Music Reviews

Dead Can Dance: Garden Of The Arcane Delights/Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun/Toward The Within Album Reviews

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The dead dance again
8/10 9/10 8/10

4AD continue their sumptuous re-issues of Dead Can Dance with another three releases. Garden of the Arcane Delights (1984) is their only EP, here packaged with contemporary Peel Sessions. Within The Realm Of The Dying Sun (1987) is a major progression in their work with a grandiose, epic feel. Toward The Within (1993) is a live recording from Santa Monica. The band were renowned for showcasing new music live and this contains 12 previously unrecorded tracks. Too often discarded as gothic or new age, Dead Can Dance have been woefully neglected over the years.  These recordings highlight the range and scope of their talent, creating a miasma of beautiful and mysterious music that stands the test of time. An experience of aural delight.

Review published in Louder Than War Magazine Issue 7 Nov/Dec 2016

Music Reviews

This Becomes Us: Album Review

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Debut solo album from Julia Ruzicka

This Becomes Us is the first solo project from Future Of The Left’s Julia Ruzicka, who has co-opted nine different vocalists for the album, including Guy McKnight (The Eighties B-Line Matchbox Disaster) and Black Francis (Pixies). The bass is blistering and, though the vocalists each bring something unique to each song, there is a cohesiveness to the album which is interwoven with a heavy darkness that alternates between melancholic melody and downright evilness. It’s a mix of hardcore, noise and post-punk anchored by Ruzicka’s thundering bass. That it is at times also beautiful, is testament to a songwriter who knows how to add nuance to aggression and use emotion other than screaming. The album has been doing heavy rotation on my stereo since first hearing it. This is what grooves were made for.

Review published in Louder Than War Magazine Issue 7 Nov/Dec 2016

Music Reviews

Megaflora: Redwoods album review

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Mini-album from indie-punks

Punk, like most genres, fell into the trap of cliché. But punk was always more than aggression, violence, and speed, so it’s refreshing when a group of London punks release an album of jangly indie-pop. What punk was about was protesting and rebelling and lyrically Megaflora tackle issues of modern day anxiety and social and environmental pressures. The guitars strum and jangle in indie style and the vocals often call and respond between male and female to make a perfect indie pop sound. Anxious is like a punk song written by Orange Juice and Progress, with its bass and drum led sound, could be early Pixies. There is a 60s sensibility mixed with 80s indie that works very well and soon has you nodding your head and singing along. More shoe gaze than boot stomping. A band to watch.

Music Reviews

Sleigh Bells: Jessica Rabbit Album Review

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First album in three years from NY duo

Sleigh Bells, Derek Miller and Alexis Krauss, have spent the last three years working on songs for this, their fourth album. It’s not only a mash up of styles, from techno, industrial, pop, noise and rock, but each song has weird time structures and rhythms, creating soundscapes that feel like soundtracks to noir cityscapes. Alexis’s voice ranges from 80s pop to angry young woman, backed up by the discordant beats. When it works it’s great; such as Hyper Dark with its staccato opening resolving into weird off beats that holds the interest, and Crucible perfectly conjures up glitzy NY nightclubs with a hard underbelly. But not every song works, Baptism By Fire just sounds like twee pop. A worthy attempt to mix up genres that has some real gems on it.

This review appeared in Louder Than War Magazine Issue 7 Nov/Dec 2016