An End Has a Start
By Justin Gumbel
The sophomore album An End Has A Start, by the British indie rockers Editors is a dark, complex album that is well composed and worth listening to. Any fan of The Killers or Interpol should pick up this record. The vocals and drums are reminiscent of The Killers especially, yet both have an original flavor to them. While this album is centered on death, it concentrates on moving past the hard times. An End Has A Start looks death in the eyes and says you are not going to rattle me. The drums have a strong and straightforward theme, which fits what the music needs. The beat of the song ‘Bones’ would feel at home in a dance club. The blend of guitar, bass, and the occasional keyboard/synthesizer makes it sound musically mature. The tone of the two guitars is very interesting, because they have a soothing almost soft feel, yet they can let the songs rock out when needed. The bass is tight and locks in well with the drums, giving the impression of a strong rhythm section.
Overall, the vocals are melodic and musical, but could use more strength, especially on ‘Well Worn Hands,’ the last track of the album. It sounds like Tom Smith, the singer, is struggling with his musical range. The harmonies on ‘When Anger Shows’ are very catchy. Every track has a well-developed intro and ending. This album sticks out so much because, unlike most modern pop albums, this is not an album filled with one or two singles and a bunch of fluff. Every track is a great piece of art in its own right. The album flows quite well, almost to the point where it feels as though all of the songs are intertwined and each is a part of one big song. The songs do start to sound similar, yet they all are slightly different. This is what an album was meant to be and I think Editors does a great job of this. Overall, Editors has succeeded in doing a great job of composing an indie album that anyone can appreciate.
Apples In Stereo
New Magnetic Wonder
4.5 / 5
Finally, after a five-year hiatus, Apples in Stereo returns to treat us all to a serving of pure ear candy. With one fantastic song after the next, it’s truly difficult to listen to just part of New Magnetic Wonder. This carefully produced, beautifully engineered album not only marks the reunion of the Apples but also features other Elephant 6 alumni such as Jeff Magnum of Neutral Milk Hotel and Bill Doss of Olivia Tremor Control. Although it wasn’t released on E6, New Magnetic Wonder really takes you back to the finer of days of the Elephant 6 Recording Collective and makes you remember what it was to be lo-fi. Apples deliver in this album, giving a wide range of tracks, counting in at 24, half of which are small interludes that accompany you from one song to the next. There is really nothing critical to say about this album, it’s a silly album that provides a breath of fresh air from the melancholy motif of the indie scene.
Pale Young Gentlemen: Black Forest (Tra La La)
Author: Genna Ord
Rating: 4.5/ 5
Starting something from the beginning is usually advisable, but I don’t regret hearing Pale Young Gentlemen for the first time on their sophomore album, Black Forest (Tra La La). I haven’t yet had the privilege of hearing their self-produced, self-recorded, and self-titled debut project yet, but it’s rising to the top of my to-do list with every listen I give to the band.
In a music scene where searching for that “unique” sound is becoming pretty common, it’s not unusual for indie bands to employ string instruments. Unlike many of today’s artists, Pale Young Gentlemen (evidently the three women in the band are unperturbed by the name) use theirs expertly. The Crook of My Good Arm is one example, starting off with a memorable cello riff that gives way to rollicking guitar. Violin is also prominent on the track, and Michael Reisenauer’s half-shouting chorus combines with the instruments to make a surprisingly energizing song.
Such typical instruments as the violin and cello aren’t the extent of it, though; the xylophone, harp, French horn, and flute all make appearances on the album. For a good part of the track We Will Meet, all you hear is Reisenauer’s rich voice over a beautiful harp melody. Though the band is from Wisconsin, the album has a 19th-century Europe feel that somehow manages to work perfectly and stay contemporary.
The combine of all these elements:– superb instrumentation, solid composition, and an almost whimsical feel—added to thoughtful lyrics make for an innovative, enjoyable album, the likes of which probably won’t be heard for quite some time.
After a long time apart working on their own projects, Ronnie (Joy Electric) and Jason (Starflyer 59) Martin have decided to come together to write an album together for the first time in over a decade. Brothers Martin is a perfect blend of Ronnie’s catchy synth leads and Jason’s California Rock guitar work. The album is a perfect answer to the dream of any fans of JE or SF59. Tracks like The Harsh Effect closely resemble recent JE songs, only with more instrumentation while tracks like The Plot That Weaves sound more like it could have been found on Starflyer’s 1998 release, The Fashion Focus. Fears To Remember proves that the two can come together and make a perfect mix of both styles into what resembles New Order’s early work. Fantastic. What really touches me about this album is that it’s a story of sorts showing how things move in circles. The two began together as teens back in the late 80s playing small shows in California under the name Dance House Children. The 90s brought their own individual projects which gave each great success over the years and now they have came back right to where they started; together once again. Fear not though, this doesn’t mean the end of either Starflyer 59 or Joy Electric, in fact be on the look out for JE’s new album The Otherly Opus due out March 20, 2007. It’s going to be superb.