4 ½ Stars
I will say this now before I change my mind as this is a most absurd proclamation, but: ‘Destroy Everything You Touch’ is the electronic-pop single of the year. Like ‘Seventeen’ before it, it’s instantly likeable, highly addictive, and flawless in the accomplishment of its vision. Moving forward from their electro-clash sound of 604 and Light & Magic, Ladytron have turned to lush production (similar to M83 in its scope) and a larger palette of aural pleasure for Witching Hour. Like Soulwax, this album aims for a balance between rock and dance, with the majority of tracks utilising very tasteful guitars and real drumkits to great effect for the more dancefloor orientated tracks (the explosive ‘Sugar’ and the gothic after-midnight stomp of ‘Fighting In Built Up Areas’), but resorting back to pure electronic mastery for the slower ballads, most noticeably the cold, slow-burning and apocalyptic ‘Soft Power’. Every song is a delicate treat for the senses. The infinitely dense synth pads and highly-processed vocals of Helen Marnie and Mira Aroyo wash over you in waves; My Bloody Valentine has been an obvious influence. Many of the songs hit on an intimate and emotional level you never knew Ladytron were capable of (aren’t they robots?). A highly addictive album; the incredible-sounding vocals and the melodies they carry will be swimming around your head for days.
If Ladytron really are robots: They have perfected rhythm and decoded human emotion… what next? Be afraid…
Take Me With You When You Go
3 1/2 Stars
This is the first time I’d ever heard Sodastream. Mistaking this EP for a debut, I was very impressed at how focused and skilled these seven tracks sounded. Finding almost nothing about them on the internet, it turns out that Sodastream, comprised of Karl Smith and Pete Cohen who hail from Melbourne, have over seven years and seven releases under their name, and have done cool things such as record a Peel session at the BBC and worked with bedroom producer maestro J.Walker of Machine Translations. I really should try to hide my dodgy music knowledge sometimes…
Anyway, if you’re like me and don’t know who they are, Sodastream make warm, authentic indie folk-pop, and Smith has a delicate and sincere voice somewhere between Nick Drake and a restrained Jeff Mangum (I’m not completely clueless…). Of course, the comparison to Belle & Sebastian must be made, but basically any cardigan-wearing band gets compared to them. Just under 30 minutes, the EP is a perfect length, able to keep your attention without allowing you to get bored or doze off. It mainly keeps a very high level of standard (notably, the dreamy melody and great string arrangements in ‘Cane and Rice’), but unfortunately there are a few dips here and there (such as ‘Cotton Fields’ which crosses the line into cheesy sing-a-long). Overall though, this is a precise and satisfying EP, confident in its sound and maturity.
If Sodastream were a soda, they would be: Clear Cola, remember that! …No reason why, just wanted to bring up clear cola…
Ministry Of Sound
Chillout Sessions 8
Ministry Of Sound
Geez it’s hard to review MOS releases. I don’t know… like what’s the point in reviewing this anyway? Beach loving, Dior wearing, fake-tan glamour’s are going to love it no matter what, and the snobby, fancy-hair indie kids will scoff at it. The intention of chillout music is for it to be played as background music at bars for people in suits trying to subtly flash their BMW car keys at the ladiez next to them, or for beautiful girls in bikini’s sipping cocktails on a deckchair in summer. Besides those two situations, why would you want to listen to this? The CD calls the music ‘beach house’ for gods sake. How can I possibly enjoy listening to this on repeat in my tiny, claustrophobic room? I can’t, and I don’t. Even listening to this after recovering from Parklife, I was left unimpressed. Besides a few choice song selections (noticeably Zero 7’s ‘Climbing Up The Walls’ remix, the bouncy ‘Mindtrip’ by Hot Toddy, the serene ‘The Most Beautiful Girl’ by Datarock, SS’s ‘Comfortably Numb’ which is so not chillout, but whatever, and the perfect kind of sunny, holiday cheese in ‘Doop’ by Manhead and ‘Latin Player’ by Dr Rubberfunk), the rest of the choices feel very uninspired. Out of 38 tracks, about eight stick in my mind. The rest form a mush of MOR beach house nothingness. For background use only.
If you really want to chillout: listen to Air, or Röyksopp, or St Germain you precious indie kid you.