Under Rug Swept
Here's to hoping Alanis passes whatever high-school poetry class she's currently enrolled in.
-- Brandon Laney
When I heard the Gorillaz first self-titled album last year, I was hyped. Then I heard it in everybody's car for a couple of weeks straight. It went from sweet to annoying in record time. But by then, I had already bought it. Now I don't listen to it at all. So when I saw that the eclectic ensemble had a new release, I was curious if it would follow suit.
Unlike the first one, this nine-track release with four remixes and five "new" tracks appears to suck right off the bat. For me, the highlight of the first release was Del the Funky Homosapien's guest spots. The Bay Area enigma added legitimacy to the somewhat schizophrenic project. But the only rhyming on this album is from Phi Life Cypher, who sounds like a flat-out Eminem imitator with his rhyme structure and subject matter. The remixes seem hastily crafted. Alas there's one good song on this disc, the long and groovy "Faust," whose mellow beat and infectious melody just aren't quite enough to excuse the aural assault of a horrible track like "Ghost Train."
Overall the best thing about this album is the artwork. Every track has its own little illustration in the booklet, and they are all quite dope. Speaking of dope, you'll need plenty to enjoy this album for more than a few listens.
-- Marc Huebert
The Psychedelic Furs
Talk Talk Talk
The Psychedelic Furs
Talk Talk Talk
I remember the first time you heard the Psychedelic Furs. It was the summer of 1983, and you were loitering around this one girl's house, anxiously awaiting a make-out session that never quite materialized. You were nervous and desperate, yet defiant. You were determined not to succumb to the emotional torrent, but were too self-conscious to avoid it. You were in puberty.
Now you too can relive puberty with the re-release of the Psychedelic Furs' first three albums, each in an expanded edition that has not only been remastered by Mark Wilder and produced for reissue by Bruce "More Cowbell" Dickinson, but has been copied millions of times and packaged for retail sale to the general public. These albums are available at stores.
The first one, 1980's Psychedelic Furs almost sounds like some musically untrained, drunken Brits exploring soundscapes and free-association poetry. According to the newly re-expanded liner notes, that's just what it is. It has four extra tracks that are pretty sweet. The one that was recorded with Joy Division causes you to exclaim, "This sounds like Joy Division." Damn, you're good!
The second one is 1981's Talk Talk Talk and this one is truly great. "Dumbwaiters," "She is Mine" and "Pretty in Pink" are super classics and your breakup is begging to have this album as its soundtrack. Fortunately the remastering doesn't polish off the rough edges, but rather reveals them, leaving Richard Butler's unmistakable voice quivering and scratching in the foreground.
The third one, 1982's Forever Now, contains six extra tracks and
is another winner. Though not as digestible as Talk Talk Talk, it's still worth another listen.
Song of the Sovereign
With the likes of Aesop Rock, Atmosphere, Sage Francis and Cannibal Ox, the realm of abstract, poetic hip-hop has surfaced. While emcees such as Rock and Francis have had quite the success, some acts should try other avenues. Enter Labtekwon's release, Song of the Sovereign, a 17-piece collection of inner thoughts and urban experiences. The beats are melodic and engaging but the lyrics are often distracting. Songs such as "Culture" and "The Art of Love" show Lab at his best, but the majority of the album gets a bit too close to rambling nothingness and might be better as pure instrumental. Toward the end you do start to actually vibe and get where Labtekwon is coming from. But with so many fingers quick to draw on the skip button, few may ever know that.
-- Kevin Jack