The Weekly Jive

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Posted January 31, 2008 in Music

Lightspeed Champion—Falling Off the Lavender Bridge (Domino)

Buzz here is that Dev Hynes has butterflied after stints as Nigga Bullshit and other pupal stages of self-discovery, but the truth is that, as with all super talents of modern genius, he just bores easily. And with his eager hearted Lightspeed Champion, he begins to bore the rest of us as well. So what if he one-eightied from the inconsiderate (yet very interesting) London punks Test Icicles to form this fairly mellifluous (yet typically uninteresting) pop-vehicle; it’s still a hungry shrike set to flatulence and strings. Not that the yawning effect carries over to the song titles themselves—”All to Shit,” “Devil Tricks to a Bitch,” “Let the Bitches Die,” “Everyone I Know Listens to Crunk,” such promise, and let downs the same—but the world isn’t starving for mellower. There’s little to be gained in the sophistification of raw. Though the nine-and-a-half minute opus “Midnight Surprise” gains on Elvis Costello and Gruff Rhys and the limpid heartjerk chords of Conor Oberst—and is that Edge playing guitar on “I Could Have Done This Myself,” for fuck’s sake—so what of it? It would have been better if Lightspeed Champion had truly evolved, and pissed out the fire of pop catchiness. Instead we’re forced to listen to an elegiac, sweetly poignant offering of beautifully arranged songs—and that’s a shame, really. (Chuck Mindenhall)

 

The Mars Volta—The Bedlam in Goliath (Universal)

If I tell you that this album’s back-story involves burying a meddlesome, lyric-writing Ouija board you’ll get the idea: The Mars Volta are eccentric and prog as fuck. They resemble an exotic, ultra-amped Woodstock-era Santana, spiked with post-punk structural irreverence, Omar Rodriguez Lopez’ spastic jazz-punk guitar and Cedric Bixler Zavala’s tremulous, often effeminate from-the-beyond wail—all arranged by a peaking tweaker. Respect to the Mars Volta—essentially founder members Bixler Zavala and Rodriguez Lopez—for their single-minded artiness, but the results have gotten steadily less listenable since their 2003 debut De-Loused in the Comatorium. After that Rodriguez Lopez assumed sole production duties and the resulting three discs have spiraled down a claustrophobic rabbit hole of self-indulgence. When they play a song—you know, actual melody and refrain—their otherworldly intensity is peerless, but that’s something they do less and less, opting instead for rambling acres of jammy virtuosity and stoner-only effects propelled by deft ‘n’ dense percussion. (Paul Rogers)

 

Sons and Daughters—This Gift (Domino)

Long ago, some self-righteous fucks were sitting in their basement after a show. In between rounds of D&D and bitching about how their local music scene sucks, the most sanctimonious member of the group made a proclamation. “I tire of our dreary scene!” he said to no one in particular, because no one was listening. “We should form a band and write songs about the nebulous “you” and we can bitch about people we don’t approve of and everyone will have to listen. They can be about anyone, really, like slutty girls, people who care about fashion, people who aren’t as hardcore as us and people we think are ruining the scene with their bothersome presence.” And lo, the bitchy song about “you” was born, and myriad bands used it to make people listen to their incessant bitching. Which is a shame, because Sons and Daughters new This Gift is loaded with them, and the self-righteous preaching detracts from an otherwise perfect album of aggressive, punky pop that makes you wanna dance. But each rapid-fire complaint that singer Adele Bethel lists off tanks each track a little more. And although it’s ultimately redeemed by the band’s sheer musical prowess, it’ll still remind you to call your mom. (Phil Fuller)

 

 

 

 

 


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