Thursday, February 14, 2008

I've read a bunch of really interesting reviews recently, so here are links to a few of them:

A downright mugging of Cat Power on the part of The Guardian's Maddy Costa makes for fascinating reading. Chan Marshall's live shows have been criticised (and celebrated) for many reasons, but this analysis is new to me. If it's right, it's very sad.

"In the past, Marshall has been diffident on stage, and she has been incompetent. She has been moving and exasperating. The keynote of this gig is an unpleasant aggression, a belligerence that taints even her repeated demands of the audience to "forgive me". She seems no less nervous than in her depressed, chaotic past, but in stamping out the weak parts of herself, Marshall has also destroyed everything that was aching and haunting and beautiful in her voice. The transformation is horribly disillusioning to witness."
Elsewhere, the boys (they're always boys) over at Pitchfork deliver a horrifically unfair verdict on British Sea Power's excellent 'Do You Like Rock Music'. Saying it's "an album that will either thrill or repel listeners depending on their taste for bombastic arena rock", the review makes a series of fatuous references to U2 and refuses to give the record a mark out of ten. Pathetic. Here's an extract:

"Curiously, these stadium-sized songs channel less passion, anger, or awe than their earlier work. Granted, emotion has never been the band's strong suit, but here, British Sea Power speak the language of big feelings with little to back it up. Do You Like Rock Music? sounds empty at its core, with a rock where its heart should be."
Rubbish, it's a really good record.

A happier review, now. I watched the Wave Pictures at the End of The Road festival last year and was blown away by their tuneful, well-honed Hefner-pop, and in particular by singer/guitarist David Tattersal's unbelievable playing. In Plan B this month they get several good notices, but this is the one that comes closest to summing up my thoughts. Courtesy of Meryl Trussler,

"and then the singer looks up at us....

He looks up, sways forward, and a sound begins to pour out of the guitar that is one of the least tedious solos I have ever heard. It is warm and unforced and earnest. It's like listening to a thoroughly drunk but beloved friend insisting over and over their love for you - No, honestly, really, no, no, I mean this."
Excellent stuff - you can read the review here.

Got a feeling there were more reviews yet I wanted to comment on, so there may be more to follow.


Ben said...

The Wave Pictures are an odd band - didn't quite get them when I first saw them, but would like to see them again. A bit subtle to make a big impression first time around, perhaps.

Ben said...

Should also add I've heard bad things about Cat Power live, but that really is a critical savaging.

Have you got the new album? Just wondering how it compares to The Greatest, which I absolutely love.