Weekly Capsule Reviews: 09/04/2017


This week: Father John Misty, Grandaddy, Wire, Depeche Mode, Jamiroquai, Los Campesinos!

Father John Misty: Pure Comedy [Bella Union, 07/04/2017]

Music’s current and number-one Jekyll and Hyde; there’ll be another one down the road, don’t you worry. Josh Tillman has always been a sneak in his sociopolitical/cultural knowledge and near know-how: “I’m more of a fan of music journalism than I am of the music that’s covered. There’s something in that critical thought that feels relaxing to me.” I almost want to believe him. And if he isn’t, by any chance, telling any porky pies with this quote, my job is validated beyond keeping myself grounded. Pure Comedy and FJM himself being didactic is too obvious, and that’s the point. If you’re still checking your newsfeed on your deathbed or putting all your money on the great songs setting you free, you’re in his bad books, for this record, at least. The phrase “separating the art from the artist” is redundant here. He’ll come off a parody of himself otherwise. That is/could be the point as well, mind. Everything with this guy is nested opinion, art, and “living” within nested opinion, art, and “living”. His ironic-irony shtick is so translucently hiding something so obvious you have to listen again to verify what that obvious is, because you know what it is, you just can’t explain it. And neither can he. (7/10)

Grandaddy: Last Place [30th Century, 03/03/2017]

Concocting ’60s love with now’s now, Jason Lytle’s reminiscing doesn’t so much conjure new music but sets a different perspective on his plaintive outlook—that being his nostalgic point of view here is how looking back should always be carried out. You have to listen for yourself, really. And you’ll understand me when the accordion sounds of “That’s What You Get for Gettin’ Outta Bed” and the string section’s elevation-minus-turmoil in “This is the Part” kick in. Maybe Lytle should move away more often. (7/10)

Wire: Silver / Lead [Pinkflag (self-released), 31/03/2017]

Always wondering if Colin Newman is singing about his feelings, his mellower approach to addressing the world is probably how they’ve managed to stay the course; I think this is why their latest effort is making me question “feelings” in these art-punkers, whereas I never had to think about it when they were at their sometimes-under-two-minutes best. Now at their sometimes-over-four-minutes best, more ramblings about how singularly isolating technology is ensue but doesn’t stop their own usage. It’s for their art, remember. (7/10)

Depeche Mode: Spirit (Deluxe Edition) [mute, 17/03/2017]

Funny how this is as human as they’ve ever been given their distress at the irresponsible technology use by humankind when they’ve been at fault their entire mechanical tenure themselves. Dave Gahan, for all of a third of a record, moves from revolution via the machines to via the words—at this point, contextually, one is no more practical than the other. His ire isn’t so much justified when he does a one-eighty from moralist to love guy. And when the techno remixes on the deluxe fire the “songs” back to Computer World, “Going Backwards” holds an entirely different meaning. (6/10)

Jamiroquai: Automaton [Virgin EMI, 31/03/2017]

Back with a disco bang, Jay Kay is free again from his past transgressions off the dance floor with even more of them on it. The beats in the title track are only just discovering post-dubstep (we’re well after the discovery of the “post” bit, I’ll have you know), which is nearly refreshing given his rehash of every floor-filler since jazz decided to go suit-and-tie-less. At least there isn’t “acid disco”… yet. (6/10)

Los Campesinos!: Sick Scenes [Wichita, 24/02/2017]

Initially thinking “Thirty-one, and depression is a young man’s game” into “A peloton of OAPs cycling up behind me/Shouting, ‘Step up your paces, we’ve got places to be'” was the best advice given on life truly beginning after your rat race is over, I was deflated to discover it was baby boomers’ disgust with Generation Snowflake. (6/10)


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