Album reviews of the week
Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 23:10
This week’s album releases showcase classic names with new sounds.
1. “Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!” by Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Don’t let the name throw you off. Godspeed You! Black Emperor has been a staple of indie rock since the band released its first album in 1997. Following a return to live performances in 2010 after a nearly eight-year absence, the band has pulled together once again to release “Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!”
Allelujah! is a reminder of Godspeed’s former glory but is also an illustration of the how the band has grown. With tracks like “Worried Fire” and “Mladic” to lose yourself in, it’s as if the band has picked up right where it left off with its trademark of complex instrumentals and smart lyricism.
2. “All We Love We Leave Behind” by Converge
This metal band has been around for almost 25 years, but over the years, the Boston group has honed its skills, and “All We Love We Leave Behind” is the result of time and patience. Highlight tracks include the five-minute “Coral Blue” as well as the equally captivating “Empty on the Inside.” This version of Converge is a little less angry and a bit more sensitive, coupling the powerful instrumentation with thoughtful lyrics, and not allowing the former to overshadow the latter.
3. “Royal Trux” by Accelerator
Often described as “dirt bag rock,” Accelerator has a hardscrabble sound to it, which should make it appealing to the country crossover set, with jingles such as “Yellow Kiss” and “Liar.” True, they are not exactly Neil Young, but they aren’t Carrie Underwood either.
4. “Two Eleven” by Brandy
The songbird of the late ‘90s has returned with her sixth studio album. “Two Eleven” includes a lot of the
R&B-style songs that made Brandy a household name, but the album also showcases some of her new style, namely in the form of “Slower,” a track that Brandy co-wrote with Chris Brown. “Slower” is a showcase to Brandy’s abilities as an envelope-pusher, with explicit lyrics that make “The Boy Is Mine,” Brandy’s 1998 hit with fellow R&B star Monica, seem like a nursery rhyme.
5. “Halcyon” by Ellie Goulding
Anyone who watches television has heard Goulding’s “Anything Could Happen,” a track from this album that is used in a commercial to promote a line of headphones designed by Jay-Z. In this follow-up to her best-selling first album, “Lights,” Goulding employs her guitar to create a more pop sound. “Halcyon” places Goulding in the running to become the next Florence Welch.
6. “Night Train” by Jason Aldean
The latest album by country music’s breakout artist Aldean features his signature blend of country-rock and also breaks new ground in the track “The Only Way I Know,” which combines classic country with a hip-hop beat.
7. “Information Retrieved” by Pinback
The unique band releases its fifth LP, which features fun songs such as “Proceed to Memory” and “Glide.” The band’s sound remains steady, but the quality of the lyrics have changed, calling to mind the complex words favored by bands such as The Decemberists in its use of
old-fashioned, British-sounding words such as “cad” and “vile.”