Album Catch Up: White, Lotus & Shjips
Posted by angrybonbon
This post was originally prefaced by a rant about my resentment at being caught up with the relentless production of the new. I’ve cut it for another day in order to focus on the music.
What this 300 word bluster hoped to emphasise was that I know what I’m doing when I review three albums that have been out for a while. I know they’re not new. I know they’re so first half of 2010. Yet one of the only things my advancing years have given me, in relation to music at least, is that you have to give some albums time in order to embrace or reject them (fully or partially).
So first up is an album that has grown to be embraced and loved and returned to often – Thomas White’s The Maximalist. Thank the lord I didn’t try and write an immediate and speedy review after my first listen – my initial reactions were muted and blunted. Since then I’ve realised that these 12 multi-layered slices of the psychedelic amount to something really special. Thus tunes such as the Warren Zevon cover ‘Accidentally Like a Martyr’ are not naff, but remarkably alluring; the sudden shift from sun beamed bliss to angular Autechre digitalism on ‘Moonlight and Snow’ is not ‘trying too hard’, but works completely; that the driving moody throb of ‘Jerusalem Thorn’ is accompanied by some brilliant lyrics; and that Jeff Wayne-esque interplanetary operatics of ‘Synapse Galaxy’ are a glorious balance of the silly and sinister. [Purchase]
Second in this out-of-time catch-up is Flying Lotus’ Cosmogramma, an album that will no doubt appear in many end of the year lists as a (token) nod to things electronica. However, I pretty sure it won’t be in mine. There’s plenty to reward here, particularly some nice coincidences of harps, strings and abrasive beats on different tracks, and the sheer diversity of sounds provoke some moments of admiration. Yet it seems most tracks are mere sketches begging to be finished. The average tune length is two and a half minutes and hence you’re just settling into the concept and sound when it’s cruelly taken away from you. Overall, impressive but fairly unsatisfying. [Purchase]
Finally, Wooden Shjips and their latest collection Volume 2 – a band that knows nothing of short tunes or, for that matter, complicated arrangements, but are all the better and satisfying for it. So there’s nothing here that will startle, there’s no huge change of direction, just big chunks of fuzz with simple structures that play with your senses until you’re smiling with a familiar disorientation. [Purchase]
Thanks for your time. [ENDS]