Thing of the Day
New Stik, Explosions In The Sky, David J Roch, Helldorado
April 2nd 2011
A fresh piece of Stik wall work that’s just appeared this week on a now blue building on Triangle Road, here in E8, just by London Fields. Saw them sitting there as we were passing in the twilight, two Stik figures looking a little sad under that Japanese flag, maybe a show of empathy with the earthquake and tsunami victims. More and more character every time in just those six lines Stik uses…
And while you’re admiring the new Stik Thing of The Day, here’s a trio
of new albums and some words about those albums….
EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY – Take Care, Take Care, Take Care (Bella Union) - in which Explosions in The Sky drift past in a pleasant cloud of relatively easy, even-paced, nice enough post rock shoegazing warmth. All anthemic and easy on the ear and all very ‘nice’. Take Care is an album that’s all pretty much on the same level and we could put forward lots of arguments about it really being post rock in the way that every inch of rock testosterone, bite, danger and everything else has been washed away and this is just ‘nice’ flowing pleasant music made on ‘nice’ ‘smooth’ ‘satisfying’ guitars and things – not sanitised, not soulless, not machines, just nice pleasant easy flowing satisfying uplifting tunes, ‘nice’ unimposing guitars and mildly paced clouds floating by, nothing that sticks around, enjoyable enough for the moment, quickly forgotten..
Oh look, we could get involved in all kinds of reasoning and discussion, bottom line here is that Take Care is an easy-going, pleasant harmless simple puppy dog of an album and to kick it when it really hasn’t done anything wrong would be unnecessary and just a little bit cruel. This is breezy instrumental post-rock politeness, this is sitting back safely watching clouds and gentle U2 riffs, Cocteau Twins without all the candyfloss fog that passes for vocals, just clean cut tunes that float by without really registering anymore than eating marshmallows does - the pace is polite, none of your loud/quiet extremes here, all of it easily flowing in the middle ground in a pleasantly comfortable and relatively enjoyable what’s-all-the-fuss-about manner…and now we’ll take the disc out of the CD player and as pleasant as it was, probably never ever have the urge to ever go back to it when there’s so many other things we could pull down from the shelf and partake of…
The album is out on April 18th in the UK and later in April in other places around the globe. There’s a free download taster of the shortest of the tracks on the band’s website. Artwork looks impressive, especially the vinyl version of the release (we’ve just got an advance CD with an artwork-free fact-bearing cover.
DAVID J ROCH – Skin + Bones (Dram) – No doubting this singer/songwriter from Sheffield is in possession of a remarkable, almost supernatural vocal range - hard to believe it really is all him, no reason to doubt it though. David J Roch’s debut album is a collection of slightly dark, alternative romantic songs that come with an occasional epic sweep and, at different times, the feel of both Tim and Jeff Buckley. Not quite the songs or the fragile beauty to really compare his work to that of Nick Drake, but there are folky moments that are heading somewhere near that way, or indeed, in that voice, towards the magic of Billie Holiday. The songwriting may just be a tiny bit too obvious, could well be a singer songwriter of some significance emerging here though, certainly a voice of some significance..
Skin + Bones is out on April 4th
HELLDORADO – Sinful Soul (CCAP) - A whole load of soul driven blues on this album: Nick Cave favoured Tindersticks and runs around the dream city film club with that girl who lips were made for kissing everyone else but you.. They sound as natural as whiskey, as right as mixing a dose of the Bad Seeds with large slice of Bacharach. Great big arrangements sitting comfortably next to stripped down soul flavoured dark edged rock ‘n roll. Classy sound drenched in atmosphere and barroom spills, in Morricone and Tarrantino, in dramatic murder ballads, heavy drinking, Johnny Cash, big boots, Americana, burning hot deserts.... They’re from Norway, they do their chosen thing with a whole load of impressive style