A well written music review is a thing of beauty. A reviewer is a rare bird-dog, half writer and half music boffin, and a good review captures the best parts of both. Reviews are usually bite-sized and easily enjoyed over small moments. In the morning I always turn first (yes, old school newsprint) to the reviews in the newspaper. It’s especially delicious if I’ve been to the gig or listened to the album. Reviews serve a useful purpose too, guiding us deftly through the assault course of instantly-accessible music. In this way, I think they have assumed a greater influence than previously, providing a welcome steer to people flummoxed by the over-abundance of choice.
I really like this review of S.Carey’s album Hundred Acres (as well as really liking Hundred Acres). Although I don’t agree with the score, the writing (and the album) has some beautiful moments: Where Vernon relishes poetic extravagance, layering his band’s music with numerology and a pine-scented sense of lore, Carey’s appeals to the heart are far less adorned. I don’t think I’ve read a more apt description of Vernon’s music (otherwise known as Bon Iver) as a pine-scented sense of lore. Although Pitchfork is most definitely up its own ass, the contributing writers are brilliant.
And then there is Alexis Petridis, the Guardian’s rock and pop critic. I often concur with Petridis’ reviews, so he’s a pretty safe bet when I want to hear something new. Have a read of his review of Young Fathers’ album Cocoa Sugar. I first listened to Cocoa Sugar on a Monday night after a Hell Day at work. I was knackered. No energy reserves whatsoever. But after a few minutes of listening to this album I was successfully mortifying the kids with my ridiculous dance moves. So good. Cocoa Sugar isn’t a particularly easy listen (we’ve got Carey’s Hundred Acres for that) but it’s a furious, energetic take on the modern world. It feels like today.
If you read the review to the end you’ll see a mention of Ali Farka Toure. Listen to his work. Incredible.
And just because they are so outstanding and I’m drawn to them like the Pied Piper’s children, here’s a review of The National’s Sleep Well Beast.
There’s something about Walk It Back that gets under my skin. I think it’s the cheesy melody at 1.16. Perhaps it’s tapping into an old memory in my head – some 80’s TV theme maybe – it’s so familiar. Can anyone help?
Will leave you with this perfectly-formed little gem from Anderson .Paak