Fall Album Reviews: Part One
By: John Verburg
In the past month or so, there have been a plethora of releases of significance. I love the word plethora by the way. Thanks El Guapo. Phil Moreno touched on one of those releases with his Muse review on Wednesday, but that is just scratching the surface, so I thought I would start attacking these albums more than one at a time. Basically, a short synopsis of what my tin ear has heard, so you all can hopefully sign in and comment, either agreeing or vehemently telling me I suck crap. We try to be a fun community here at West Michigan Indie. Really. Sign in and make a comment once in a while.
Without further delay…
At first, I kind of didn’t like the album. I had heard it before it was released, and ‘Mirage Rock’ is lacking in the same kind of grandiose sound that the Band of Horses have been able to produce their three previous albums. Despite the lack of epic tunes like “The Funeral” there is more than enough reason to sit down and get cozy with ‘Mirage Rock’. The album is full of breezy, well-crafted, tunes that take us back 30-40 years ago when bands like the Eagles, America, and Crosby, Stills, and Nash were popular. There is no doubt that songs like “Dumpster World”, “Shut In Tourist”, and “Everything’s Gonna Be Undone” are going to stick in my head. And that’s okay, because it will undoubtedly relax me. As a bonus, if you buy the CD, there is a 5 song EP as well that lacks any filler. They easily could’ve been album songs.
I probably shouldn’t be reviewing this one as quickly as I am, given that I haven’t listened to the album but a couple of times. Alt-J is definitely interesting, and he has a voice that is very distinct, and often times tough to understand. “Breezeblocks” is a tremendously catchy song, and is representative of the kind of music littered throughout the album. It sounds like Alt-J enjoys playing with all the bells and whistles, but in general puts together sounds that are pleasing to the ear. “Estocada” is a highlight that you shouldn’t miss. ‘An Awesome Wave’ is mostly chilled out, but is nicely balanced between being playful and brooding.
Mumford and Sons return with their follow up to ‘Sigh No More’, and needless to say from the rating, I was disappointed. As any of my friends will tell you, I am a big fan of British music in general, and have known about Mumford for some time, even before their breakthrough in the U.S. Being a fan of theirs, I was looking forward to the second album. The problem? There is absolutely no growth in them as a band from their first album to the second. It’s not that ‘Babel’ doesn’t have some good songs, it does. But ‘Babel’ essentially just sounds like an extension of ‘Sigh No More’ and that just doesn’t cut it. Most of the songs start with a slow burn, building to crashing choruses. I’m not looking for Mumford and Sons to re-invent themselves, I just was looking for ‘Babel’ not to bore me.