The Tab’s Album Round Up

CHRIS BANNON reviews this week’s album releases.

Bannon Beach House Hadouken Los Campesinos

Beach House – Teen Dream I’m going to be honest.  I didn’t expect much from the Baltimore duo of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally’s third album but right from the opening chords of Zebra it was clear that this was a vast improvement from their previous efforts.  Alex’s guitar and Victoria’s voice weave in out of each other giving a dreamy “psych pop” sound that would go down very well at a dinner party.  Third track Norway is the highlight of the album, with a soothing chorus among faint guitar twinkles.  It’s a shame the rest of the album doesn’t match this standard though.  The slow pace gradually whistles the songs away into the background, whilst the chat at the party turns to more serious matters.  It is not until final track Take Care that the pace quickens and the album ends with Victoria echoing “I’ll take care of you.”  With graceful lyrics such as this, it’s an album I find myself unable to dislike. 7 out of 10

Hadouken! – For The Masses Summer of 2008 saw teenagers in hoodies getting angry and raving to the sound of Hadouken!’s debut Music For An Accelerated Culture.  Well at least they knew their audience from the start, because who else would appreciate track titles such as Get Smashed Gate Crash and Crank it Up.  So how’s their second album?  Well, even worse than their debut.  What little hope I had of this album being any good was shattered on listening to opener Rebirth.  It starts with some horrific alien like sounds re-mixed with a synthetic choir.  Next they add in a vague attempt at a dubstep beat (I mean just whacking in a dubstep beat; that automatically makes it cool right?).  And then the third strike: James Smith decides to open his mouth and try and sing.  Massive error and it sadly only goes downhill from there.  Single Turn the lights out contains some chav yelling mixed with drums and some synthetic strings for “suspense” I assume.  The less said about M.A.D. the better; I think my ringtone on my phone sounds better.  Still though, I’m sure it will probably reach the top 10 of the album charts and the annoying hoodies on the bus will be booming it out of their tiny mobile phones.  In that way Hadouken! are like N-Dubz but only worse.  At least they have a golem lookalike who goes by the name of Dappy who makes them slightly amusing.  Apologies if this review is a bit of a rant, but I wasted an hour of my life listening to this filth and I want to make sure you don’t do the same. 1 out of 10

Los Campesinos! – Romance is Boring Welsh indie band Los Campesinos! have always been a bit of a niche band,  mainly because they aren’t like most other bands.   How many others experiment like they do, have 7 members, two of which sing, and have lyrics which at times are so revealing they pull on the hardest of heart strings?  Third album Romance is boring is a big step up for them.  Not only do their previous elements remain but its structure is much more cohesive than before and some moments of brilliance shine through.  Opener In Medias Ras has some of the darkest lyrics around (“Drop me at the highest point and trace a line around the dent I leave in the ground”) and their experimentation is not lost on the riotous Plan A.  Other highlights include The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future and Who Fell Asleep In, a song which tells a tale of heartbreak amongst orchestral swoons.  Not an album to listen to if you’ve just been broken up with, but for the rest of us it is one which grows with each listen. 8 out of 10