By Luke Skoza
Rating: 3 out of 5
Caribou’s Andorra is a beautifully choreographed album. Ontario born studio creator Dan Snaith uses hypnotic rhythms and surreal tones on each track. His sound has come a long way since the days of his one-man band Manitoba. Finally his creative journey has led him to Andorra which is arguably his best studio album. Pressing play on his fourth full-length album is like being yanked back into the days of flower power. These surreal tones allow the album to flow from song to song like a radio playlist. Each track is densely packed with swirling flute loops, bells, drum fills, and warped strings. These elements help to create deep grooves in each song. Andorra’s first and best track ‘Melody Day’ is an acid drenched symphony of psychedelic pop. The third track ‘After Hours’ is a blissed out harmony that has gorgeous overtones and lyrics. Each of the next two tracks has a peaceful and groovy pop harmony. ‘Desiree’, the album’s fifth track, possesses the same symphonic qualities of ‘Melody Day.’ This easily makes these two songs the highlight of the album. The quality of organized chaos jams such as ‘Eli’ and ‘Sandy’ is undeniable. These tracks stray into dreamy sound with darker overtones. ‘Irene’ slows the pace down a bit until the album dreamily moves into a stirring closer, ‘Niobe,’ which brings the orchestrated chaos to to a worthy end.
Andorra is for those looking for a new sound in times of imitation and repetition. Try it out just once and give a listen. Your fifteen dollars or so will be well spent when you discover Andorra’s beautiful new sound.
Sci Fidelity Records
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Keller Williams has been one of the most prolific artists of the past decade. Often grouped into the top of the jam band scene with others like Umphrey’s McGee, moe., String Cheese Incident, and Medeski, Martin, and Wood, Williams sets himself apart with Dream. It marks his ninth full-length studio release since 1999. To celebrate this accomplishment, he collaborates with a “dream team” of artists including Bob Weir, String Cheese Incident, Victor Wooten, Bela Fleck and John Scofield just to name a few. The resulting songs are ones of variety and creativity. From punk rock tempos to bluegrass to slow acoustic songs singing about Jesus riding bitch seat in his car, Williams hits all the right spots with this album.
Check out: Play This, People Watching, Sing for My Dinner, Life.
Sick Of Sarah: Sick Of Sarah
Author: Lucas McCallister
Rating: 3.9/ 5
To start with: I don’t like chick-rock.
It isn’t really sexisim. It just isn’t meant for me.
I try to see through that, but I see clichés, overdone pop formats, and pseudo-we-can-do-it attitude.
Sick of Sarah, refreshingly, isn’t like that.
A five-piece from Minnesota, the first song caught my attention with the vocals. They aren’t sappy and over-done to cover up the fact nobody can sing. In fact, the girls sing quite well throughout the whole album. Smart and witty lyrics are carried throughout most of the album, and honestly, I found myself enjoying it.
At the same time, something is very familiar about the sound… I’ve heard it before. I don’t know where, but somewhere, this style has been done. I suppose it could be the fairly generic alt-pop sound. But hey, that’s okay for a debut album. I’m more interested to see what the second album will sound like… it is always more difficult.
If you want to get a feel for the album, listen to “Not Listening”, “Daisies”, and “Common Mistake”. (Hint from the writer: Listen to the third track on any album… I can almost guarantee it’s good.) The tunes are a little catchy, but not quite predictable. As I stated before, the music itself isn’t the strong point… it is the lyrics. Sick of Sarah can be upbeat without being sugary, Sarcastic without being stupid, frustrated without being overbearing, and sad without making you roll your eyes. That’s new to me.
If you dig The Dollyrots or Tegan and Sarah, but hate Katie Perry (as you should), give this album a shot. You won’t be disappointed, even if you are a guy. Trust me on this one.
Animal Collective: Merriweather
Author: Benjamin Griebel
Rating: 4.5/ 5
There’s something I’ve always found intensely emotional, dare I say even spiritual, about Animal Collective. Something about the way Avey Tare’s voice so smoothly transitions from a delicate flower to a primal scream that captures the human soul, and wedges it squarely between a cacophony of noises that are so ripped and rendered by minidisk players, and whatever other bizarre devices the Collective uses, that they are unrecognizable. But somehow from this tangled mass a truly unique type of music is formed. To say the least, I dig what these guys do, and the new album doesn’t disappoint.
The first track, In the Flowers, drifts in on a wave of discombobulated digital noises, that despite their rough and fragmented state impart a sense of tranquility, which is soon replaced with a glorious and yet longing tone. The whole song has the feel of a man waltzing with the ghost of a memory. The opening track sets a beautiful tone for the whole album, which maintains an incredibly tranquil sound, preferring to leave out Avey’s raw screams in favor of a much more serene sound. But as always, the album has an incredibly infectious nature to it, perhaps it’s the repetitive structures which slowly build upon themselves into a hypnotic frenzy, but songs like Summertime Clothes borrow deeper into my skull than a flesh eating ear wig could ever hope to. The song Lion in a Comma exemplifies the neo-tribal feel that I’ve come to associate with Animal Collective. The album ends itself off with the incredibly uplifting beat of Brother Sport, which feels like hundreds of electric birds singing their mating calls.
This album defiantly delivers all the bizarre and catchy sounds one would expect from Animal Collective. The one disappointment seems to be relatively little evolution from their last release Strawberry Jam, granted I can’t say that’s a bad thing. However, from a band that seems to always be on the move, changing their songs so fast that their live performance mutates dramatically almost immediately after a new album, I expected a bit more of a break from Strawberry Jam. I’m glad that they seem to have found a formula that works, and works extremely well, but I hope that this isn’t the end of their evolution.