The Tab’s Album Round-Up
GEORGE OSBORN and CHRIS BANNON provide a guide to this week’s hottest releases.
Eels – End Times Mark Oliver Everett, aka E, serves up his eighth album for your listening pleasure and as per usual he provides an album of delightful listening. End Times is a subdued slice of folk melancholy, echoing Willy Mason and Bob Dylan’s Blood on the tracks years, with a wonderfully restrained, thoughtful and dazzlingly beautiful break up motif throughout. A line in the dirt is E’s Perfect Day moment with nods to Lou Reed’s masterful song through the delicate piano to the considered vocals, Paradise Blues nods towards Neil Young’s rockier moments while retaining the maudlin On the Beach influences and In my Younger Days displays the devastating self awareness of Bon Iver crafted to the deftness of early Aqualung. Reviews of End Times have tended to focus on the break up story behind the songs, but to E’s credit the songs throughout are not soaked in depression but enjoy a quietly dignified and subtle longing for better times. An impressive record now, End Times has the feel of a future classic in the making. GO 9/10
Fool’s Gold – Fool’s Gold If seeing one brilliant album in a week is heartening, seeing two is a delight few reviewers get to enjoy. Fortunately for me, Fool’s Gold self titled debut is an absolutely superb first release and an excellent example of how fusion of cultures can lead to superbly entertaining music. From the opening riff of Surprise Hotel the album mixes cultural inclusiveness with superb songs. A hint of Youssou N’dour in Ha Dvash, mixed to the Tinariwen influenced Poseidon and thrown in with the Amadou et Mariam style delight of Momentary Shelter ensures that Fool’s Gold retains a clearly rooted understanding of the cultures that are represented. But the most important strength is the way the album flows with celebratory joy and excitement throughout, a constantly bubbling and bouncy mixture ready to leap here there and everywhere throughout your room. Fool’s Gold is a very early contender for best debut of the year and will have the seemingly invincible Vampire Weekend looking nervously over their shoulder to their new afro-indie pop contenders. GO 9/10
Good Shoes – No Hope, No Future If seeing one brilliant album in a week is heartening and two is a delight for the few reviewers who experience it, then three is practically unheard of. And this week, it is still practically unheard of for me as Good Shoes have produced a frankly wretched album. Opener The Way my Heart Beats sets the tone in depressing fashion with out of tune whelpy singing, combined to sub Boy Kill Boy guitars, resulting in an album that sounds so unoriginal and antiquitated that it would probably need to be carbon dated to find its roots. No Hope, No Future genuinely lacks any songs worthy of any continued praise. Granted, Under Control is a reasonable lead single but the fact remains that the rest of the album is such appallingly poor bum fluff indie that it will barely attract the attention of The Inbetweeners sound track. Calling an album No Hope, No Future is bound to attract critics like moths to a lamp and Good Shoes have unfortunately turned on the fog light here. If you are an avid fan, it’s probably best you say your goodbyes while you still can. GO 3/10
You Me At Six – Hold me Down You Me at Six’s second album Hold Me Down appears to have propelled them into the mainstream. With anthems such as Underdog it appears this success could be well deserved but with song titles such as Stay With Me and There’s No Such Thing As Accidental Infidelity it does lack some form subtly and originality. Don’t get me wrong it’s a decent effort but I think I’d enjoy it a lot more if I were an emo-fringed teen still going through a first crush. CB 6/10
Lostprophets – The Betrayed Flash back 4 years. British teenagers were all standing on rooftops screaming their hearts out to the infectious sound of their last album Liberation Transmission. Now 4 years later and apparently half a million pounds lighter (or so the legend goes) they return with 4th studio album The Betrayed. The opening of first track If it wasn’t for hate… is more menacing than they’ve been before, whilst next track Dstryr/Dstryr is one for the moshers and wouldn’t be out of place on Welsh cousins Funeral for a Friend’s album. Where we belong sees them at their best, showing that they still have their ability with class choruses for the fans to scream out, as they did with Rooftops. For he’s a jolly good felon however has some questionable lyrics; at least the guitars drown most of them out though. There’s enough going on here to satisfy the fans, but considering their budget I’m disappointed it doesn’t match its predecessor. I imagine the majority of the money was blown on Ian Watkins hair gel…CB 7/10