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4Play: James Blake, The Script, Edwyn Collins, The Dodos

Kristi Kates - March 14th, 2011
James Blake - James Blake - Universal
Blake’s unique, downtrodden take on dubstep may not be for everyone - or
at least, not for those who don’t appreciate a certain level of
pensiveness - but his skills at melding quietude with beats can’t be
denied. The studied awkwardness of the piano on “Give Me My Month,” the
street corner loneliness and abandoned penny organ sounds of
“Measurements,” the ’80s detachment of “Lindisfarne II,” and the clicky
apathy of “The Wilhelm Scream” never pick up the pace to take the listener
anywhere at all, but that unmoving sadness is part of what makes this
album succeed - as long as the listener is in a very specific frame of
mind for the listen.

 
The Script - Science and Faith - Epic
The opposite end of the spectrum from Blake, we find Irish band The
Script, endlessly dynamic and constantly moving as they are. This
sophomore album is very much along the same vein of the debut set, written
by the band’s Danny O’Donoghue and Mark Sheehan, and catchy numbers one
and all. The Script’s one failing is that they occasionally get a little
too pop for their own good; tunes like “Nothing” become a little too boy
band, while if they stuck with more introspective tracks like “This =
Love,” “If You Ever Come Back,” and the science-vs-life title track,
they’d showcase more of the smarts that are actually one of their many
strengths.


Edwyn Collins - Losing Sleep - Downtown Records
The long-shot return of Collins is a surprising one, both for fans of
Collins’ influential band, Orange Juice, and for the man himself.
Sidelined for years by a brain hemorrhage, Collins fought for his music as
well as for his life, and this album is nothing short of reward. Kicking
off with the energetic title track - complete with a beat borrowed from
The Jam/The Supremes - the whole set is a popcomplishment, from the breezy
Britpop and broad sweeping guitars of “Do It Again” (co-written w/ Franz
Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos) to the ratchety-guitar’d Johnny Marr
collaboration “Come Tomorrow, Come Today.” Cheers, Collins - welcome back.
 

The Dodos - No Color - FK Records
They might be working primarily with a guitar and snare drum, but The
Dodos’ sound is pretty much a complete 180 from anything the White Stripes
have done. First indie-pop single “Black Night” is far more reminiscent of
I’m From Barcelona (with only a solo lead vocal) or Death Cab for Cutie,
with its machine-gun beat, softly spiky (how did they do that?) guitar,
and sympathetic, melodic vocal line. “Good” reverses direction so many
times you’ll feel like you’re on a musical go-cart track (not a bad
thing); and a plethora of songs feature vocals from honorary temporary
member Neko Case, who adds her distinctive croon to the proceedings.
 

 
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