Artist: Guided by Voices
Album: Let’s Go Eat the Factory
The Guided by Voices back-catalogue is a veritable odyssey, spanning over thirty albums and EPs, so it should perhaps be of no surprise that these prolific veterans could not resist returning after an eight-year hiatus. As the first outing for the band’s “classic line-up” since 1996, Factory harkens back to the their earlier days, with four track production and an abundance of short, snappy songs rarely clocking in at over two minutes.
The lo-fi fuzz that surrounds these recordings aids the transition over twenty-one tracks, yet the band’s love of progressive rock shines through with the David Gilmour-esque guitar on ‘The Big Hat and Toy Show’, and there is even a brilliant use of trumpet to round off the chorus on ‘Imperial Horseracing’. The pinnacle is ‘Chocolate Boy’; a breezy acoustic ballad that recalls Flaming Lips at their best. Simply put, it’s the very welcome return of a massively influential band.
In a Nutshell: A brilliant cacophony of lo-fi indie rock.
by Dan Moriarty
Artist: The Big Pink
Album: Future This
London-based duo The Big Pink’s latest offering Future This is a poor follow-up to their 2009 debut. The opening track ‘Stay Gold’ is reminiscent of ‘Dominos’, their biggest hit to date, but does not possess the same charm, while the remainder of the album falls flat in its wake. There is a distinct lack of lyrical vigour, most notable in songs such as ‘Lose Your Mind’, which contain predictable lines like “I owe it to me/ Now yesterday’s gone/ Doing it on my own”.
The record leaves a lot to be desired; many tracks fill the listener with anticipation, awaiting a break into a cracking chorus, but they all too often fail to reach such heights. Overall the album is quite inoffensive but it remains a shady grey throughout, offering nothing new or exciting but providing what could be construed as good background noise.
In a Nutshell: A boring and forgettable effort from the indie duo.
by Ciara Andrews
Artist: Enter Shikari
Album: A Flash Flood of Colour
Enter Shikari’s first two albums were refreshing and interesting takes on the dance-infused hardcore genre they helped to pioneer. However, they were not without fault, both efforts containing too many songs with a few too many ideas thrown into the mix at once.
A Flash Flood of Colour is easily their best work to date. The best elements from their last albums were hand-picked and perfectly mixed with fresh ideas to form an incredibly interesting, and most importantly, fun album. Crucially, they have learned to trim the fat off songs, resulting in a consistent album that flows properly and isn’t over laden with ideas.
The band have managed to write songs that cover serious issues like environmentalism and capitalism, while maintaining a sense humour. It is nigh on impossible to not at least tap your foot while listening to this, despite the occasionally heavy lyrics.
In a Nutshell: Fancy getting shouted at about the economy, while dancing simultaneously? Acquire this.
by Conor O’Nolan
Artist: The Internet
Album: Purple Naked Ladies
When you hear that Syd tha Kyd and Matt Martian of Odd Future fame have teamed up under the guise of The Internet, it’s understandable to be a little excited. Unfortunately, that excitement is misplaced. After listening to the group’s debut, Purple Naked Ladies, you’ll be left with two things; disappointment and a sneaking suspicion that both members have an exceedingly short attention span.
It’s clear that The Internet know noughties R&B incredibly well and make some admirable attempts to blend it with some current music trends. That said, they try and force too many ideas together and don’t spend enough time trying to ensure that the ideas gel. The result is a frustrating, potentially decent record that needed somebody to say “Enough!” It is made all the more frustrating due to the utter brilliance of the track ‘Cocaine’, a demonstration of how good it could have been.
In a Nutshell: Incredibly disappointing. Forget the album, just listen to ‘Cocaine’.
by David Moloney
Artist: The Maccabees
Album: Given to the Wild
London indie-rockers The Maccabees have shown a willingness to embrace musical eclecticism on their third record, and this is certainly a move for the better. The album begins with the haunting, almost euphoric ambience of the title track, which fades into the true start; the melancholic slow burn of ‘Child’. The next four tracks are infectious, upbeat tunes that unfortunately sound like one good, but ultimately forgettable, twenty-minute song. This trend is pleasantly broken when the downbeat expanse of ‘Forever I’ve Known’ and ‘Heave’ finally come along.
‘Pelican’ and ‘Went Away’, especially the latter, are a pleasantly energetic twist to the album, both songs recalling Vampire Weekend’s excitable brand of indie. More room is made for sonic sharp turns with the touching ‘Go’, before ending on a climactic high with ‘Grew Up at Midnight’. It’s a big finish, but one the album undoubtedly deserves.
In a Nutshell: Recommended, diverse indie.
by Stefan Braken