Monday, 22 October 2012

CITIZENS! Album Review

Citizens! - here we are (Kitsune- Cooperative Music)

Minimalist, Icy Indie Pop

Citizens!: London’s winning entry for the ‘Hipsters personified by music’ award. Not that that exists, hopefully. The albums fun, youthful, but bit too repetitive in places.

‘True Romance’, the album opener is a sweet and innocent introduction to Citizens!, with its delicate piano like keyboard dancing over an almost R&B drum machine beat. Alexis Taylor’s tender vocals wistfully singing of what all teens dream off.
‘Reptile’ then follows with its icy synth and bored vocals. Catchy, poppy yet wonderfully cold. Watch the video and my opening comment will make much more sense.

The album continues to follow very much in the same vain but with ‘Love You More’ adding a nice twist. The verses are lead by tribal bongo drums with the suggestion of xylophone and bare vocals but the come the chorus and its back to a big catchy pop melody, sugary vocals and swirling keyboards. 

‘Lets Go All The Way’ is a prime example of where ‘here we are‘ goes a bit wrong. Its darker then the rest, suggestive, very simplistic, with a lovely vocal but it doesn’t go anywhere, the tracks skip-able because the repetition gets boring which really is a shame as its not a bad song.

‘(I’m in love with your) Girlfriend’ thankfully picks the album back up with it’s brassy bold 80’s esque synth and longing yet challenging vocals. Its fun, upbeat and cheeky. ‘Nobodies Fool’ again is an excellent song, introducing a more prominent funky sassy sound, a less busy and warm Friends. Again ‘Monster’ follows the same funky trend, bass lead but with more shimmer.  Its insanely catchy, sweet; a prime example of what Citizens! do best.

‘She Said’ is another let down after this sequence of amazing tracks. The annoying thing is that its not a bad song, its almost as if they can’t keep up to the high standard they set themselves. The song starts off well, its brass,  with a big pop chorus, but it’s the verses that let them down, they’re dull in comparison, which is a shame because the opening and ending of the song are good. 

The last two tracks are rather different to the rest of the album, ‘I Wouldn’t Want To’ is off steady, reflective and quiet mature. His vocals as soft as ever lead by a simple drum beat. But come the chorus we’ve gone into MGMT territory, with out of space psych pop sounds swirling around. While ‘Know Yourself’ is basically the same, with a very out of space psych keyboard sound it’s less bass lead, with more layered. 

This sudden slight change in style leaves it more opened ended, almost suggestive of their next musical direction. Clever Citizens!. ‘here we are’ is a very good debut, its has its fair share of faults but I strongly believe that the rest of the album is brilliant enough to make up for it - Reptile - Love You More

Thursday, 18 October 2012

DIVV - Oshin

DIIV- Oshin (Captured Tracks)

Luscious, washed out, distorted pysch pop.

DIIV (Dive) started out as a solo project for Beach Fossils Zachary Cole Smith but soon turned into a whole new band when his childhood friends Andrew Bailey, Devin Ruben Perez and Colby Hewitt hopped on board. After only hearing Oshin once, it’s easy to see why its caused such a online buzz.
Side A opens with ‘Druun’, a dreamy brief instrumental introduction. Gentle layers of jangling melodic guitar and simple piano slowly builds and blends together. They ebb and flow, ever so slightly out of tune and harmony with itself.  Following track ‘Past Lives’ has a Smiths sound to it, while also keeping this washed out feeling. Spaced out, soft echoing vocals add a psychedelic twist to it as melodic guitars swirl round. It’s a very whimsical, wistful sound. This is very much the overall tone of the album.

 Single ‘How Long Have You Known‘, is more poppy but still distant and a bit dreary. Think a less harsh, brassy My Bloody Valentine. ‘Wait’ is slightly different; floating in the background is a shimmering organ, giving it an early Cure feel, while this increasingly prominent distorted guitar takes over. By the end of this rather short song you have this innocent church organ and fearsome distorted guitar clashing perfectly. 

Side A, closes with ‘Earthboy’ which takes us into a more experimental psychedelic dream.

Side B is opened by ‘Druun Pt. II‘, the perfect continuum and opening.
‘Follow‘, ‘follows’ suit, its dreamy, happy and that bit distorted. 

‘Doused‘, another single, is fantastic. Faster paced, vocals a frantic echo, distorted guitar rushed, while all the time an ominous organ sounds in the background. There’s a strong sense of running away, but you can’t go fast enough, like in a bad dream. Its more down to earth and darker then the rest but it doesn’t lose their style. ‘Home’ closes this incredible album on a sombre, melancholic note: “ we’ll never have a home” is repeated as its swirls gently, vocals soft as ever.

Oshin is like watching the sea in the late Summer. Guitars and keyboards ebb and flow like the waves, mood occasionally changing while his vocals echo round you like a comforting wind. It’s changeable in subtle ways, oddly fascinating and carefree. - Doused - Wait