U2 – Songs Of Innocence
Since half the world seems to already have this album whether they wanted it or not I was tempted not to bother reviewing this album, but I have a few things to say about it anyway. I have seen a lot of publications worrying about the further effect this album will have on the way that people value music and the way that people expect music to be free. What i’m hoping is that upon listening to this album people will realise that they need to pay for music or they’ll end up getting more free handouts like a crap U2 album. U2 haven’t been as good as they once were for a while now and this album confirms that with them sounding like a copy of themselves. The saving grace on this album is the guitar work from The Edge, but even then they still end up sounding more like a band influenced by Coldplay, rather than THE band that influenced them and countless others.
Karen O – Crush Songs
Yeah Yeah Yeah’s front woman, ‘Karen O’s’ debut solo album is an ultra lo-fi album made up of songs that for the most part, are about a minute long. Suiting to the title of the album these songs sound like they were recorded in a teenager’s bedroom. These songs feel like they were written just moments before recording them with there being background noises on some of the tracks, and a passion in her voice that you get when you’ve just finished writing a song. I understand what Karen O was going for on this album and there are some brilliantly sweet and intimate songs on this record such as ‘Visits’ and many others. The problem is it just feels like this album would have benefited from a bit more time given to them. Every time I start getting into a song on this album it’s just cut so short. It’s impossible not to listen to some of these songs and think ‘What if they had been given more time in the studio?’ because there are some brilliant ideas on this album and Karen O’s songwriting is as always, fantastic.
Mazes – Wooden Aquarium
Mazes have released two albums prior to this that have both been a bit of a hit or miss for a lot of people, but on this new album they seem to be much more focused. Right from the outset there are so many brilliant guitar lines in this record as it taps into both emo and indie rock territory. Sometimes they have the sound of a slightly more user friendly Pixies, with both a male and female singing at the same time underneath the gritty guitar work. Sometimes they sound like they are channeling their inner 60s rock with backwards guitar solos. Even though Mazes may not be the most charismatic or original band in the world and they wear their influences on their sleeves, they do deliver some very solid songs. They know how to put together some cracking hooks and some of the breakdowns on this record are great such as on the song ‘Astigmatism’. They show great potential as a band even when they are a bit rough round the edges, this album is a definite step in the right direction.