Monday, 18 August 2008

Old School / New School

Three bands which have blossomed over the years rather than withered by the wayside have new material out! Yes, Franz Ferdinand, Kings of Leon and Bloc Party are all marching down the road with a fistful of new stuff.
These are bands that made me love music and, unlike the Rakes who's second album didn't really hit the spot, they have continued to progress and get better with every album and new single they get out there (minus, maybe Bloc Party's "Flux" which was mediocre compared to their earlier stuff).

Kings of Leon's "Crawl" is a dysfunctional slam of fuzzy guitars, Calebs trademark wail and perhaps a glance back to earlier stuff which was laden with sexual references (eg; Molly's Chamber). With a simple guitar refrain echoing through the driving force of the drums sets the song rolling forth as the vocals settle on top like an old glove. "Sex on Fire" is even more blatant with its innuendo but a step forward, if it is believable the band could get any better, with whirling guitar and gritty vocals.

Franz Ferdinand's "Lucid Dreams" is undeniably them; Kaprano's vocals drip over the lyrics with ease as a feeling of noir and romanticism rolls over the music. Building up as the song nears towards the end the crescendo is a powerful impact. Lyrically as ever Franz Ferdinand have shown craftsmanship but its the stomping drums which keep the track together as guitar riffs slide across. Although unfortunately their album has been put back to 2009 hopefully the process isn't too fraught with problems as they sound better than ever.
Bloc Party's "Mercury" is perhaps the only song of the three bands which takes a departure from what they used to know. Strong synth and brass laden moments mean than there is hardly any comfortable ground here- no hint of Helicopter or Hunting for Witches. Only Kele's vocals remain similar ground as trumpets and thumping drums jump in and out of skittering and shrieks and beeps. This is exciting music, it has all the elements of not only a dance floor classic but a genuine classic song. Its discordant beats drip over a copy and paste chorus as Kele's vocals rip down the middle of the organised mess.
This band have a bundle of talent underneath their skinny frames. The stuttering beginning might throw you for a moment but give it time as the rest of the band launch a full assault on your eardrums. It's darker, more serious and grittier than previous endeavours- even more doom-laden than Hunting for Witches. This might be a song which upsets "true" Bloc Party fans- yet their admirable attempts to move forward is something to applauded rather than vilified. They have created a densely musical song which retains their ethos without compromise- as strangely addictive as The Prayer with all of the craftsmanship expected from the band.
Crawl- Kings of Leon
Lucid Dreams- Franz Ferdidnand
Mercury- Bloc Party

In Other News?
New issue of XOX is out here: XOX ISSUE THREE with interviews with the Maccabees, Bombay Bicycle Club, Pop Levi as well as reviews, Festival fashion and competitions!
Jade XX