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Weezer: Pacific Daydream

Article originally appeared on The Music Oct 24th 2017

By now you either like Weezer or you don’t, or you did and now you really don’t.

Their eleventh album, Pacific Daydream, sounds suspiciously young, the audio equivalent of a couple kids in a trench coat or one adult band wearing a teenager’s T-shirt. Honestly, the bulk of the tracks feel more like a Weezer musical as written by One Direction, like they were aiming for top of the pops by way of paint by numbers construction and bland overproduction.

Despite a few classic Rivers Cuomo compositions, QB Blitz and Sweet Mary through the middle, the hooks aren’t catchy so much as insidious and you could easily mistake them for any number of one-off festival headline fade-aways that dominate for a crucial week or two before dissolving back into the primordial musical ooze that spawned them. It’s not the sort of sound that usually happens at the end of a band’s lifecycle.

What was once a boyish proto-geek genuflection is now a group of 40-somethings crooning over pyrrhic rhythms about beaches and heartbreak while the world gently burns. The results feel accordingly off-putting, not nearly as vast or grand as the Pacific Ocean, roughly as valuable as a daydream and just as memorable.

Various: Twin Peaks (OST) / Twin Peaks (Music from the Series)

Article originally appeared on 4ZZZ Sep 29th 2017

Have you heard about Twin Peaks? Well the internet has and it’s gone ahead and explained it far more lucidly than David Lynch’s shrugs ever could. It’s back, anyway, peak Peaks hype. Well, been and gone, actually, and left the soundtrack behind, a twin disc release that’s part nostalgia bomb, part zeitgeist heist, part curatorial curio. It’s an official score and a diegetic OST that hangs its entire value on the chasing and cataloguing of ungraspable Tulpa.

So, if you aren’t part of the cult then why the hell would you want to drink the Kool-Aid? Oh, maybe it’s because Angelo Badalamenti has been an instrumental composer for some of screen’s finest achievements: National Lampoon’s Christmas VacationHoly Smoke!The Wicker Man, not to mention Law & Order, the film that birthed 70 years of procedural pleasure and a sting that just won’t quit. On top of that noise, David Lynch is actually a badass curator and odd little experimental artist in his own right; the kind of presence that people flock around to applaud while asking their neighbour, “What the heck did that mean?”

Well, the meaning has to be about the value in each track right? Sure. Anything that can smash around between Blunted BeatzEddie VederZZ Top, and Otis Redding is worth at least a little look right? Yes, of course, but then maybe you get a little more curious, you’re saying, what the heck do these songs have to do with a show that everybody claims to understand but everyone including the creator is dubiously vague about even at their most verbose, then the next thing you know you’re twenty-five years deep in an unresolvable circular goddamn art piece screaming helloooooooooo at the world with a big damn smirk feeling smug that you’re in on a joke nobody gets but claims the journey of not getting it is actually the joke. So um, RIP Bowie, RIP Log Lady, RIP pop culture man, because here we are, neck deep in the event horizon with no idea what year this is and a glowing ball of light ready to burst out of our collective faces.

Bonus points for keeping your copy wrapped in plastic.

Kedr Livanskiy: Ariadna

Article originally appeared on The Music Sep 7th 2017

Where last year’s January Sun carried strange warmth wrapped in cold Siberian grit, Ariadna radiates light without giving off heat. Kedr Livanskiy’s latest is dangerously indistinct at times, walking you through a synth-based tundra where any distinguishing landmark is a meagre joy celebrated simply for being distinct in its surrounds. The halfway mark holds a small spoken word beacon that hasn’t respite, revelry, or revelation but is rather a reminder you might want to visit more hospitable climes. Maybe it takes patience to traverse, though there doesn’t seem to be enough payoff for it to matter unless your desire for indecipherable Euro-gaze pop is unusually high.

Nadine Shah: Holiday Destination

Article originally appeared on The Music 18th Aug 2017

Taking us on a tour through human atrocity as guided by thoughtful earworms, saying Shah’s Holiday Destination is politically charged is like saying batteries hold electricity – true but meaningless unless that energy is channelled. Once again, Shah shows her greatest strength is an ability to craft pieces that float high ideas above grounded musicianship without sacrificing the merits of either. Like a nightingale floor, it’s a tightly constructed artefact full of traps for the careless and meaning for the wary, an album that delicately balances its rhythmic joys against dark purpose developed in a complex climate.

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