Son Lux finds transcendence on the eclectic Brighter Wounds, whereas Dashboard Confessional’s Crooked Shadows, although undoubtedly polished, is simply… superb. These, plus Franz Ferdinand and The Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon on this week’s notable new releases.
Son Lux, Brighter Wounds
Though Los Angeles composer Ryan Lott shaped Son Lux as a solo undertaking, lately he’s added a pair of core collaborators, guitarist Rafiq Bhatia and drummer Ian Chang. This expanded lineup fits the formidable scope of Brighter Wounds, a kaleidoscopic document ruminating on loss, reminiscence, time, and rebirth, with nods to spiraling chamber pop (“All Instructions”), skittering electro (“Surrounded”), fractured R&B (“Slowly”), and theatrical synth-rock (“Forty Screams”). Lott isn’t afraid to mix disparate kinds on the identical tune, which regularly results in transcendence. On the tender “Aquatic,” which boasts a whirring percussive underbelly, he sounds stricken as he sings, “We could all start aquatic / However we depart solely mud from our bones.” Instantly after that line, strings crescendo after which stop, including a wistful little bit of sonic punctuation. Brighter Wounds poses extra questions than solutions—however that uncertainty solely makes the document extra absorbing.
RIYL: Shearwater. Soiled Projectors. Publish-2010 Björk. Publish-In Rainbows Radiohead. Röyksopp.
Begin right here: “Dream State” is a disjointed pop tune about embracing new realities—and reconciling the current with painful recollections—that’s buoyed by Coldplay-esque howls, classical thrives, and grinding digital bursts. [Annie Zaleski]
Franz Ferdinand, At all times Ascending
[Domino Recording Co.]
After the departure of guitarist-keyboardist Nick McCarthy in 2016, Franz Ferdinand regrouped, enlisted new members Julian Corrie (keyboards) and Dino Bardot (guitar), and finally decamped to the studio with Philippe Zdar (Cassius, The Rapture, Phoenix). The purpose, based on press supplies, was an album “as energetic and thrilling as their very first.” Sixteen years and 5 albums in, that’s an unattainable job, however At all times Ascending does a succesful job. It boasts hooky dance-floor bangers (“At all times Ascending,” “Glimpse Of Love,” “Really feel The Love Go”) and a wealth of catchy songs that ought to please longtime followers. It additionally has moments of irritating repetition, as in “The Academy Award,” the place Alex Kapranos sings, “The Academy Award for good occasions goes to you,” time and again. Though that’s much less obnoxious than the (regularly repeated) refrain of “Huck And Jim”: “We’re goin’ to America / We’re gonna inform ’em concerning the NHS / Once we get there, we’ll all hang around / Sippin’ 40s with Huck and Jim.” Regardless of that, At all times Ascending has its moments, even when it’s not the musical rebirth Franz Ferdinand sought.
RIYL: The Strokes. Arctic Monkeys. Blur. The early ’00s.
Begin right here: The title monitor begins with a quiet, sluggish construct that explodes into throbbing disco round a minute and a half. It hits all of the marks, with ’80s-sounding synths, machine-like drums, disco guitars, and Kapranos’ easy croon mixing into one of many album’s standouts. [Kyle Ryan]
Dashboard Confessional, Crooked Shadows
[Fueled By Ramen]
Nearly a decade after his final album as Dashboard Confessional, Chris Carrabba returns as a king, emo not a slur however a motion, a practice, a model, a scar. He’s guested with rap-rockers, he’s frolicked with Taylor Swift, he’s obtained a moody profile in The New York Occasions. Now firmly into his 40s, how does this avatar of teenage angst sound, returning as soon as extra to the nicely? Enh, superb. Of all his very quick albums, that is his shortest, and the place he as soon as packed his songs with knotty chord adjustments and shout-along confessions, right here he tends towards standard constructions and lowest-common-denominator couplets (“I wanna maintain you just a little tighter / Maintain you up like a lighter,” goes one hook). The drama comes not from high-flying, heartfelt specificity however from the rather more grownup realm of “instrumentation,” right here roping in new wave (“Catch You”), Swift-style pop (“Belong”), and vest-wearing banjo-rock (“Coronary heart Beat Right here”). They’re undeniably polished however bland tracks that he however sings his coronary heart out on, which is, in a way, all that issues for a person in his distinctive place. On the title monitor, he appears to tease himself for chasing the ghost of youth—“Solely a idiot would even attempt for this / We’ll be those that get away with it”—which means that he is aware of precisely what he’s doing.
Begin right here: Nothing right here goes to vary the thoughts of anybody who doesn’t already need to take heed to this, and even if you’re desirous about it, you’re higher off listening to the stuff you have already got memorized—however, superb, begin with the Mumford-aping “Coronary heart Beat Right here,” which you’ll most likely hear once more at a regrettable wedding ceremony sometime. [Clayton Purdom]
Brian Fallon, Sleepwalkers
If Brian Fallon’s first solo launch, Painkillers, was his Tunnel Of Love, the brand new Sleepwalkers is extra his The River—rougher and ramshackle-sounding, and in love with traditional pop preparations, which is all for the higher. He’s settled into a snug retro-rocker groove, mixing his Springsteen sensibilities in a pastiche of Motown grooves and ’50s-basic backbeats, aided by the occasional veer into Americana and countrified ambles. (These detours are the weakest elements of the document, particularly “Proof Of Life,” which seems like a rattling Lumineers tune.) However principally, he acts just like the previous 30-plus years of pop music by no means occurred, concentrating on swaggering soul stompers like “My Identify Is The Night time (Colour Me Black)” and “Little Nightmares,” the second of which pumps up the album’s use of organs to offer an virtually honky-tonk vibe. There are ballads as nicely, just like the Joe Cocker-esque “Etta James,” however total the album nimbly threads collectively his greaser-meets-girl sensibilities with a melancholic longing borne of age. It’s a document about being in love with the thought of affection—dreaming of somebody to carry or mourning the shortage thereof, however savoring each painful second of each—and it doesn’t matter whether or not it’s a remorse or a hope. Each hit the identical recurring theme: not eager to be alone, however not essentially needing a specific particular person to stave off that loneliness. As an alternative, it’s simply Fallon and his microphone, crooning and crowing over these rhythm and blues-focused rave-ups, holding courtroom over an old-school rock revival to match his stressed temper.
RIYL: The Gaslight Anthem. Mid-period Springsteen with out the shitty manufacturing values. Sock hops. Dwelling in 1970s Detroit.
Begin right here: “My Identify Is The Night time” kicks off with a unclean, bluesy riff, one thing that wouldn’t sound misplaced on a Stones document, however segueing right into a extra West Coast, Social Distortion vibe—or like an oldies model of Rancid. It’s concurrently one of many goofier and extra unabashedly joyous tracks on the document, and properly emblematic of your entire affair in that regard. [Alex McLevy]
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