At once retro in its choices of synth sounds and beats, and modern in -
well, its choices of synth sounds and beats, Biospheres latest sticks to
his familiar sound while striking out into new, backwards-looking
territory. It is most definitely an album of contrasts. Opener Hendai 1,
a bit threatening-sounding, offers an intro that feels much like the
beginnings of a thriller or mystery movie, while its successor, Shika 1,
warms things up out of the fear factor zones with a more approachable
composition. Brimming with intensity, these tracks push one step beyond
ambient music and into something a little more pensive.
Brendan Perry - Ark -101
Former Dead Can Dance member Perrys sophomore set, recorded at Perrys
own home studio, finds the musician on a true solo mission of sorts, as he
wrote all of the songs here and performed all of the instruments himself.
The tracklisting extends that isolated approach, as Perry thinks and
performs his way through musings on life and personal growth, translated
through instruments both typical (guitars, keyboards) and somewhat
unexpected, given his electro/pop background (dulcimer?); and the
carefully-constructed lyrics on tunes like The Devil and the Deep Blue
Sea and Utopia show off Perrys experience and craft.
Blondie - Panic of Girls - AIS
The legendary Debbie Harry and bandmates are back for yet another new set,
with their latest approach attacking solid refrains and radio-friendly
hooks head-on. A blend of electro-punk and some slightly misplaced reggae,
its successful for the most part, although the set may have served itself
better to focus on one sound/genre instead of the two. Le Bleu, with its
dual-language lyrics, and D-Day are catchy updates of the familiar
Blondie pop-punk sound, but tunes like Girlie Girlie drag on way too
long, time that wouldve better been spent expanding the more catchy The
End, The End or instant single What I Heard.
Broken Bells - Meyrin Fields - Columbia
Short (only four songs) but appealingly diverse, the Shins/Danger Mouse
side project serves as follow-up to their critically and fan-acclaimed
2010 debut, opening with The Ghost Inside B-side Meyrin Fields (hence
the albums title), and shifting directly into the more rough,
suspenseful, and funky Windows, the tropicalia/synthy mix of An Easy
Life, and the more mainstream twisted electropop of Heartless Empire,
all of which serve to help define why these two skilled musicians work so
well together as a musical team. Its artsy and concise, and a good look
forward at Broken Bells recordable future.