Filed under: album review | Tags: album review, grace and the bigger picture, johnny foreigner, our first american friends, tubelord
Tubelord – Our First American Friends
Long time followers of the blog will now that Tubelord are a band I’m rather fond of and have managed to catch live twice. You’d also know that I’ve been longing for them to release an album ever since I got wind of them and now they finally have!
‘Friends’ is exactly what we’d been waiting for from a Tubelord album; all their best songs off the various singles they’d released together as well as recordings of songs they’ve been playing live for ages and new material all at the same time. All the ‘classic’ tracks such as Night Of The Pencils and I Am Azerrad all feature on the album (although, curiously, not Feed Me A Box Of Words) and they sound as good as they ever did.
On the first few listens I didn’t know what to make of the production of the album as it felt as though it may have been a bit overdone but now I appreciate the better quality of sound that the album gives but I still respect the raw sound of the older releases of theirs.
The album itself is well paced throughout with the opener Your Bed Is Kind Of Frightening setting the scene perfectly with it’s slow, minimal intro before launching into a full on Tubelord assault; harmonies, singalong sections and furious little riffs. The older material is nicely dispersed through the album and provides a good backdrop to some of the different newer stuff with the more electronice Stacey’s Left Arm and the wonderful acoustic track Cows To The East, Cities To The West providing a slight change of direction.
Overall, the album is what I’d hoped for but I can’t help but think it’s six months to a year overdue. That said, it was well worth the wait.
Highlights: Night Of Pencils, Propellor
Sounds Like: Tellison, Colour
Rating: 4/5 shocked monkeys
Johnny Foreigner – Grace And The Bigger Picture
First things first; I never owned the first Johnny Foreigner album but heard bits and pieces of it every now and again. I’m not sure why I never got it as I didn’t dislike their sound, in fact it’s one I quite like, but I didn’t. As such, this album is written completely on it’s own merits and not with the possible difficult-second-album tag attached to it for me.
As a whole, I quite like the album but there’s something about it that stops me from really enjoying it. There are a couple of tracks on there that I absolutely adore, Feels Like Summer and Criminals being the main ones for me, but the rest of it seems to fall a bit short of their standard. The two songs I mention are brilliant indie-punk-pop tracks that build up and bounce along brilliantly. However, some of the other tracks just don’t quite seem to manage the same thing; some meander along and repeat themselves without ever building up or climaxing.
The album also has quite a few little filler tracks linking parts of the album together and these work with varying success. I’llchoosemysideandshutup, Alright is a brilliant piece of music and it’s a shame it only ended up as a 90 second piece rather than a full track.
The album as a whole is well worth a listen as there are some cracking tunes. But for me there are just too many average songs on the album and I can’t help but feel that bands like Los Campesinos and Dananananaykroyd do this sort of thing better these days..
Highlights: Feels Like Summer, Criminals
Sounds Like: Los Campesinos, Dananananaykroyd
Rating: 3/5 scary monkeys
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