Archive for July, 2008

Album – A Band of Hope – The Matches

Posted by admin on 27th July 2008

Another great band from my friends at Epitaph, that’s way overdue for review. The Matches are a band, I’d not come across before. There’s a strong Emo feel to their music, but there is a much heavier rock sound underpinning everything, which was most welcoming, as I’ve become a little too Emo’d out of late. I actually had this album in for a few months, before I’d even got around to listening to it and my first listen, was unusually while riding the bus one morning.

I have to admit, listening to music while en-route somewhere, isn’t the best way to listen to new music, especially when you really want to pay attention to what you are hearing. The first couple of tracks provided a higher than usual level of ambient noise, but when the third and indeed title track “Wake The Sun” started, my ears pricked up and I was hooked. This track reminds me of a more Britpop, come Killers sound and this is certainly a direction I was hoping the rest of the album would take. However nothing could have been further away from this, with the track that followed “Darkness Rising” with it’s very theatrical, almost operatic vibe. “To Build a Mountain” goes off in another totally different direction, and you almost get the sense that the band are toying with you, not in a malicious sense, but more of a band that wants to push the envelope a bit.

“Clouds Crash” is one of the more relaxed tracks on the album. It’s a great acoustic guitar driven track, with some nice subtle violin backing, which kind of reminds me a bit of Green Day’s, “Good Riddance [Time of Your Life]”. “Between Halloweens”, contrasts the previous track being more upbeat and intense, and I can’t help but sense the band having fun, something that really shines through and is always a real pleasure to hear.

The penultimate track, “Yankee in a Chip Shop”, has real punk feel, but with a more pop delivery. I can imagine the band really let go with this track in a live performance and couldn’t help but wish they’d have done so more with the studio recording. “Proctor Rd.” is a peculiar track, that finishes off the album. It’s dark and very short track, being a tad over a minute. Not really too sure about this as an album ender, preferring I think something a bit more dramatic, but it’s OK, I guess.

With 14 tracks on the album, this is real treasure trove of great rock, with heavy pop/punk overtones. There’s a few tracks that are more mainstream pop than rock, but that’s OK, as those tracks provide a nice counter balance to the more rock, and diverse tracks.

Conclusion : Thanks again to Epitaph for this unsolicited submission to Indie Launchpad. This would probably have not otherwise have been a band I would have enquired about, so I’m all the more thankful, as this is a tremendous album and most certainly puts The Matches firmly on my list of bands to watch out for in the future.

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Album – No Vertigo – Cavedoll

Posted by admin on 20th July 2008

There seems to be a resurgence of electro pop music coming to the fore, harkening back to the 80’s. Cavedoll seem to have one foot firmly planted in this genre, with the other foot playing loosey goosey, introducing a whole raft of different influences.

With 16 tracks in this album, it may seem a lot, but this pales, when you find out they are in the process of releasing 10 albums over the coming year, after having released 13 over 2007. This slew of new releases will consist of a huge array of new, re-mixed, re-packacked and re-mastered tracks.

“Decoder” is a track I’ve heard on various podcasts and is the first track on this 16 track offering. It’s a great track, which really could be a lost recording from decades ago. I love the whimsical synth/keyboards and the 80’s encrusted chorus. This is just an amazing collection of catchy pop with that electro underpinning. “King of the Clouds” is a particularly wonderful track, which just effortlessly washes over you.

As soon as “Taste Like a Hurricane” began, I was in aural heaven, with a most incredible synth intro. I wasn’t expecting the female vocals, but they compliment the music nicely. It’s when the chorus starts that I can almost hear a subliminal nod to Abba. OK call me nuts, but the vocals just have that texture to them. It’s probably no surprise that “Now is Our Time” also stood out with it’s hint of the Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields”, but that’s mainly due to the synth, which opens the track and is also featured lightly throughout. The track unfolds nicely and is firmly one of my favourite tracks on the album.

“Leaking Out the Nose” despite a wonderfully horrid title, shows the bands songwriting chops, resulting in a track that unfolds like a book and this is a prime example of great song. Although their styles are radically different, they share a wonderful storytelling skill, which gives us a track that is over all too quickly.

While there is much to love on this album, there is one track that left me cold, “Full of Awe”. While it has a great production, the song itself is very sterile. I certainly wouldn’t miss it, if it were to be removed, which thankfully is pretty straightforward with iPods and the like.

The album ends with two covers. First is the Rolling Stone’s “Paint it Black”, which is very nicely done. I love the almost harpsichord synth and the wonderful energy, which for me is somewhat lacking in the original. The final cover is of David Bowie’s “Heroes” and again it’s a wonderful interpretation, which Cavedoll manage to own.

Conclusion : A wonderful mix of classic electro and modern day pop, delivering some wonderfully catchy and memorable songs. When I first listened to this CD, I found that it felt a little too eclectic. However after a few listens, it almost seems to envelop you. This is an album that is so easy to listen to and enjoy and the covers for me are the icing on the cake. Certainly a release that should be lauded with the attention and praise it deserves.

Posted in Electro, Pop, Rock | 2 Comments »