There is not really all that much to Chvrches – lyric-wise, songwriting wise, voice-wise, or music-wise. But their beats are pretty good, and their new album really works, at least for the first six or seven tracks.
‘Clearest Blue’ gets my nod as the best of the tracks, mostly for the moment when it explodes into a beat and sound that is kind of like Depeche Mode’s ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’, but possibly better. Chvrches seem to think it is the centrepiece of the album as well, deciding not to follow it up in the track sequence with another Lauren Mayberry-sung track that is likely not going to measure up, but shifting the mood by inserting in a track sung by Martin Doherty instead.
4. One Thing – Beach House
I saw a link to a review for a new release by Beach House, and I thought that it surely couldn’t be a new album, given that their latest ‘Depression Cherry’ came out just a couple of months ago. But indeed it was. As opposed to a lot of their recent output, which seems to just float on by to me and is barely remembered, ‘One Thing’ lurches along, particularly in its intro, with a guitar reminiscent of late ‘80s British rock bands such as Ride and My Bloody Valentine. It then doesn’t have too much up its sleeve after that, but I always like a good shoegaze guitar riff.
3. Namaste – Swim Deep
What does Namaste mean? What are the lyrics to this song? Even if I see the lyrics typed out I don’t know what they mean. The bursts of sound are what get me on this one, both the keys at the start, and then later on with Austin Williams’ scream/shout. The Swim Deep album as a whole is actually pretty good as well, with ‘Hotel California’ (which I’ve mentioned here before) and ‘Great Affection’ being other seemingly instantly recognisable tracks.
2. All The Same – Deerhunter
‘My home, anywhere, expect no comforts save for air’ sings Bradford Cox to start off Deerhunter’s seventh album. The lines suggest adaptability, but by the time Cox gets to the chorus of ‘it’s all the same’ they are more suggestive of apathy instead. Except Cox is not a guy who ever really sounds apathetic; that is more the domain of his bandmate Lockett Pundt (see Lotus Plaza, ‘Desire Lines’). Hence rather than sounding like it doesn’t give a damn ‘All the Same’ gets Deerhunter’s new album off to a lively start.
Grimes has a lot more lyrics on her new album. Since I like a good pop song more than I like a good instrumental track this is a good thing to me, and therefore I’ve probably listened to her new album more than her last, with ‘Oblivion’ being the obvious exception.
‘Flesh Without Blood’ comes from the popular 21st century genre of pop disses to exes, though reportedly not an ex-partner in this case. ‘And you had every chance/You destroy everything that you love … If you don’t need me/Just let me go’. But the tune is so jubilant that it took me a couple of listens to realise that essentially the cat claws were out. Going ‘pop’ can be a dicey proposition, but if it means Grimes keeps making music like this – which does sound like the type of music we imagined we would someday be listening to in 2015 – then I am for it. (I’m less keen on her making album covers like this.)