Sunday, April 24, 2011


Dye it Blonde (The Smith Westerns) (2011)

Synth pop has been all the rage with bands of late and The Smith Western dip their hands heavily in it on this their sophomore. There’s a decidedly 80s feel to the DNA of tracks like All Die Young and Only One. The instrumentalism is solid even if it doesn’t totally distinguish itself. Ditto the lyrics but married they accentuate the positives very well. The most interesting blend here is Still New because its bleeding production is tempered in the middle instead of starting things off. The band is still trying too hard to match their heroes thus neglecting their own signature style but Dye it Blonde is good enough for us to eagerly await the next move…hopefully an original one. 7/10

No Witch (The Cave Singers) (2011)

As the first strains of Gifts and the Raft come in the Fleetwood Mac comparisons rush in. And it’s a favorable remark too because The Cave Singers are equally gifted in drafting gritty rock ballads that groove yet forces one to think. Their rustic blues reels itself off effortlessly, yet there is a variety here that The Black Keys lost on their last album. Falls incorporates backing vocals but the lead never loses power. This is just their third album but it is progressive and easily their best. The only thing left for them to perfect is memorable lyrics that read from their own lives a-la Fleetwood Mac. The production though is clean, instrumentals pipe in on cue and the syntax of the vocal arrangements impeccable as noted on the brilliant Swim Club. 8/10

Gramahawk (Modern Skirts) (2011)

One of the most divisive releases this year, Gramahawk is at least very catchy. That said, it isn’t the spawn of the devil as some critics wouldv have you believe. It doesn’t help that the band is from Athens, Georgia or that they really are not a rock band. Sure, Glass of Water is cumbersome but that’s just one outright clunker on the album, which tries to cookie-cutter its pop with slight changes to delivery but not structure. Lead track, Jane Child can stand on its own ground though, full with cooing melodies. The rest is scattershot yet very interesting. Missing in the mix is a coherent hand in the production: the sage type that would have eliminated the rough edges and delve even deeper to find the potential in the album. 6.5/10


The Good, The Bad & The Ugly...

Eli Wallach in a landmark role that would go on to influence all quirky bad male characters.