Low - Drums and Guns
Can this band do no wrong? It's starting to seem that way in a career now spanning over 10 years. "Drums & Guns" isn't as abrasive in sound as it's predecessor "The Great Destroyer", but it lies somewhere in the middle of this great collectives catalogue of finely tuned jams.
The mix on 'Drums..' is different to any other the Minnesota trio has created, which may anger some listeners, however Low have never been an act to rest on their laurels. Guitar bending and feedback slowly draw as undertones with opener 'Pretty People' and the raw surroundings of 'Breaker' are the best examples of this new leaf taken by the band. 'Violent Past' is Low in their prime, and it's only fitting that this is the closing track off the album.
Although multiple listens are needed to appreciate in full, Low have done it again. The undercurrents of virtuoso are evident during the neatly structured craft they design. The irony plays it's part as the themes hint towards darkness, yet a blissful journey none the less prevails.
The Horrors - Strange House
Never judge a book by it's cover. Yes, The Horrors fall into this category. Let's be honest. They look like art wankery, where a decent wash, feed and educating wouldn't go amiss. All that bullshit aside, their music is a bit of a different story.
Their debut album, "Strange House", is something fans of The Birthday Party and the like thought they'd never hear again. Guitars that are a complete mess and vocals that creep and crawl with haunting obscurity. Yup, this effort is a complete and utter shambles of creepy noise!
The drenching guitar screeches and kooky keyboards during 'Sheena Is a Parasite' see The Horrors in their finest hour, while 'A Train Roars' is something that modern day horror films would want howling in the background of a murder scene.
Taking off where The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster started. At the moment, Britain has too much rubbish clogging up its airways and not enough dangerous mess that The Horrors employ. It won't be the best 30 minutes endured all year, but it won't be the worst.
Dinosaur Jr - Beyond
Perhaps the most anticipated "comeback" album of the year, Dinosaur Jr have created something that begs the question "did they ever go away". Cliché, I know.
However, if you want a good reform album, then you're going to have a tough job pinpointing one as good as "Beyond". All the D’ Jr traits manifest themselves during this adventure of straight up no-nonsense indie rock.
J Mascis puts his right foot forward in the lyrical stakes not to mention his awe-stricken guitar nous, while Lou Barlow plays the perfect support role knocking out the notes and evens some jaw-breaking chords, on bass. There's no need to look any further than the opening beast that is 'Almost Ready'. The whole album continues on in this abrasive fashion.
Solidarity. Something Dinosaur Jr have always managed to deliver. With Sonic Youth and Nirvana gaining a lot of the plaudits back in the '90s, it's time for Dinosaur Jr to finally be given some of the praise that was lost on them all those years ago. "Beyond" is the perfect reference point.
Pelican - City Of Echoes
Post metal pioneers Pelican return with their third full-length album, "City of Echoes" and although, unlike their two previous ventures, "...Echoes" takes a little longer to hit the spot.
The themes instilled into Pelican's music are still very much at the forefront of this post metal beast, while the guitar prowess shown by Trevor de Brauw & Laurent Lebec is some of the best works Pelican have made thus far into their career. Look no further than the melodic brilliance of 'Far From Fields', while the title track and 'Lost In The Headlights' also establish the brilliant build-ups and break-downs that this band has made a living from creating.
However, that said, the rhythm section during "..Echoes" and in particular the drumming, leaves a lot to be desired, as it's just not strong enough to carry the weight of the almighty guitar riffs that de Brauw and Lebec respectively posses.
Despite one side of the band failing to weigh in with their side of the bargain, Pelican's music is still enough to attract wanting listeners. The guitars are the loudest they've ever been, however the drumming just doesn’t weigh in with the likes of the band's previous two albums, especially "Australasia". If you have the time, there's still enough solid music on this album to keep listeners intrigued, though.