Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Recent CD Purchases.

Bloc Party – A Weekend in the City

“Silent Alarm,” its predecessor, was nearly perfect, so I listened to the new album with intense scrutiny. I must say, though, it delivers the goods. Without trying to engage in any sort of ranking since I’ll need to listen to the album at least 20 more times ‘till I form a long-term opinion on it, I can say that the new album is certainly richer than the first. While SA had a raw, almost punk-ish edge to it, you can hear a logical evolution in the new album, which has more complex arrangements, intermittent electronic beats, and singing with more range. Overall, I certainly recommend the album.

AFI – Black Sails in the Sunset

Here’s the story – I bought tickets for Edgefest, a concert a local radio station hosts every year featuring tons of bands. The headliners this year are The Killers, whom I love, so this was a no-brainer. Accompanying them are My Chemical Romance, AFI, Muse, and many other bands. Of the “big names,” AFI was the only band I was largely unfamiliar with. This is not to say I’d never heard anything about them at all, though – what I had heard was that they used to be a hardcore punk band and have lately “sold out” with their major label releases. I decided to hop onto Amazon, the beacon of impartial album reviews (snicker) to find out more.

Generically, the popular opinion is that AFI used to be a lot “harder,” but have recently “refined” their sound into something that’s different, but has nothing to do with selling out, just “progress.” I’ve been in the mood for hard music lately, so I bought what many believed to be their finest of the “hard” albums, “Black Sails in the Sunset.” I must say, this delivers the goods. A military-style opening drum beat followed by the chant “through our bleeding we are one” lets you know that these guys must pull this off in grandiose style in a live setting. From there, you have about a half-hour of continually pounding screaming and fast riffs. I have to say, though, that I found almost every song particularly catchy even on my first couple listens, whereas it usually takes me a while to warm up to stuff like this.

So, I can emphatically recommend “Black Sails in the Sunset.” Now that I’ve heard the “old,” it’s time for the new – I just ordered the latest and most polarizing album to their fans, “Decemberunderground.” It’ll be here next week, hopefully, and I’ll let you know how it turns out. In the meantime, I can already say that “Miss Murder,” the single, is catchy as hell.

My Chemical Romance – I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love

Over the last couple years, MCR has been my token “new band that I really like,” since I typically grumble and turn up my nose at the continual emo crap-fest taking place on pop radio these days. (Note the irony of complaining about emo when my favorite band by far is Radiohead, and I also love Travis, Coldplay, etc.) MCR’s “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge” was immediately memorable, as was the recent “The Black Parade” which I believe I also mentioned on Scatterbrain recently. In fact, “The Black Parade” is so good that it was in continual rotation in my car for a good month or so. Now that I’m about to see the band live, I figured it’s my duty to become familiar with their entire catalog, so I bought their first album.

I had read reviews of “I Brought…”, of course, and unsurprisingly, they are fairly polarized. The metal-heads think it’s the good stuff and the new stuff sucks. The people that like the pop hits hate the old stuff. Big shockers. Well, my taste is typically fairly indifferent and I love metal, and this is what I think: I appreciate the hard edge to the old stuff, but the package is just a little too much, and by that I’m referring to the lyrics. Just as Dashboard Confessional can get a little old because the entire album is about bitching about relationships, such is “I Brought…” It seems as though the album is about lead singer Way complaining about a relationship with some chick and the entire affair is rather melodramatic. Of course, there are a LOT of albums out there about failed relationships that work perfectly, so that’s not the whole picture. Perhaps my opinion is based on the fact that with “The Black Parade,” I feel like the band has found perfection for their skill set, so hearing this album makes me think about a band that hasn’t figured out what they want to do with themselves yet.

If you’re a huge fan of MCR, it’s worth picking up to hear the band’s progression and complete your collection. If you’re fishing for something random , I’d steer clear.


Blogger Robby said...

how about an Arcade Fire Neon Bible review?

12:35 PM  

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