Κυριακή, 31 Μαΐου 2015

Florence + the Machine - How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful

It's been a while since the last time we had a new Florence album. Don't get me wrong, I respect an artist that needs more than a year to record a masterpiece. But I'm talking about "Ceremonials". I can understand that you cannot always deliver the best of you and, above all, you're just human, for God's sake. I was partly misguided by the charms of the "What Kind Of Man" first single and its video, cause I thought "You bloody British soulful bitch, you outdid yourself once again". But when I actually listened to the new album more than five times, it came to me: "more emotion and sadness than actual music".

Florence is sad. She is actually sad, like Bjork has been the last few years. And it's ironic, because the album has been produced by Markus Dravs, the "Homogenic" producer. Her effort is more than honest, in order to show the world that she is hurting inside, and she is doing it with a sense of wisdom that is always poetic and metaphorical. So metaphorical, though, that you can feel she is more lost than hurt. Once again, don't get me wrong, I like the new album. It's just the fact that her emotions have surpassed her musical expectations. And, maybe, she was partly misguided, too, during the recording sessions.

She always has a vision of her sound. This time, guitars and brass arrangements (by Goldfrapp's Will Gregory) have become her thing, which is great. We needed that and she can own it, vocally and musically. But when you check the first track, "Ship To Wreck", it feels like you are listening to a Smiths cover (a good one, of course), not a Florence new sophisticated composition. Then, "What Kind Of Man" comes forward with its self-confidence and you want to dance until you bleed with her Alanis-esque anger and raw brass/guitar production. Right after, "How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful", "Queen of Peace", "Various Storms & Saints" and "Long & Lost" come along and you feel like she is finally sounding like she is supposed to sound. And you are happy.

With the fourth single, "Delilah", she is bringing back the powerhouse Florence, using epic orchestration and vocal arrangement. And then, cheesy guitar themes again with "Caught". It's so wrong to put that song after "Delilah" and "Long & Lost", cause it's too small and non Florence. The new Florence rises above the ashes again with the epic "Third Eye", the sentimentally overwhelming and simple - but not simplistic - "St Jude" and the co-written and co-produced by Paul Epworth "Mother", which, and let's face it, is a triumphant outro.

This third album for the band, at the end of the day, is not complete. Something is missing. Her emotions are all there. Her artistry is all there. Her voice is the most important instrument in the songs and the production is flawless. But what about the songwriting? It feels like she had more to write, more to sing and more to showcase after 4 years. When "Mother" is done, I'm still waiting for another 4 or 5 great songs to feel her pain, her despair, her original vision. But, like I said, her emotions have surpassed her (or my) musical expectations.

AnArtCalled... 7,5/10

Πέμπτη, 7 Μαΐου 2015

Róisín Murphy - Hairless Toys

She had an amazing career with Moloko, she had one good solo album and one great solo album, she had children, she had many collaborations and Italian language covers and finally she has released her third solo project. So what is "Hairless Toys" actually about?

The 8-track album is inspired by "Paris Is Burning", so you can feel the New York drag balls, their glitter and their agony. It's a tribute to the 80's culture, electronic music and sexual revolution. The Irish singer creates the conditions, where she is comfortable to express her feelings and her questions. And these conditions are deep electronic basslines ("Uninvited Guest"), disco synths ("Evil Eyes"), almost breathy vocals, retro production tools and some out of the blue Tarantino guitars ("Exile").

"Hairless Toys" is almost a dance album, but then again it's not. You could expect happy tunes, Bjork-esque aesthetics or "Overpowered" production, but then again you could not. This project is about decisions, many types of "Exploitation", problems created and problems solved and - most of all - acceptance and love of all kinds. It's a love/political album, which is weird at first. But once you listen to the lyrics, it makes sense. It's a 2015 musical revolution like the Chicago House scene, the Detroit Hip-hop and Techno scenes or even the London Glam Rock scene. It's a concept album, a landmark album, certainly her best effort to date.

There is a quality in Róisín, that has not yet been fully acknowledged. It's not about her music or her collaborations or her image or her voice or her artistry at all. It's probably something about her personality. And just because it's a mystery to us (we don't hang out with her, I mean), we will never completely understand what she is doing each and every time. But that's her beauty, too. She is like a David Lynch film - you won't get it at first, but it's also impossible not to watch it again and again.

AnArtCalled... 9/10

Αντί απολογισμού…

Η αλήθεια είναι πως ασχοληθήκαμε με την μουσική έως και αποκλειστικά την χρονιά που πέρασε. Το πιθανότερο είναι να κάνουμε το ίδιο και την επόμενη με την περισσή πάντα, ασυνέπεια που μας διακρίνει. Δηλαδή όποτε μας κάτσει κάτι υπέροχο η απαίσιο –την ίδια ένταση συναισθημάτων προκαλούν άλλωστε. Έχουμε αφήσει ολίγον στην άκρη τα υπόλοιπα. Αν δεις την αρχή του μπλογκ, αφορούσε και φιλμς και εκθέσεις και φεστιβάλ. Αλλά ακόμα και ένα απλό μπλογκ θέλει την αφοσίωση και τον χρόνο του…την φροντίδα του εν τέλει.

Εύχομαι απλά αυτό τον χρόνο να είναι όλα πιο ήρεμα και εμείς να κάνουμε αυτό που αγαπάμε συχνότερα και εντιμότερα.

attention...

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