Sunday, 25 March 2012

The Metaphorical Boat's Album Briefs - March 2012

Whilst I listen to quite a lot of albums at TMB, I very rarely get around to writing up full reviews of each one I listen to. Therefore, I will be introducing a new monthly feature where I will briefly look at some of the albums that have been floating The Metaphorical Boat over the course of the month. Starting with:

Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball


It's reassuring that in Bruce Springsteen's 6th decade of music, he can still throw the odd curveball in his music. In contrast to the hopeful messages of  his previous album "Working on a Dream", "Wrecking Ball" is perhaps the most angry record that he's ever recorded, and his most directly political one as well. With lyrics like "I'd find the b******* and shoot 'em on sight" being targeted at those individuals responsible for economic downturn, it's an album guaranteed to make those of us who didn't do business at university breathe a sigh of relief.

"We Take Care of Our Own" is the closest to a 'pop' single The Boss has released in about 20 years, with the rest of the album featuring elements of Celtic-rock ("Death to My Hometown"), country ("We Are Alive"), and even a hip-hop gospel track, the spectacular "Rocky Ground."

Released: March 2012

Highlights: We Take Care of Our Own, Rocky Ground, Easy Money.

 The Black Keys - El Camino


Until recently, The Black Keys seemed to have been forever confined to the history books as being nothing more than a mere footnote on the blues-rock history alongside more accomplished luminaries like The White Stripes. However, their decision to allow their music to be used incessantly in advertisements has seen their fortunes rise tremendously, to the level that they are now fully certified stadium rockers. This of course means that the band have now accepted the mantle of being the 10's version of Moby.

By now you're all probably familiar with "Gold on the Ceiling", which has been all over TV recently in an advert for donkey urine that has somehow managed to pass itself off as a lager. If you like that track, then you're probably going to like the rest of the album, which doesn't really veer too far from the blueprint of driving drums, dirty guitar riffs and keyboard sounds courtesy of producer Danger Mouse that sound like they've been ripped straight out of the 70s.

Released: December 2011

Highlights:  Gold on the Ceiling, Hell of a Season.

Tribes - Baby


In almost every review I have read of "Baby" by Tribes, the same album comparison keeps cropping up again and again: this album is the 21st Century version of "Coming Up" by Suede (the only exception I've seen is the Pitchfork review, which bizarrely compares it to "Dog Man Star"). I am going to go right ahead and say it now: this album is nothing like "Coming Up." In my humble opinion, Suede's "Coming Up" is the greatest album ever released, so to compare any album to it is a futile experience indeed.

That being said, "Baby" is a decent debut album from the London boys. "We Were Children" sounds like it could easily be a Manic Street Preachers b-side (which is by no means an insult), and "Corner of an English Field" sounds like it's been tailor made for festival season.

Released: January 2012

Highlights: We Were Children, Corner of an English Field

Tigercats - Isle of Dogs

(Fika Recordings/Acuarela)

One of the interesting things about the release of Tigercats' debut album is that it is being released by two different labels. Although artists releasing albums under two different is not uncommon, what is uncommon is for each label to be handling different formats - Fika Recordings will be releasing the vinyl version of "Isle of Dogs", while Acuarela will be releasing the CD version. I can just picture the Looney Tunes-esque shenanigans going on behind the scenes of the two labels in order to convince the band's fans to go for their chosen format over the other.

The album itself is a rather fun beast indeed. There is a real sense of playfulness in not just the band's indie-pop stylings, but also in their not-very-subtle winks to their influences (one song is called "The Vapors", whilst another is an ode to the formerly married pair from Sonic Youth). It's a light, fluffy album, but one that is likely to make you hit repeat over and over again.

Released: April 4th 2012

Highlights: Full Moon Reggae Party, Konny Huck, Harper Lee

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