The Incomplete Discography (10/18/12)

Welcome to the new weekly music segment from Team Hellions! This is how I plan to do them from now on. Reviews requested from bands or musicians however will not, I will focus my individual reviews there. “The Incomplete Discography” will contain about three to four album/EP reviews, and may include a single review from time to time. So welcome, and I hope you enjoy.

Vital by Anberlin

Since signing with Unversal Republic, Anberlin has been a band on a mission to find their sound amongst a sea of commercial appeal. The band’s first two major label releases – New Surrender and Dark Is the Way. Light Is a Place - explored vastly different territory. New Surrender turned out to be the group’s most polished and commercial release, where Dark Is the Way. Light Is a Place was the group experimenting while staying true to their sound. The last album also saw the band working with Brendan O’Brien, of all producers, and we all know how that goes. With Vital, the band went back to its roots under the tutelage of Aaron Sprinkle, who produced the band’s first three releases and amongst hoopla through social media, promised was the most “aggressive” set of tracks they’ve ever put forth. What most weren’t expecting was the electronic influence found on this record. The first three tracks off the album – “Self-Starter,” “Little Tyrants,” and “Other Side” – play it safe with them, but the subsequent tracks become heavier and heavier with electronic flare. While this may not be the band’s first foray into electronics – those that bought the deluxe edition of Cities know of their cover of “The Promise” – but here they just sound stale, fitting into a mold. The aggressive tracks are aggressive, the purely electronic tracks are pulled back, so they kind of fulfill their promise? I don’t fault the band for trying something new, but this is just kind of out there. Perhaps with more listens I will open up to this release, but until then, I remain indifferent.

Album Rating: Stream It or Digitally Download It (Legally of Course)

Listening Co-efficient: Background Music

Bitter Moon, Bitter Drink by Murder by Death

For the last ten years,  Murder by Death have been redefining what the murder ballad is, and in the process creating a signature sound  that is instantly recognizable. For their sixth full length release, the band tries to get a little more ambitious and Adam Turla’s voice tries to get even lower.

Murder by Death are desperately trying to  hide a body all throughout this album, and  each song has a  unique placement of that body. The album’s opener, “My Hill” finds it under a condo, while “Lost River’s” body is in the river and two lovers are bound and determined not to give it up. This is the band’s most eclectic set of songs put to disc yet. Track’s like “Hard World” and  “Ditch Lilly” hearken back to the band’s past catalog, stirring up feelings of Like the Exorcist.  Credit producer John Congleton for that.  By the end of the album, one thing is clear, this is the best set of tracks the band has put forth in quite some time.  I dare you to find a better disc in their discography. Seriously, I dare you, because you wont’ find it. If ever there was a band trying to rectify past with present, this is it, and well done!

Album Rating: Buy It on CD or Vinyl

Listener Co-efficient: Passive Listen

The Heist by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

To say that this is one of the most anticipated albums of the year would be a slight understatement. If you heard “Wing$” or “Same Love” you know how great this could and should be, and it is. Macklemore may be the most passionate and emotional rapper I’ve ever heard, even if he is a little overly sappy at times. Yeah, I may be a little sensitive, but this isn’t your average rap album either. The Heist begins with the track “Ten Thousand Hours” and as strange as this will sound, it feels a bit out of place and in the right place at the same time. It’s reflective, but the sample feels like something you’d hear at the end of an album. Track’s like “Thrift Shop” and “White Walls” are fun tracks, even if “White Walls” is pointless and annoying at times. “Starting Over” stands out as the anthem of the album, exploring what it’s like to get sober, even if it isn’t your first try. If there is fault to this album, it’s the few songs that could have been left off the album. “BomBom” does its best to split the album, but fails to capture the tone of the record. Tough task, but this track is unnecessary. As is “White Walls” despite its fun nature, cuts against the album as well as “Gold,” which I’m quite sure could put you into a sugar coma. Despite these few missteps, this is one of the best rap albums of the year. Certainly enough to hope for a sequel.

Album Rating: Buy It on CD or Vinyl

Listener Co-efficient: Active Listen

The Single File

“Home” by Pompton Lakes

About seven years ago I fell in love with the musical stylings of a band called This Day & Age. Sometimes you just find bands that aren’t just music they’re an experience; that’s what this band is to me. When given the chance, I hype them as much as I can, and for a band that technically broke up six years ago, that’s saying something. I love this band so much that I bought their first album on vinyl, an expensive copy to boot. What really struck me about them was their relative maturity for song writing and their evolution from album to album is an achievement. They were a band that gave me chills and still do. Sadly, the first show I ever attended was their last and since then I’ve been trying to rectify this band. When I heard that Jeff Martin was part of a new band, Pompton Lakes, I found out just in time, as we’re five days away from the release of their new album Rest. The first single to drop from it, “Home,” is a great testament to bands past, while pushing forward. This track has everything that made me fall in love with the voice of Jeff Martin, while pushing forward to a beautiful indie rock style with lush guitar tones and a really solid band that knows which direction it’s going in. It’s got melodies and instrumentation to get lost in. In short, it’s that experience I’ve been looking for, again, in the flesh, and still somewhat a dream that I don’t mind dreaming. The 30th cannot come soon enough.

Single Rating (Modified Rating): Stream It or Digitally Download It

Listener Co-efficient: Active Listen

Check out this post to figure out the new rating system.

If you’d like your music reviewed on teamhellions.com email recordreviewsonhellions@gmail.com

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One comment on “The Incomplete Discography (10/18/12)

  1. Pingback: The Top 50 Albums of 2012 | Team Hellions

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