Review: One More Light by Linkin Park

One More Light by Linkin ParkEarly reaction to One More Light suggests Linkin Park has sold out, giving up a sound it has, more or less, cultivated for the past two decades or so in favor of the vaguely memorable poppy EDM that we’ve been drowning in for the past year or so. Well, arguably, not really. The group has been flirting with these sounds for years; save for the limp return to their old sound on The Hunting Party, they have been smoothing the edges out for the past few albums, with Living Things being the best example. That said, my biggest disappointment with this album is not the “selling out” but the “giving up”. What until now has been a tight group working behind and in front of the scenes has become, essentially, Chester Bennington, a cameo from Mike Shinoda, and a few sliders and faders. The thing that made Linkin Park still worth looking into all these years have completely disappeared, to be replaced by muck we could get (and, perhaps for most of their fans, are actively avoiding) everywhere. Is this a sign of the group running out of ideas, or getting too complacent, or being so bored they’re just having a laugh at our expense? I’d like to think the intentions here are pure, but really, it did not have to be this way. [NB]1/5

Review: Traces by the Ransom Collective

Traces by the Ransom CollectiveIf anything, there’s no bringing the Ransom Collective down. As one of the flag bearers of this new generation of Filipino indie music, they’ve come to represent a sound that, while singularly focused, has an undeniable craftsmanship that attracts the droves predisposed towards them. That brings us to Traces, their first full-length (after a self-titled EP) where they continue the template they’ve set. Yes, it’s not original – the trend of guitar-driven, campfire-evoking indie pop seems to be dissipating – but they do what they do well. Even if I find the album a little relentless – constantly on the up, woefully lacking in shade, hardening my built-in cynicism – I will concede that there are little twirls in the record that evoke a smile. But, yes, for me, a little relentless. A good record, but a little relentless. Or maybe I’m just not in the market. [NB]3/5

The Local Outsider #16: Kiana Valenciano, Elmo Magalona and Over October

This is a weird time to write this column. The past couple of days have been particularly distressing. But they will all say the show must go on, and it must, for these things we take for granted do more to bring us together than that cycle of panic and counter-panic or whatever that is that unfolded. So, on this month’s Local Outsider, we continue playing catch-up with local acts. I guess we can all unite under the fact that I am still terrible with local acts. Anyway, this month we find ourselves looking at the pop side (and doing an accidental theme, again) if only because of a magazine cover…

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“How do your thoughts feel when they are drowning?”

“In Colour” by Wooing | “You know Rachel Trachtenberg?” Jeany asked me during one of our chats this week. Now I realize I have mistaken her for Michelle Trachtenberg. Jeany and I are of the same age but our references are quite different, understandably. At least me saying Rachel is an actress isn’t false. (Whew.) We were talking about her new band Wooing, another reference lost to me because now it’s clear I have not heard of Rachel before, but “In Colour”, off their just released EP DayDream Time Machine, is a boozy, woozy thing that drives while bending. I would drive fast to this but then the road would buckle and I would be upside down the next moment, with my tires still on the road. Quite interesting, this. Now, to get both our references straight. [NB]

“Fare thee well, oh honey.”

“Down By The River” by Vikesh Kapoor | I somewhat missed the deadline on this, as this dropped last Friday (and on limited translucent blue flexi disc, if that’s you thing) but, well, songs like this don’t really do well kept behind a deadline. That’s me justifying writing about Vikesh Kapoor’s new single half a week later than I should have. Four years after the release of his debut album The Ballad of Willy Robbins, he settles down with this plaintive yet striking little thing – apparently about a Ukranian girl he met by the, well, river back in Pennsylvania, where he came from – one that you better just allow to soak you all the way through. This is a thing of beauty. [NB] (Have things I should hear? Drop me a line here.)