Review: Policy by Will Butler

Policy by Will ButlerMost of Will Butler’s career has been spent with Arcade Fire – yep, he’s Win’s brother, and he’s the guy who usually goes wild during their performances. And that manic quality presents itself in Policy, his solo debut. Despite the short length – it’s just over 27 minutes long – there’s a lot of depth in the songs, and an irresistible energy ties the disparate styles together. “Take My Side” begins the album with a bluesy, scowly ditty; it’s followed by the David Byrne-esque “Anna”, and then, by the sweeping ballad “Finish What I Started”. And it goes all over stylistically throughout the rest of the record, but there’s no whiplash. I get the feeling that Policy is a bit of a musical CV from Butler. Whatever the purpose is, it’s an interesting offshoot from one of the members of perhaps one of the most grandiose bands performing today. [NB] | 4/5

Review: Another Eternity by Purity Ring

Another Eternity by Purity RingI’m a bit confused. Suddenly Purity Ring – whose debut record, Shrines, was steeped in creepy undertones that somehow worked – was enveloped with sunshine, and lots of it. Another Eternity continues the Canadian duo’s mixing of everything and somehow making it work: a bit of dubstep, a bit of hip-hop, a bit of pop, all wrapped around that blanket of electronica, all thrown in a pop and mixed together. The lyrics are still obscure yet weirdly accessible, al down to Megan James’ sweet yet deceiving coo. And yet, all that sunshine. It’s not a bad thing. Shrines, I think, suffered from being too weird – although some certainly liked it that way, and it was that quality that sold me in the first place. Another Eternity is arguably their “pop album”, although in this case, they haven’t changed much. It’s just a different packaging for what is essentially the same thing. It’s confusing, but the results are interesting. [NB] | 4/5

Review: Chasing Yesterday by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

Chasing Yesterday by Noel Gallagher's High Flying BirdsBut of course Noel Gallagher would mellow out with age. I guess it’s my biases, but among the Gallagher brothers, he always seemed to be the guy who’d be more willing to give in to age and all of the coziness it entails. But I can’t help but feel that Chasing Yesterday, Noel’s second record under the High Flying Birds banner, went one step too far. Sure, I do not expect him to rock out and get rowdy – again, my biases, but that’s Liam’s job to fill – but this record, with its boozy modern-flavored psych rock with some saxophone thrown in for good measure, suffers from being a bit too one-note. Songs blend into each other, but don’t quite come up to a climax, and it all gets tedious. Yes, it does pick up in the last three tracks – “Ballad of the Mighty I”, the album’s closer, actually works as an album closer, anthemic and cathartic at the same time – but I went through a lot of gelatin for that? I’m just glad to hear things pick up at this point. I did badly want to enjoy this record. [NB] | 3/5


“Parallel Spec” by Gesu no Kiwami Otome | Okay. Last Japanese song for this stretch. (I say this because tomorrow is Friday, which is album review day.) Anyway, I stumbled upon this song on Facebook: a college friend, Tina, pointed out the drumming (well, the drummer) and I felt I had to take a look. Gesu no Kiwami Otome – a Japanese funk band formed out of members of different other groups – was founded by Indigo la End’s Enon Katawani in 2012, intending it to be a jam project-y side gig. The experience shows: the sounds are tight and intricate and rewards repeat listening. Or, well, I’m basing it on this one song, from their EP Minna Normal, released last year. As for the drummer, well… yeah. [NB]

「未来はほら ハッピーハッピーハッピー!」

“Kira Kira Killer” by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu | Yesterday’s post leads me to another Facebook post, from a few weeks back. I know. I know. But then again, I am new to Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. I have focused too much on the European stuff on this blog. And Rainy almost included her in her Fantasy Festival line-up, which is as convenient an excuse as anything. This former fashion blogger oozes kawaii. That’s why everybody but me knows her. That’s all. The visuals are interesting, but it definitely depends on the time of day: I write this while nursing a headache (why am I writing while nursing a headache?) and this proved a bit too much, which wasn’t the reaction I got when I first watched this. Also, glitter! Glitter glitter killer! I would’ve posted her newer song but as there’s no full video yet as of this writing, nope, this has to do. Kira kira killahhhh. I am not making sense. And I know I missed her bigger hits. Ow. I really should stop writing. [NB]