Welcome to A&A. There are 14 full reviews in this issue. Click on an artist to jump to the review, or simply scroll through the list. If you want information on any particular release, check out the Label info page. All reviews are written by Jon Worley unless otherwise noted.|
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A&A #279 reviews
Raucous, all-female band--they are the Applicators, fer cryin' out loud--playing basic rock and roll. Loudly. And, for the most part, playing it exceptionally well.
Very tight sound, really, a lot like early L7. The production is full, but not terribly sharp (I did say "early"), and that suits these songs just fine. Too much precision would strip the band of most of its personality. And that's not a problem here.
Lots of shouting, lots of catchy anthemic choruses and lots and lots of buzzsaw guitar riffs. Just the sort of thing to get the blood flowing and keep it going all night long.
I think I liked this album too much to write a lot about it. Either you get it or you don't. The Applicators are anything but subtle. One listen to the first song will tell you everything you need to know.
Colour Revolt EP
(Esperanza Plantation/Tiny Evil)
Take one dose of one-man emo eccentricity and then add large quantities of any number of hip sounds and you might get close to Colour Revolt. The press note on the front states "There's a lot going on in a Colour Revolt song!" Most often, that sorta statement is an overblown bit of puffery. Not so here.
I like a band that can sound like OMD and Archers of Loaf--in the same song. The overall feel is pop, but these folks (or person, as I don't know anything about the actual makeup of the act) make that generic label woefully inadequate. The sounds, the moods, the themes shift radically from song to song.
Which might be a hindrance on a longer release. But it probably won't be. 'Cause when yer good, yer good. And the Colour Revolt is pretty damned fine. This six-song introduction is most impressive.
The Camera Behind the Camera Behind the Camera
Four guys who play stark, yet supple, rock and roll. At first blush, these songs sound like they were ripped off a sound board from a live set. Then the first hints of studio work bleed through.
Maybe it was just my ears, because the more I listen, the more I hear the fine work done assembling this album. Producing and mixing is an art, even when you're dealing with music that's one step from the garage. The trick is to make it sound good without stripping out all the energy.
Sure worked here. Elephone isn't a balls-out, take-no-prisoners kind of outfit. But the songs are relatively minimalist, and that sort of stuff requires a patient hand.
Hard to make the claim of being basic when you've got as much electronic content bubbling in the background. But Elephone is just that. And this album does a fine job of bringing the sound out into the open.
Guitar Gabriel & the Brothers in the Kitchen
The Music Maker Relief Foundation is one of the more impressive blues preservation groups around. This re-issue of a 1991 cassette is Music Maker's first "official" release--though it has been selling CDs and tapes for years.
Gabriel's sound is steeped in the finger-picking Piedmont style--that would be North Carolina Piedmont, if you didn't know--but he had been around long enough to pick up a few things from elsewhere. What didn't change was the acoustic setting and the meticulous fingerwork.
I'm impressed by the sound. I have no idea what the source tapes were like, but this sounds real. Acoustic guitars can sound awful when miked up, but on this disc they sound like Gabriel is playing in my kitchen.
I spent too long in Durham not to be a sucker for this kind of down-home blues. Those who like to hear a real rural sound done right will do no better than to pick up this disc. And check out the Music Maker web sit while yer at it. There's a lot more where this came from.