Friday, June 1, 2007

Full Immersion: First Blush Roundup, Vol I

Bloc Party - A Weekend in the City

I pretty much thought... that there were a lot of elements put into this one, but I wanted to rawk more. In general, I came away hopeful that the album would grow on me like Silent Alarm did.
First Blush is cool because... Landon Donovan scored a sick goal! I don't even remember that I was watching soccer, but I'm glad I was able to remind myself now. Soccer is often better when you provide your own soundtrack.
I'm obviously a genius because I said... "It seemed like the energy of Silent Alarm is kind of missing from this one, and that's a shame."
I'm obviously an an idiot because I said... regarding 'The Prayer,' "This song has potential. It's going to take a few more listens."
With the benefit of greater experience with the album, I now say... Well, it seemed promising at the time. I was really excited for their second release, hoping that they would make the album more intense and more intricate. After having the album for over three months now, it's clear that it's not very good. Uniform is a pretty good track, but beyond that, the songs don't stick in my head, and I never have an urge to spin the album. In fact, when I hear other people playing Bloc Party, they're still almost exclusively playing Silent Alarm. And they're right to do so. All the qualities that made this band unique and interesting are at best toned down and at worst avoided here - to the point where I wonder if someone helped them write those fantastic songs on the first one. Their next album will surely be make-or-break. But they can take their time in getting to it. I'm no longer eager to hear what they do next. All I can say is that they had better turn it up a notch or three.

I pretty much thought... that this album was a leap forward for the band, and some of their most brilliant work. I was awfully excited.
First Blush is cool because... I found myself not simply describing the album artwork to you, but actually managed to create a story based on it. Rolling Stone ain't giving you no story!
I'm obviously a genius because I said... "I can't wait to listen to this thing again."
I'm obviously an an idiot because I said... "Davey Jones would be happy."
With the benefit of greater experience with the album, I now say... This was an awfully challenging First Blush. We're talking about an album with no vocals and no liner notes. However, I think I nailed the assessment pretty well. It is not their best album, but it's close. They picked the correct songs to play live (tracks 1 and 5) which are two amazing ones. I was really playing the hell out of this CD for the first couple months I owned it. That hasn't continued, but it is still getting occasional spins, along with their other releases. The band was absolutely brilliant live, but unfortunately had to cut their tour short due to a family illness. I have only recently started listening to the additional remix CD. Some of the songs have a lot of promise. I like it far better than the Silent Alarm remix so far.

I pretty much thought... that I didn't know what to think. I was generally positive on a lot of specific points, but I think I was afraid to like it too much off the bat. Perhaps the negative reviews scared me a bit.
First Blush is cool because... "It breaks down to half-time with the song swaying back and forth, almost in a 1960's Fats Domino kind of way. The song is taking me with it. I just don't know where we're going."
I'm obviously a genius because I said... of 'My Body is a Cage,' "I'm calling this track a masterpiece right now. I will clearly listen to it over and over again."
I'm obviously an an idiot because I said...
"Feeling very snappy!"
With the benefit of greater experience with the album, I now say... that it's a damn fine release by one of my favorite bands. I alluded to the fact that there were several reviewers out there who panned the album. They're crazy. I can see someone saying that it's not amazing, and certainly someone saying that it's not on par with Funeral, but it's totally unfair to place any band's bar that high, even if they're the ones that once met it. There are four songs that are absolutely superb, and another five that are very good. The only way someone could take such umbrage with this release is if they focused solely on the lyrics (and even then, I find them to be solid enough). I was right on with No Cars Go. It is definitely not as good as the EP version, and I still can't see why they bothered to include it here. People went nuts for it live, so I perhaps they all disagree with me. More likely, they haven't heard the EP. Now, these songs were not as good as the old ones in concert, even if the live show still enhanced the new tracks. But I believe once the band has time to work on their performance version of them, they will come closer to equaling those from Funeral. If you don't have this yet, what's wrong with you? Arcade Fire is the band of the decade, and you should have all of their releases. This is an album worth owning. Of course, if you don't have Funeral, then you're even further behind.

Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha
I pretty much thought... that it was a bit experimental for Mr. Bird, but very much in his style and a "superb" release.
First Blush is cool because... we give you all the definitions of Apocrypha. Incidentally, I've received a ton of Google hits from people who are looking for the definition of Imitosis. Andrew made it up, people!
I'm obviously a genius because I said... a mere four seconds into the song, "I love it. The track is called Imitosis and he pulled the lead riff from his track 'I' on Weather Systems." That's a damn fine get. I'm going to have to Barry Horowitz myself on this one.
I'm obviously an an idiot because I said...
of 'Armchairs,' "The album kind of came to a halt with this one. We'll see how he pulls out of it." Armchairs is now one of my two favorites on the disc. Just took a while (and a live performance) to fully appreciate it.
With the benefit of greater experience with the album, I now say... I was right. It is superb. I was loving the album, playing it almost nightly up until his show. After seeing him perform the songs live, it's even better. As stated above Armchairs is a stunning song that needed a few listens to fully appreciate. Secret Production of Eggs may still be better simply because there are about four songs on it that beat out all the tracks here. But the album is easily Bird's most complete, and it balances his virtuosity better than his previous works. Once labeled a gimmick performer by some, no one can listen to this album and make that judgment. This is a release that simply does not get old, no matter how many times I listen to it.

1 comment:

Chuck said...

So what's imitosis mean?!