Wounded Lion - IVXLCDM
It is really difficult to review IVXLCDM, the new Wounded Lion album, without conjuring up images of David Byrne and his unfeasibly large shouldered suit. Lead singer Brad Eberhard sounds so like the Talking Heads singer you could swear that either they are related, there's been a Freak Friday style vocals swap or transplant surgery has been involved. This let me tell you is a good thing. There are far too many identikit vocalists who are indistinguishable from one another that it's a refreshing changes to hear someone push the vocal boat out a little further to the left field than most.
Despite the vocal similarities to Byrne there are few tracks on the album that actually sound like the Talking Heads, instead the band serve up an all you can eat indie banquet with a menu that mixes up influences with the finesse of a gourmet chef. Album opener 'Monkeys' hits a spot somewhere between They Might Be Giants and The Modern Lovers and is catchier than baseball mitt dipped in superglue. 'Roman Values', 'Wyld Parrots' and 'Black Ops' are louder, punkier, more strident, pitching their tents in a rarely visited corner of the musical world occupied by The Dead Kennedys and Liars.
After such a raucous start 'Going Into The Unknown' comes as a surprise. It's a dose of glum rock that sounds like it's borrowed a raincoat from Echo & The Bunnymen to watch Joy Division in the Manchester rain. It's a downbeat yin to the often upbeat yang of the rest of the album. It's Wounded Lion proving to any detractors who have boxed them into a quirky garage pop punk corner that they can glum it up with the best of them. It's not the best track on the album but by god it's good. It's not long, however, before we're back to the raucous, quirky pop punk with 'Sacagewea' which sounds like grunge if it had been invented by David Byrne.
The last four tracks on the album sum up the virtuosity of the band. From the old school call and response punk of 'I'm Sad' through the Liarsesque 'Raincheck Vibrations' before finally finishing with a flourish with 'Oh Jim' a poppy little number that sounds like The Modern Lovers fronted by David Byrne.
So if you've been paying attention the albums influences include Talking Heads, Liars, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Modern Lovers, grunge, Joy Division, They Might Be Giants and The Dead Kennedys. I did tell you that Wounded Lion mix up the influences and they don't get much more mixed up than that.
On their impressive debut album Wounded Lion the quirkiness and humour was a little over bearing at times. Thankfully on IVXLCDM they've toned the quirkiness down a little without losing that spark that makes them such a joy to behold.
Purchase and listen
Thee Oh Sees are a remarkably prolific band, Carrion Caller / The Dream being the second album the California four piece have released this year. One would expect any other band to simply run out of steam and ideas but that simply isn't the case here. Their latest offering is jam packed full of ideas and variety, there's no copy and paste filler here, each track and each moment in each track is distinct, individual and noteworthy. [read more]
2011 has been a year of highly glossy pop and R&B and a spectacular selection of electronic artists breaking through, with polished and refined music that saunter from cold, icy minimalism to crisp, clean sampling insanity. But how about something completely different to start 2012? [read more]
Since 1991 Earth and their commander-in-chief Dylan Carlson have been regarded by many as pioneers of drone/experimental guitar-based instrumentalism. This latest release was recorded during the same sessions as its 2011 companion piece Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I and continues to cement their evolution from the voluminous, ear-crushing doomscapes of their pre-hiatus work towards a more restrained and dexterous Jazz/Americana infused sound. [read more]
I’m going to get straight to the point - the main thing we need to establish here is whether or not Johnny Foreigner have progressed past their mid-2000s, slightly eccentric, exaggerated indie rock niche. [read more]