Archive for the 'cd review' Category

CD Review: Brett Anderson, Wilderness (2008)

I wasn’t going to do this, but we’ve actually been getting some traffic from people looking for it so….

A friend sent me a link to a leaked copy of the second solo album from Brett Anderson about a month ago. I played it once. Yesterday I decided that was unfair so I put it on my iPod and started to play it a second time on the way to the bus for work. I made it through about a minute and a half of the first song before revulsion overtook me and I had to turn it off.

The best way to describe Brett Anderson’s newest offering is that if I didn’t know who he was and I had never been a Suede fan and somebody played this for me, I probably wouldn’t remember what it sounded like 5 minutes later. Musically it’s one long dirgeful whinge. He’s record-label-less and probably can’t afford to hire a studio band so instead he’s decided to pretend that he’s going for gravitas and so it’s piano and cello. Except there’s no texture to anything because he was never the musical one in Suede so it just drones. Not only that but the album is nine songs long and at least 2 of them have been released before, although in slightly different form. Of those two, “Back to You” has been out twice before, both different versions. The first two were pretty good, it’s the best thing he’s done post-Tears. The version on Wilderness, with horrendous female vocals courtesy of, I’m told, Roman Polanski’s wife, ruins the song so badly that I may never be able to listen to it again. Cheers Brett.

The same friend who sent me the link for the album reckons that lyrically it’s Brett Anderson’s best work in years. It may well be, but any credibility he had left went out the door when he was singing about how wanting stuff was shallow but was turning up at every product launch going and then he tried to justify it as “I have to make a living.” Well, if you have to whore yourself about for money don’t tell other people they’re wrong to do the same thing. So really, lyrically, I’m not feeling what he’s singing anymore because I don’t believe he’s sincere about a single syllable that comes out of his mouth.

I could possibly live with the idea that he was feeling guilty about the whole thing which is why he was writing songs about how you shouldn’t buy stuff until he started giving off recently about how he’s very happy and things are the best they’ve ever been and then produces a miserable album where he sings about being depressed and lonely (and I’m sure some uber-fan will correct me and give me a run down of every theme on the album now, bring it on…). I get it, he probably is very depressed and lonely, wondering what happened to his career, but then if that’s the case, don’t tell your fans and journalists you’re thrilled where you are – tell them you’re pissed off, get angry, get philosophical and stop waffling. He says one thing, he does another, I don’t buy a word of it anymore. Either he’s full of shit in the press (most likely) or he’s trying to write the songs people expect him to write. Or both.

If he’s happy, then why is he singing miserable songs? Write some upbeat pop tunes, churn out an anthem or two, at least try and get some people dancing! If he’s not happy then don’t mope – get angry about it and show some fire! The acoustic stuff was okay briefly when it made me think for a second he might be showing a bit of emotion rather than playing up to the audience. Now he’s just milking that angle to try and make the songs sound emotionally deeper than they probably are.

Ultimately I suspect this album is an exercise in futility aimed at getting a bit of cash off the 100 people who are still willing to pay money for his output merely because he’s Brett Anderson, he has a nice fringe and he used to be in Suede. As far as I can tell, however, he’s biding his time at this point for that Suede reunion where him, Mat Osman and Neil Whatshisname tour as Suede with a session guitarist and drummer so they’ll have money for their retirement. It’ll be a relief when he finally gives up any pretense at still having credibility and just gets on with it.

*Update 13/09/08- We’ve had a sudden surge of visitors from a couple of German MP3 sites looking for these tracks and we’re afraid that as a result we’re out of bandwidth. Try again in a couple of weeks or, erm, take The Guardian up on their special offer and buy the album.

Brett Anderson – A Different Place

Brett Anderson – Back to You (album version)

Posted by JustHipper on 24th July 2008 at 11:34 pm | comments (37)
File under brett anderson,cd review.

CD Review: Bob Mould – District Line (Beggars Banquet)

Bob Mould - District Line
I can’t say I’ve taken much notice of Bob Mould’s career since Hüsker Dü went their separate ways back in 1987. I never really liked his post-Hüskers band, Sugar, despite the fact that they seemed to enjoy much more success in indie quarters than their hugely influential predecessors, and, because of this, I never felt obliged to dabble in his solo work.

District Line is apparently a move back to the guitar-based indie rock that made his name back in the 80s and early 90s, after a couple of forays into techno territory. To these ears it certainly sounds very familiar. Solid opener “Stupid Now” gets things under way with its quiet verses and full-on rock chorus and by the end, Bob’s voice is cracking up under a blanket of warped effects. Epic break-up ballad “Again And Again” finds Bob on compelling form, backed by a wall of acoustic guitars and a mournful cello; it’s possibly the best thing on the album. Elsewhere, “Return To Dust” and “The Silence Between Us” come closest to replicating the sound and urgency of his pre-solo output and, not surprisingly, they are both superb.

On the downside, “Old Highs, New Lows” is a dull MOR ballad while “Shelter Me” is a plodding techno dirge with lashings of ugly vocoder, an effect that is also in evidence on the excellent “Very Temporary” and the upbeat acoustic pop of “Miniature Parade”, though its use on these songs is much more subtle and it doesn’t detract from them.

The album ends with “Walls In Time”, a song that’s been kicking around trying to find a proper home for 20 odd years, which is about as long ago as I last took an interest in Bob Mould’s work. It’s a meditation on the songwriting process and features more multi-tracked acoustics and more mournful cello. It’s a good end to a very good album and, although it won’t necessarily compel me to delve backwards into the Mould solo discography, I’ll certainly sit up and take notice of what he does next.

Bob Mould – The Silence Between Us

Bob Mould – Very Temporary

Hüsker Dü – New Day Rising

Posted by The Ledge on 11th February 2008 at 5:37 pm | comments (5)
File under bob mould,cd review,CD Reviews,district line,husker du,mp3,Reviews.