Lest you all think I haven’t engaged with new, youthful music in the past few years, here’s one the ‘kids’ might recognise.
I fell for this CD on the basis of the self-fulfilling Over and Over single. It was very hard to resist this tune, so reminiscent of mid-to-late 1980s keyboard pop.There is a New Order-ish mentality there that really appeals.
Indeed, this release shares the paradoxes of New Order’s work. The music is all upbeat, somewhat relentless euro-pop, yet lyrically there is a cheeky bleakness and brutality. A violence and cruelty pervades various songs here, but the band delivers this duality without the pompous melodrama of someone like Depeche Mode.
The title track is a case in point, with threats to break my legs and put me under the ground delivered over a ludicrously upbeat minimalist beat with breathy, summery vocals. Actually, this track could also just as easily be Darren Hanlon in his most experimental form.
I love an album that surprises. This delivers. And it has this gem:
File under: Fair warning
This is the third and most recent record I own from the Depeche boys.
Certainly, compared to the other non-compilation in my collection, this is the winner. It is a considerably warmer album and the sound is considerably more contemporary.
Now, I must qualify the weather report there. I should really say it is less cold. There is a still the distancing electronic approach and Gahan’s vocal style is still a little too affected for my liking.
Nevertheless, the band is more direct and emotive in their songwriting, and less prone to the vaguely Austrian lock-your-daughter-in-the-cellar imagery.
There are some standout tracks on here. Enjoy the Silence was a well-chosen single, and a track that would have fitted very well into the repertoire of New Order in their later years (that’s a compliment). DM do lose a little credit for that last gasp repeat of the chorus and the tinkle right at the end (I’m being fussy today).
Sweetest Perfection gets the balance right between overwrought and engaging. And Personal Jesus was good enough for Johnny Cash… and bares up well in the compare and contrast stakes (I’m ignoring M.Manson’s version, as I have much of his career):
File under: Don’t be a vile hater
The party continues in my office. The bass in pumping, the crowd are swinging their arms around like they just don’t care (whoever does care about their arms swinging around (other than in the presence of low ceiling fans)?) and the sniffer dogs are having a field day.
OK, that’s all wishful thinking (other than the dogs… and the bass).
Irrespective, I’ve been having fun. This is a pretty strong album. It features one of this insanely catchy songs you’ve probably danced to too many times (well, I have) – this one:
There are some very familiar voices on here, including a blast from my past New Order‘s Bernard Sumner doing that whole dry, talkie vocal thing that has worked well on so many tunes. And Hope Sandoval from Mazzy Star sounds as breathy and spacey as ever.
There’s also a vocoder riff on the opener that had me doing Kraftwerk impressions all day (“Musique non-stop, techno-pop”).
So the upshot, is the CBs showcase their roots, and their diversity (Noel Gallagher also gets a rockier workout) and deliver a solid collection. It doesn’t have the consistency of their debut, but it’s still a fiesta of fun.
File under: Buckle under to the beats
Posted in C
Tagged album, album review, Bernard Sumner, CD review, dance music, Hope Sandoval, Kraftwerk, Mazzy Star, music, music review, New Order, Noel Gallagher, Surrender, The Chemical Brothers