Master Loner plays Uno – 28.11.12

Well this week as always I have another three reviews for you to read and , as always any feedback on anything on here is greatly appreciated. First of all I went to see P.T. Anderson’s latest film The Master which was pretty awesome. Then when I felt like ranting I listened to Green Day’s ¡Uno! but I found it harder to dislike than I thought I would. Following that was another album review this time a bit more on the alternative side, here’s my write-up for Tame Impala’s Lonerism. Hope you enjoy all of them.

So to leave you with a video, the thing I’m most excited about right now is Ben Wheatley’s new film Sightseers which is due out on Friday, so have a peek at the trailer if you haven’t seen it already:

Lonerism

After seeing Tame Impala perform on Jools Holland I was intrigued to give their music a listen. Lonerism is their second album and it came out at the beginning of October so I thought I’d give it a listen to start things off. They’re recorded sound is quite different from what I heard on Jools Holland, but definitely different in a good way.

Lonerism is like nothing else before it, apart from perhaps Innerspeaker the groups first record. Lonerism blends psychadelics with indie beats, classic rock guitar solos and a constant ambience. The album kicks off with ‘Be Above It’ setting the scene for an unusual album the song constantly has backing vocals creating the basis of the track then instruments and lead vocals are added on top creating a sound similar to something you’ve heard before but with something unique. This track sounds, to me, a lot like Broken Social Scene.

Everything we learnt from the first track is pretty much dashed with it’s follow-up, ‘Endors Toi’ which is perhaps a better indicator for the sound of the rest of the album. It is very ambient, with high-pitched melodic vocals that get lost within the other instruments and moments where certain instruments just burst out above all the rest. Guitar solos that sound like they wouldn’t be out of place on a Pink Floyd album and drum fills that don’t sound dissimilar from something you might have heard by Led Zeppelin.

It’s this old fashioned sound that really gives the band their identity, mixing classic rock and progressive sounds with an indie sensibility ultimately bringing the genre right up to date and giving us one of the greatest albums of the year.

 

¡Uno!

Well two parts of Green Day’s new trilogy are now upon us. But it has taken me this long to give the first part a listen, as we all know Green Day are now shit so I thought I’d give it a listen so I could have a good rant. Unfortunately, my opinion of the album was not quite as clear cut as that, but let me know if you agree with me.

Green Day’s last two albums, American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown, are incredibly bad records. It seemed that Green Day had got incredibly pretentious and actually started believing they had some kind of statement to make. A confusing choice considering they’re a band that are known for being simplistic, those two album seemed to be saying they’re more than that. Obviously they are not and with ¡Uno! it appears that they may have actually begun to realise that. It often feels like a hark back to their old, more original and better, sound.

When I first heard Kill the DJ I must admit I hated it. I thought it was another nail being hammered into the trio’s coffin but actually since listening to the album a few times my mind has been completely changed. Kill the DJ is actually the biggest step in the right direction Green Day have had in years. Stripping down the music back to basics, because let’s face it none of them are actually good musicians, and singing about something that doesn’t matter. The catchy chorus genuinely does show you what made Green Day good in the first place. They’re not ground-breaking by any means but they can make a good tune that can stick in your head and is incredibly easy to listen to.

That’s not say, though, that there aren’t moments of shitness here. As an album by the halfway point it gets a bit tired and the second half of the album drags, with every song sounding the same. It’s weakest points come Oh Love and Angel Blue. The latter sounds like a re-hash of about 100 previous Green Day songs that have exact some structure and insanely similar sounding riffs. The former being just over five minutes of a boring two-bar song that seems to repeat itself over and over without changing.

This album definitely sounds like a step in the right direction, it seems much more like the original Green Day that was so fresh and listenable and manages to drive the band away from their over-complicated political albums that were so poor. As an album it’s a fun listen but it does beg the question that maybe Green Day should have just stopped while they were ahead, they struggle to kkeep up the quality on this disc and it makes me worried to see how they’ve managed to get three albums of this material. Still, we’ll see what happens, review of ¡Dos! to come next week.

 

The Master

The Master is P.T. Anderson’s sixth feature and his latest since 2007’s Oscar winning There Will Be Blood. Starring Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master tells the story of a stowaway who ends up on a ship with a group who all follow The Master’s (Hoffman) Cause, said to be based on scientology. Phoenix plays Freddie Quell who immediately hits things off with The Master, real name  Lancaster Dodd, and is used as a test subject for some of Dodd’s new experimental processes designed to help members of The Cause to improve their understanding. As the film goes on it becomes clear that the members of The Cause have been trying to help Quell get over his strange psychological issues, which is quite clearly caused by sexual repression. Anderson creates a wonderful comparison between two kinds of insanity while examining the ideas of belief, cult and psychology.

The acting by the entire cast is second to none. Phoenix’s lead performance is flawless as he becomes this slightly strange bloke from the 50’s who is clearly completely lost within himself and in search of some identity and some love. Hoffman is similarly mesmerising as the charismatic Master who spends half his time being incredibly friendly and happy and the other half losing his shit whenever anyone tackles his belief system. No answers are ever given as to why what he’s saying is true. Amy Adams is also excellent as Dodd’s wife who actually seems to be a bit of a driving force behind The Cause’s cult like membership system opting to cut anyone out who does something she doesn’t like.

The narrative of the film at times feels non-existent and that’s because it mostly is. This film is not about plot this film is about it’s characters. And that makes it all the better. It is a study of human character and is left open to the viewers interpretation. Much like There Will Be Blood it is slow moving but it is paced in such a way for a reason; to make you think. And make you think The Master certainly will, I was lying in bed last night for ages thinking of what different things meant. One thing that I can be sure of, though, is that this is a great film further adding to Anderson’s sublime filmography this must be another shout for an Oscar.

 

Totoro the Heavy looking Hero – 21.11.12

I am actually for once very pleased with how my combined title has worked out this week, it is definitely one of my better ones! And the quality of the title has coincided with the fact that I am actually managing to put out a weekly update on time, even if my posts this week did end up happening over the last three days, but nevertheless I have uploaded more of my genius writings for you to cast your eyes upon in awe. First of all as you may have guessed was my review of the first ever Studio Ghibli film, My Neighbour Totoro. Then there was a review of Heavy Rain, the game that took over my life for the past week. And finally there was band plug of metal band Protest the Hero.

On that note I will leave you with a sample of Protest the Hero, here is the hilarious video to Hair-Trigger which I mentioned in the plug, enjoy

Protest the Hero

The other day I was introduced to this group, Protest the Hero. Upon watching the sublime video that accompanies ‘Hair Trigger’ I was originally planning to just do an album review of Scurrilous which that song features on but after enjoying the album so much I gave the bands previous two records a listen and thought it best to turn this post into a band plug. Protest the Hero are primarily a metal although their music has elements of post-hardcore and at times classic rock. These are a band that have the ability to take themselves overly seriously but chose to have a laugh instead.

Going back to their debut album, Kezia, we see a bit more of their metal origins. This is definitely their most generic metal record but that’s not to say it doesn’t have other elements to it. Songs like ‘Blindfolds Aside’ and ‘A Plateful of Our Dead’ have acoustic, Spanish guitar sections breaking up the erratic rock that surrounds them. The musicianship for a debut is exemplary. Crazy time signatures padded out with insane double bass solos and some of the best vocals in any band around make Kezia a great listen even when compared with their later, more popular, records.

Fortress, is much the same. The bass lines on this album have taken a leaf out of the book of funk and can often be heard rapidly bumbling along beneath the ridiculous guitars, listen to ‘Bone Marrow’ to hear a bit of this. There’s also a lot more of the post-hardcore feel I was talking about on this record which becomes even more apparent on Scurrilous, but we can see them progressing as a band here. There are also tracks on here that sound a lot more like prog-metal similar to The Fall of Troy or even System of a Down at times.

Scurrilous, their latest album is a lot less like a metal album flowing between punk and hardcore and cutting down on the screaming. The guitar parts are still just as crazy though and the lyrics just as ridiculous as ever. Vocally, this album shows how Rody Walker has matured and he gives his strongest performance on this.

Protest the Hero are a band that manage to set themselves well apart from the norm of metal bands at the moment and genuinely capture something unique in the sound by throwing together a mixture of other bands style. These guys are definitely one to watch, got my fingers crossed for UK tour in the near future.