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Candian electropop recording artist Lights has been a prominent act in the indie pop scene. The 2009 Juno Best New Artist releases her third studio album, Little Machines, a bright and nostalgic work with singable tunes and more upbeat synths as compared to her earlier dubstep-electronic work.
Little Machines starts off with the ambient Portal, a slow fanfare for the rest of the generally light electropop tracks such as the ethereal Oil And Water and the upbeat How We Do It.
Her singles from this album are really really good. Running With The Boys produces a feel-good factor all around with it's singable melody reminiscing the old times. In Up We Go, we see a little bit of her Patti Smith influence at the beginning before the anthemic pop chorus. This particular track has a bridge so singable, it's perplexing as to how such a simple melody combines with the synth beat to create a very likeable track.
Same Sea is another heart pumping track turning back the clock as she draws inspiration from her earlier material. Here, Lights goes back 'to the arms of her same, similar sea' to put in poetically.
LIttle Machines definitely has that radio-friendliness to it and with such feel-good nostalgic tracks, it's sure to interest electropop enthusiasts, bring back memories and relate to your own personal past experiences.
Track Cuts: Running With The Boys, Up We Go, Same Sea
Photo credit: Warner Bros. Records
Love it or hate it? Call her the twin of Lorde, Banks dropped her latest album Goddess. Reflecting on broken relationships and allowing her voice to take the lead. The usual cliché lines about love and break ups. Personally I felt that the approach towards the album is rather slow pace, which loses the interest of listeners after 15 minutes due to the disconnectivity. It’s a shame as she possess a unique vocal quality however her compositions failed to meet the benchmark.
Let’s be fair, the top two tracks out of her entire album will be Someone New and Drowning. Someone New is refreshing and I love the finger plucking of the acoustic guitar as it compliments Banks voice and brings out the laceration of her wounds. I can love you desperately, though your love ain’t guaranteed/ Oh I wish you knew the deal. Everything I do, I’m gonna think of you. Unrequited love is the worst out of all and finding someone new is the hardest due to the past memories.
Take it from the girl you claimed to love, You gonna get some bad karma. I’m the one who had to learn to build a heart made of armor/ Made your soup and tied your shoes when you were hurting. Summer flings where emotions are long gone for their old flame. The girl who was always there for him but was never appreciated. The one who mended his wounds and offered a moral support during his unstable period of time. Drowning encompasses the aspects of a cheating relationship.
Well Banks has to step it up for her next album!
Track Cuts: Someone New, Drowning
Photo Credit: Harvest Records
Touted as her most personal album with vibes of "current soul" (whatever that means) to date, London-based soul-pop singer Pixie Lott is back with her third full-length self-titled EP. While it's filled to the rafters with fun, danceable tracks, I can't help feeling a little emotionless after it.
The singer, of Mama Do (Uh Oh Uh Oh) fame, kicks off with the bubbly, radio-friendly Nasty, which got me a little excited because it's pure pop and a fun listen with some Brit sass. I could totally see Rizzle Kicks slamming a verse or two in this track. Lay Me Down, however, is cheesy and of little value-add, with lyrics like "Why don't you lay me down / closer to you". But I'll give her props for having an infectious chorus to this song.
Break Up Song is that synth-heavy summer pop song that will get you feeling a little dizzy with the saccharine melody and laidback beats. If this is Motown-inspired as she claims, then I think that genre would be quite insulted. However, the song does suit her vocal capabilities and her tone lulls me into a peaceful zen.
The giant fans will probably like Ain't Got You, which immediately brought Alicia Key's If I Ain't Got You to mind, which is never a good thing, because then it seems like it lacks authenticity. Then again, I wasn't expecting much. Heart Cry has a static veneer that adds to the generic lyrics that speak of little emotion despite singing of intense feelings of heartbreak. Unfortunately, I am not feeling it.
Leaving You fared much better, with a 7 out of 10 on the emotional scale, no thanks to the simple piano and humming choir backing her amazing runs and licks. The delivery makes it somewhat believable that leaving was the hardest thing she had to ever do.
Overall, Pixie Lott seems to be the girl version of Sam Smith, with songs that are mostly generalised too much with little emotional believability, save for that one or two songs that are radio-friendly hits. Might be good time to change songwriters?
Track Cuts: Nasty, Break Up Song, Leaving You, Ain't Got You.
Photo credit: Virgin EMI Records
Jumble up the letters in Interpol and you get the band's fifth studio album, El Pintor. Perfect anagram, meaning 'the painter' in Spanish; and the indie rockers have definitely painted an amazing masterpiece which brings them back to basics, rediscovering their fundamental sound from their hit debut release, Turn On The Bright Lights.
It's almost like a new age emulation of that first album with all the newly introduced keyboard synths and pads. Almost every track on El Pintor starts with an indie guitar riff. All The Rage Back Home is a great opening track taking you by surprise when the second verse kicks in and prepares you for 9 more interesting tracks. Their unorthodox chord progressions so unique from Bright Lights inspired unique songs like Anywhere and Tidal Wave.
Interpol's lyrics have always been deeply rooted in emotion and impressive vocabulary and they've taken that up a notch here. Each song has a different lyrical style, telling incredible stories with beautifully organised words. Lines like "cruising in my blue supreme" - My Blue Supreme and Breaker 1's "the vacant mind just awaits an explosion from the bright side" make me wonder how they manage to express their feelings of love, frustration and solitude into these new songs.
Definitely a leap forward from their previous eponymous release, El Pintor is an important reminder of Interpol's great contribution to the indie rock scene as well as a pleasure to the thinking ears.
Track Cuts : All The Rage Back Home, Breaker 1, Tidal Wave
Photo credit: Matador Records
Think about this, you are walking in a back alley after a hectic day at work or school. You stumble across an independent café along the back lanes and an independent band is jamming away. That is the type of rawness and organic harmonious which you will hear from The Kooks latest album Listen. It does not add fancy electronic instruments to augment the song further. It’s honest and allows the lyrics to speak for itself. Also infusing a reggae feel (a hint of Jamaican vibe) together with some Blues. The staccato rhythm of the guitar and bongos produces a sunshine and groovy beat. The overall feel resembles a drunken state of mind where the signers are confessing about their true feelings at a pub.
Backstabber takes on a slow approach instead of a head rush of words which one will expect from the title itself. The slurring of words evokes a literal cry of pain: Girl you can’t help yourself, you love the thrill of something that’s not use. You’re a backstabber, gold chaser. Suggesting a cheating relationship and going after money instead of love?
You say you want it, but you cant get it in/ you got yourself a bad habit/ You say you want it, but you can’t get in. Did The Kooks draw their latest inspiration for the single Bad Habit from physical intimacy and curbing them?
Well their latest album leaves many fans in thoughts over the lyrical meaning of the various singles, nothing fanciful just pure music! The Kooks are back and more robust leaving listeners in consternation!
Track Cuts: Backstabber, Bad Habit and Down
Photo credit: Virgin EMI Records