Weekly Capsule Reviews: 11/06/2017


This week: The Afghan Whigs, Paramore, Paul Weller, Linkin Park, The Coronas

The Afghan Whigs: In Spades [Sub Pop, 05/05/2017]

In this semi-jam-like session, these grounded space-rockers care about the rock tradition enough in keeping it ambiguously indecipherable in lyrics of love which are moderately lost within the production no matter how much Greg Dulli wants to let rip. (7/10)

Paramore: After Laughter [Fueled by Ramen, 12/05/2017]

Hayley Williams is better controlled on After Laughter with her world crumbling around her (again). The music ameliorates the situation she’s always purposely concocted. It’s flashier, brighter, and she’s more willing to put up with the shit she’s probably the instigator of. But not content, definitely not that. (7/10)*

*(amended grade on the 14/07/2017)

Paul Weller: A Kind Revolution [Parlophone, 12/05/2017]

In the year of cultural appropriation being a sin (what am I talking about, that’s every year!), Weller has and will always be one who feels the need to thank his inspirations even when he was an AOR-punk himself. Always the Anglo-bluesman, “Woo Sé Mama”, “Long Long Road”, “She Moves with the Fayre”, “The Cranes are Back”, the Caribbean wont of “One Tear”, and “Satellite Kid” showcase this in its simplest and most straightforward form. The rest is rock ‘n’ roll in its simplest and most straightforward form. Necessary, but mostly unstimulating, and always derivative. (6/10)

Linkin Park: One More Light [Machine Shop/Warner Bros., 19/05/2017]

There’s a lot to admire about this, honestly. A lot of romantic guff surrounds rock ‘n’ roll and its supposed underlying sound even if rock is dead/has died (it isn’t/hasn’t) or if rock music is futile to begin with (it is/isn’t). The guff here revolves around the stigma of a pop-metal to pop-pop morph where a “change in direction” is only warranted when the fanboy can’t actually be bothered or know how to spot any differences. At least this is a total “reform”, or at least a naive mimic of COP (child-oriented pop). It has it all, actually—passive-aggressiveness; doomed in love; always [half] right, never wrong—but they’ll only end up talking to themselves. I didn’t say it was any good, though. (4/10)

The Coronas: Trust the Wire [So Far So Good (self-released), 02/06/2017]

Squeaky-clean sycophants and music-biz panderers (the latter not necessarily a bad thing in a lot of contexts) who had a pep in their sterile step before this absolutely unaffected, life-loving snoozefest came by. “We Couldn’t Fake It” makes “Just Like That” sound like a rock ‘n’ roll revival. That might actually be the unfortunate case if this is the best thing in Ireland at the moment. (Hint: it isn’t). (3/10)


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