Thursday, April 12, 2012

Nada Surf - The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy

On their 6th album Nada Surf aim to capture the raw energy of their live shows. This subtle shift in recording dynamic has allowed the band to freshen up their sound. The guitars marry chiming guitar riffs with sweet distortion, the rhythm section bounces like a honeymoon couple on their wedding night. The slashed guitars and crashing drums rolls of No Snow on The Mountain aptly demonstrate the success of this new approach. A tumbling chord sequence and a bright riff sparkle on Teenage Dreams.

Matthew Caws lyrics are just the right side of twee and if they do occasional slip into cliché the sliver plated melodies more than compensate. When I Was Young is built around a beautifully light weight acoustic guitar refrain like dust dancing in sunlight the swirling electric guitars that arrive half way through add a dazzling counterpoint. Still mourning the demise of R.E.M.? Then get you fix of top draw college rock here.

Tony Heywood (c)

Review first published in Electric Ghost Magazine

Stealing Sheep – Noah & The Paper Moon

Stealing Sheep – Noah & The Paper Moon

Liverpool trio Stealing Sheep create a heady brew of twisted folk mores, Velvet Underground haze and warped acoustic rhythms. Noah & The Paper Moon is their debut release on Heavenly and it sounds like the Wickerman soundtrack refracted through a half tuned radio. Beautiful folksy melodies shrouded in a gauze of warm drones. It’s the Ghostbox label reimagined by a young Kate Bush.

The spectre of the Nico and John Cale haunts the jaunty folk pop opener I am The Rain. It is a little gem of a track and at 1.49 is over before you get the chance to grasp is beauty. Noah’s Days hangs suspended on a set of gossamer synth chords before the acoustic guitars and bewitching melodies kick in. The machine pulse and slivery guitars of Pass Through You perfectly frame the vocal harmonies, the song dissolving into pools of discordant noise before the ethereal coda closes it out. A heady bewitching brew.

Tony Heywood (C)

Review First Published in Electric Ghost Magazine

Youth Lagoon - The Year of Hibernation

Youth Lagoon - The Year of Hibernation

Youth Lagoon is the alias of 22 year old American Trevor Powers. His debut release The Year of Hibernation is his way of dealing with the anxiety that would otherwise overpower him. It’s music as therapy. Power’s fear has created wonderful collect of songs that belie his tender age. Full of razor sharp tunes, clever arrangements and sparkling music box riffs. Imagine Bon Iver meeting early New Order for a drunken jam.

Posters is all brittle machine rhythms, fragile melodies and vocals that seem to fade in sunlight. July distils 20 odd years of Indie rock into a glorious swirling lament of chiming guitars and shoring synth strings. It builds from its whispered opening to a chorus that’s the size of Alaska. Daydream has a twitching 80’s bassline and programmed beats that are smile educing. The lo-fi production adds a layer of naivety to the songs that only increases their callow charm. Can’t way to hear what he produces next. Recommended.

First Published in Electric Ghost Magazine