7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Experimental yes, but great tunes,
This review is from: Some Loud Thunder (Audio CD)
I guess that a follow up to the eponymously titled debut was always going to be difficult. What do you do? More of the same and get slated for being unadventurous or experiment and get slated for not putting out the same material. Whatever they did Clap Your Hands were going to get a serious mauling form some critics and reading around on the internet that's sure what they've got - a serious mauling from SOME critics.
Is it deserved? Absolutely not in my opinion! I can see why some will not like this. Frankly if you didn't get beyond the first track you'd really, really struggle to like this. And the first track's why this album isn't worth five stars because the rest of it is! More of this in a minute. However what we have here is an excellent collection of songs that DOES bear comparison in quality to their debut. There are some excellent tracks here ("Love Song No. 7", "Mama Won't You Keep The Castles In The Air And Burning", "Satan Said Dance", "Goodbye To Mother And The Cove" and "Underwater" stand out for me). They ARE still quirky even though there is a lot more production and effort been ploughed into this and it HAS inevitably lost some of the Lo-Fi brilliance of it's predecessor.
Okay then, Track 1. Well frankly the less said about this the better! I found this a real turn off (literally as I found it painful to listen to!). They have taken what seems like a decent song (when you listen hard enough - which I suggest if you want to keep you hearing intact that you don't) and deliberately distorted it. It really is difficult to listen to without earmuffs on, full of static and a weird metallic lustre that becomes painful after a few seconds. When I turned the CD on for the first play I was very, very disappointed. It took until about track 5 on the first listen to get over it as I was constantly listening for more static as I thought my CD must be duff. But it was deliberate! How daft! What they ought to realise is that by putting something so horrible upfront they are BOUND to aggravate critics! Maybe they'll learn next time.
That's out of the way then - phew! As for the rest of the album, personally i love it. Experimental yes, but great tunes and a pounding rhythm on most songs which most bands can't accomplish without becoming overly loud. I can see that hiring their producer was a mistake and they should banish him back to the hopelessly overrated Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev whence he came. You can hear his influence in lots of little background add-ons such as bells etc. Some of these work but quite often they don't add anything meaningful to the otherwise excellent music.
Overall, this is a very good follow up and a damned sight better than I'd hoped for. Don't listen to the critics that slate this. Listen for yourself. It took me three listens to start really enjoying this and the more I've listened the more I like! A good buy for the discerning ear (apart from track 1)! (7/10)