The Chemistry of Common Life
(Matador, 13 October)
Fucked Up are too heavy, and yet too tuneful at the same time, to be classified into one genre. For the hardcore fans this will easily please, trashing MTV’s toilet and being the most talked about thing this year, proving that they can create a scene. But for someone looking for more than this, will it deliver? Like Les Savy Fav, they deliver pleasing tunes and can cause the casual listener to hum in approval. They interlude ambient sounds between songs to give fluidity, which confirms their diversity and removes the ‘craziest band tag’ which gets them most of the attention. “Golden Seal” is a perfect example of this. Often the vocals surrender to the superior music, and on “No Epiphany” they truly have the “eh” factor. And this, my friends, makes them smarter than your average hardcore band.
(Kranky Records, 28 October)
Atlas Sound was the stepping stone that Bradford Cox needed to turn Microcastle into a rich, melodic album, focused and dense. There are traces of that band in Deerhunter’s debut Cryptograms where he was clearly trying to perfect his sound and voice – on Microcastle he delivers. Deerhunter’s distorted effects rightly lead them to be labelled shoegaze. They create calmness with ambience, gentle beginnings where Cox pours his heart out, creating very personal and emotional music, but then unleashing his guitar much like their peers No Age. The mix of the softer side of Cox and the warped guitar pumps energy into the band, justifying the legacy of Deerhunter as a band that can stand close to My Bloody Valentine. Add some psychedelics to the mix and you have a band that are captivating and intriguing, a band that will push the boundaries of whichever genre in which they plant their flag.
(Wichita, 27 October)
Intimacy is undoubtedly an extension of the soundscapes in A Weekend in the City, yet it’s more refreshing and bares similarities to the band’s debut, Silent Alarm. “Ares” opens with a cacophony of raging drums, sliding distorted guitars and Kele’s political vocals immediately instigate a new excitement. The band return to the splendour of previous songs such as “So Here We Are” in “Biko”, which is so utterly honest in its lyrics (“you’re not doing this alone/resist [against cancer]”). The progression of a sensual bass, overlapping of voices and pulsating synthesisers formulate an overtly beautiful song. Upbeat melodies also frequently juxtapose gentle ballads – “One Month Off” has the potential as a new live favourite with its dirty mix of heavily distorted guitars and jolting synths as does “Halo”, while “Ion Square” displays an epic closure with haunting keyboards and jangling guitars. “Trojan Horse” and “Zephyrus” are slightly stale; however don’t miss “Signs”, “Mercury” and “Better than Heaven”. Overall, a definite must-have!
World I See
(Loaf, 7 October)
Cor blimey, what a treat! From the extraordinarily talented producer Rusty Santos (who has worked with the likes of Panda Bear and Born Ruffians) a new band, The Present, has been formed. The album entwines the varying backgrounds of its three members, including classical piano and traditional Japanese music, to create an ephemeral and original sound.
Combining minimalist technique and drone-like chord structures, The Present hypnotise and draw you into a web of almost psychedelic noise. Speaking of The Present, Panda Bear says “When I listen to the sounds and the songs […] I can hear light and dark, high and low, happy and sad, synthetic and organic and on and on like that forever and that’s a compliment to the production and the technique, I would say. Most of all, I like how I feel when I listen to the music.” Hear hear.