Weekly Capsule Reviews: 10/09/2017

americandream

This week: BROCKHAMPTON, LCD Soundsystem, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard with Mild High Club, Elder

Classics: Gang of Four


BROCKHAMPTON: SATURATION II [Question Everything, Inc./EMPIRE, 25/08/2017]

Part two of 2017’s trilogy makes me think the first record was too brazen, too, forgive me, diverse. Part two is a more consistent listen even if still as brazenly posturing as June’s part one. Tackling the issues we’re accustomed to—the institutionalised racism, disadvantaged starts, bereft of opportunities—the subject matter is a lot more digestible with the positivity it’ll eventually exude when the inevitable light at the end of the tunnel is reached (“SUNNY” and “SUMMER”, no coincidence). Was the first effort as good as initially thought? No. This is a more well-rounded piece. (8/10)


LCD Soundsystem: american dream [DFA/Columbia, 01/09/2017]

With James Murphy intentionally letting slip the untrustworthy domain of a break-up—predicated on ticket sales—for which I don’t hold any grudges, his cynicism on american dream seems less fraught with what he and the band were originally promulgating previously. Surprising given the self-cultivated and uncertain times we’re currently inhabiting. The uncertainty LCD Soundsystem use as a weapon, not a precursor to a solution, importantly. The machinery takes a back seat; not the physical machinery but the transhumanists behind the machinery. You could even say it’s human. Don’t believe me? Text the cops. (8/10)


King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard with Mild High Club: Sketches of Brunswick East (collaboration) [Flightless/Heavenly, 18/08/2017]

Sketches of Pain, more like, bringing their schizo technicalities to the jazz world. Both could well be left at home. (5/10)


Elder: Reflections of a Floating World [Stickman, 02/06/2017]

Extraordinarily proficient rhythms and harmonious guitars hammering out thick, intricate grooves. A stead drummer keeping his heavy-handedness to as much of a minimum and/or maximum as is needed. An album that doesn’t sound like their Electric Wizard past. I kind of want that. (4/10)


Classics

Gang of Four: Entertainment! [EMI, 25/09/1979]

This cult classic is eminently endearing and you don’t even have to look through the clunky, cluttering guitar; up-front, in-your-face basslines; and cheap tinny production, because they’re magnetic. The Leeds quartet brought forward punk ideals into a more groove-based realm keeping with lyrics of a societal and political nature. Their vexations towards the Troubles in the North of Ireland, consumerism, classism, and violence are scholastic. Preppy college types, they compared “Contract” to Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère and their artistic endeavours brought gloomy post-punk into a more pedagogic, European sphere with themes of situationism and proletarian movements. Even the album artwork depicts a cowboy and Indian conversing before the former indulges into a tasty bit of imperialism. You may feel the criticism of wealthier classes and their liberal righteousness is trite, and you may be right, but funk and post-punk with insightful frustrated prose, no matter the political and/or economic divide, is good enough. Especially when this home-grown. (9/10)


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