibilities, particularly in those bass runs and the clanging pianos, and even more so in that fiery sax solo. Appropriately, the whole song celebrates giving up on fitting in a box, and accepting being exactly what you are. This gives the whole quirky mix of arrangements an even more personal and exciting quality, as the loose genre fusion is itself an expression of Parris Mitchell’s unique point of view. And as the instrumentation grows and grows, that sense of self is just fleshed out even more.
Ty Segall – Three Bells
Laguna Beach, CA
With the relentless surge of creativity Ty Segall has unleashed on the world in the past decade solo and across his various collaborative projects, he hasn’t lost his knack for reassessing the rock tones of old. For all the great ideas he weaves out of those old timbres and overall spirit of the greats, Three Bells does start to show a bit of repetition for Segall, as he ventures more into his own indulgent takes, appealing to die-hards. “Void” rings out with a bizarre and disorienting wave of guitar lines, with Segall crafting some of his most demented-yet-solid melodies in a while, letting the dissonance give a great tension for each section to explode into the next with gusto. There’s a fun grimy approach to “My Best Friend,” that lets Segall shred and lean into each guitar lick with a sneer and bit of fun that elevates its classic rock influences. The sunny tones of “My Room,” expand on previous Segall tracks, giving a sort of relaxing psychedelia amongst the hazy fuzz and noise, with Segall himself finding a nice niche with his own voice to really add to the warm qualities of the mix. There’s more of a creative fun on “What Can We Do,” as Segall and co. play on the angular melodies and create charming and simple harmonies, akin to the type of more silly tracks from the Beatles’ White Album that stick with you long after.
Space Flight – Halimede (Single)
London, England/New Jersey/Yokohama, Japan
With their truly galactic sound, Space Flight take you on a sonic journey on their new track “Halimede.” As you feel yourself drifting through the track’s ethereal synths and glowing guitar lines, you can feel weightless in the slow and airy movement of the song, mostly pulled forward through those meaty bass grooves. All the more, the story emulates that kind of aimless flow, drifting through any space, let alone outer space, with a bit of a cloudy vision going forward. Though the band does expand this to a more explosive moment later in the song, the truly highlight is the immense emotional terrain they lay out in the bulk of the track, leaving you to get lost with them.
Moonvampire – Weird Tales
One of the most fun and shadowy figures of a recent wave of lo-fi, dark music, Moonvampire is a project that sounds exactly like their name would suggest, and it’s all the better for it. Sitting somewhere between Bauhaus and the acoustics of Molchat Doma, the band’s brand of goth is drenched in effects to really amp up the morose qualities, yet always keep you dancing just enough. There’s a chilling air running through “Have You Feel the Night?” that lets the track really start to take flight as its driving beats and cool guitars set the stormy tone. The remix of “Pathetic” ramps up the dance kick of the band while only sacrificing a bit of its depth, though, at this pace, the growl of all the guitars feels so endless that it’s hard to get too caught up in the genre trade-off. The smoke is nearly oppressive on “The Sky Full of Bats,” as you’re drawn into a macabre dancehall, somehow feeling halfway between a club and a vampire’s lair in the lush textures the project provides. In its monster-born love song, “Afterlife” sends you into a synth-heavy wonder, with dazzling keyboard lines hypnotizing you and making you yearn for the embrace of darkness.