Weekly Capsule Reviews – 20/11/2016


This week: Mekons, Metallica, L.A. Salami, Two Door Cinema Club, Olly Murs, The Pop Group

Mekons – Existentialism (02/09/2016 – Bloodshot Records)

As per usual they don’t seem to take their existence too seriously, like all well-informed (or misinformed) existential nihilists do. After the bass-heavy opener I felt my rhythm senses tingling, something that I could leave my bass-heavy headphones let me sink into. Alas, in arrives the cowpunk with a mix of a rebel’s vigil across the placid-to-potentially-temperamental landscape. This collection of tracks sounds like rebel songs, songs for the past and songs for the now—now being the Brexit/Trump age. That onion track is neat—something for the anti-nows. (7/10)

Metallica – Hardwired… to Self-Destruct (18/11/2016 – Blackened Recordings (self-released))

If you delve past the transgressions of their speed and look to what James Hetfield has to say you nearly always hear something of note. The music biz gets an ear-full and “We can’t live forever” is obvious in its projection but likeable and steadfast nonetheless. And even if you decide to look into their speed directly it’s almost as impressive as ever, even if Lars Ulrich is sick of going through the percussion-over-drums emotions. It isn’t until “Now That We’re Dead” some sort of loose melody (some) breaks through showing smarts in the thrash surrounds. Hardwired… to Self-Destruct‘s “type” of macho-masculinity I don’t mind, being a far-cry from the hair-metal compatriots/foes they naively thought they were combatting in the mid-’80s. That biz song you say? “Moth into Flame” is a commentary on the seductive nature of fame—hypocritical to many, maybe, but given Hetfield’s newfound, clean-living attitude I say well done. The second half is very much what the diehards were dreading and the rest were expecting. Side one: enjoyable thrash. Side two: generic but enjoyable thrash. Are you a diehard and don’t agree with my side-two sentiments? Listen to the finale and get back to me. (7/10)

L.A. Salami – Dancing with Bad Grammar: The Directors Cut (26/08/2016 – Sunday Best Recordings)

Too much J Dilla to go around—ya don’t have to tell me, L.A. He can’t catch the bird, whether nature-related or love-related, he seems at a loss. There’s always something wrong with life and I think he feels it’s his own fault for the most part. I won’t stand in his way; his ethnicity doesn’t seem to be an excuse for his perceived plight. Stick to the correct ethics and get fucked—ya don’t have to tell me, L.A. This is boring as fuck, though—he refers to his music as “postmodern blues”. What…? (7/10)

Two Door Cinema Club – Gameshow (14/10/2016 – Parlophone Records/Transgressive Records)

More-than-disco dilettantes exploring the realms of dance-floor rock—heavy for the fanboys, heavier for the rest of us. (6/10)

Olly Murs – 24 HRS (Deluxe Edition) (11/11/2016 – Epic Records/Syco Music)

I have no doubt young Oliver knows what love is given his rapid ascent through the pop world and I have no doubt he knows the unpredictability of love even if he’s as quintessentially clueless to the generalisation of it in a twenty-first-century pop record. This is it, Oliver. There’s always at least a handful of hooks to keep the twelve-year-olds coming. The deluxe edition? One decent track (“That Girl”). Worth the cash? Are you one of those twelve-year-olds…? (5/10)

The Pop Group – Honeymoon on Mars (28/10/2016 – Freaks R Us (self-released))

Built on anti-grooves and static, the erratic nature of their sound mirrors their disgust with the world, which we’ve heard a lot of since For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder?—it isn’t until “Little Town” we hear some sort of decipherable groove, albeit with a rickety guitar. Like all post-punk panoplies—not the “revivalists” as much—the pretensions of their art lie in the basslines. The Pop Group won’t admit it’s all they had. Hence, this. (5/10)


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