The Tab’s Album Round Up

JORDAN BICKERTON and CHRIS BANNON exterminate Enter Shikari and top their hats to Two Door Cinema Club

Ellie Goulding – Lights

Ellie Goulding already has her name written in lights.  Winning BBC sound of the year and the Brits critic choice award this album had a lot to live up to.  It is an album to tear opinions in half though.  Many will praise her song-writing and her voice (mainly radio one daytime listeners) and will herald her album.  Others however will think its nothing special and that’s its mostly been done before, and I’m afraid this is the side of the divide I fall on.  There’s nothing hugely wrong with the album, but with its electronica and her voice it sounds like a combination of La Roux and Little Boots, which for a sound of 2010 winner, is just a little bit too 2009.  Singles Under the Sheets, Starry Eyed and This Love (Will be your downfall) are the catchiest songs on the album, and will attract pop music lovers.  Aside from these though there are tracks such as The Writer and Every Time You Go with its acoustic guitar and piano that attempt to meld folk music and pop, and for this she should be commended.  If only the rest of the album sounded like this and had not aimed at commercialism, it might have been more worthy of its critical praise.  In what it likely to be the battle of the new female solo artists, round one goes to you Marina. CB


Two Door Cinema Club – Tourist History

Kitsuné don’t mess about.  Having taken previous electronic indie acts La Roux and Delphic under their wing, they know talent when they see it.  Two Door Cinema Club are the latest act to emerge from them and they have produced a debut album that is nothing less than stunning.  Consisting of catchy and punchy tracks varying from 2 minutes to 4 minutes in length the Northern Irish trio sing about joyous youthful experiences.  Opener Cigarettes in the Theatre sets the tone, whilst the pulsating I Can Talk id sure to be a dance-floor filler later this year.  Something Good Can Work is as equally catchy but Undercover Martyn has to take the award for best track.  Opening with Foalsesque scratch guitars it then bursts into life with its electronic effects.   It may not be in the same musical and creativity league as Goriallz’s absolute genius offering this week, but it remains as one that will please all indie-electro fans.  Best debut album of the year so far. CB


Enter Shikari – Tribalism

Given that ‘Tribalism’ is a hotchpotch of new songs, B-sides and remixes, one would not expect a coherent collection; unfortunately though, it manages to cram everything that is wrong with this band into one long hour. If their route to success was refreshing – an almost relentless touring schedule, coupled with a refusal to sign a conventional record deal – their music is far from it. Acts such as ‘Battles’ and ‘Errors’ prove that there is nothing inherently wrong with dance/rock crossovers; however, plundering the worst of both worlds is inevitably disastrous.

Their new material showcases the only ‘evolution’ of which Shikari are capable – they have changed their gimmick in order to reflect Dubstep’s infiltration of the mainstream, replacing synths with sub-bass wobbles in the token ‘beatdown’. The title track sees vocalist Rou defiling the memory of The Streets’ Mike Skinner, offering painful social commentary in Cat in the Hat rhyme, whilst an embarrassing approximation of rap-metal stutters in the background. The rehashes recall the trance/hardcore Enter Shikari cut their teeth on, minus the admittedly catchy choruses of old; most damningly, the samples merely deflect attention from the skeletal composition.

The remixes are sub-Pendulum, which is surely some kind of achievement, and the live cover of Faithless’ Insomnia is highly instructive; when most of the crowd don’t even recognise the song until the iconic synth line appears, all becomes clear – their baffling large following of 15 year olds don’t actually like dance music, allowing them to revel in its mindless debasement. JB