Sunday, November 11, 2007


Jose Gonzalez - In Our Nature

Continuing on the similar path he successfully created on debut album, Veneer. Our favourite Swedish artist Gonzalez returns with a warm welcome serving up a dish of what he does best. If you loved the debut album this record is definitely for you.

Sometimes it's disappointing when certain artists do the same thing over and over without ever progressing, though Jose seems content in his vision and he makes it work at every turn. "How Low" is a worthy opener, exhibiting his fine guitar picking skills, followed by the catchy single "Down the Line" which is nothing but fine song craft. On Veneer he covered the Knife's "Heartbeats" making the song even more famous then the original version. This time around he turns his attention to one of Massive Attacks greatest achievements with "Teardrop" which he has occasionally included on set lists of recent tours.

The song is an instant highlight, drenched in guitar picking brilliance, emotional and heartbreaking the song builds and builds. The album clocks in at just over 30 minutes long, with most of the album following in the same footsteps until we reach the last and longest track here. On "Cycling Trivialities" here he displays everything that he is and him at his most powerful, swirling melodies matched by his pleasant distinctive voice.

In Our Nature is maybe seen as a Veneer sequel of sorts but it's no doubt impressive if not a little repetitive from time to time, not taking anything away from the quality of the material displayed here, this firmly establishes him as one of the most talented folk artists of today.


The Hives - The Black and White Album

Fourth album in and still rocking their hearts out. The Hives release their follow up to their successful 2004 effort Tyrannosaurus Hives. First single and track number 1 "Tick Tick Boom" is relentlessly rocking and never gets boring.

The album is a little bit of a mix and match type affair with a few catchy rockers like "Try it Again", "It Won't Be Long", "Return The Favour" and "Square One Here I Come", though none of them quite match the flair of the single. I wasn't surprised at the inclusion of experimental material and i think it pays off, even if their rock tracks may have dwindled a little in the energy and creativity department, with their attention directed elsewhere.

The quirky instrumental dystopian like "A Stroll Through Hive Manor Corridors", the Pharrell Williams produced funky romp "T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S" which is instantly catchy, the idiosyncratic "Giddy Up" and the drum and guitar less "Puppet on a String" all are strange but welcome songs to the Hives catalogue. Still rocking but a little different compared to their previous works is also other Pharrell Williams produced track "Well Alright!" and the strutting "You Dress Up For Armageddon".

The Hives are working in all moods, visions and flavours here but they always keep it fun and simplistic. The ever hedonistic front man Pelle Almqvist is in his ever blistering form, never tiring or boring belting out his ever humorous and nonsensical lyrics. The album is fairly different from anything they have done in the past but it somehow works. The record closes with the much rocking and exhilarating "Bigger Hole to Fill" going out on a complete high, the Hives are back with force. Want fun, quirk and the most ridiculously awesome front man of our times? Here it and he is, enjoy.


Sean B

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