If all you’ve ever heard from The Danse Society was their excellent 1985 single “Say It Again,” congratulations! You and I have something in common. It was with curiosity and anticipation that I decided to review Seduction: The Society Collection, and I was both surprised and pleased.
The dreamy, ’80s pop of “Wake Me” opens Midnight Faces’ sophomore album, sounding like the sunnier end of The Cure’s multicolored musical spectrum. Philip Stancil’s voice, however, is nothing like Robert Smith’s, and has a gritty, reedy edge that helps ground the songs on The Fire Is Gone.
“Over Again” has a darker vibe, albeit with that same reverbed guitar, and proves to ’80s naysayers how versatile that sound can be. The slow hush of “Shadows” features anxious harmonies and a heavy bassline.
But if you think Midnight Faces are just another wanna-be shoegaze band, think again. The soaring, joyous “Hold Tight” veers into actual power pop territory, with a chorus that could easily fit in amongst Taylor Hanson’s finest, while the whistling melody of “This Time” is ridiculously infectious.
The album switches gears again with the R&B dance flavored “Give It Up” and the electronic drums of “Animal,” which could easily be a forgotten hit from 1986. Coming full circle for the final track, “The Fire Is Gone” is another melancholy gem with some thoughtful lyrics and a fantastic chorus.
For those looking for something a little unexpected in their dream pop, I guarantee Midnight Faces will hit the spot.
The Fire Is Gone was released by Broken Factory on May 13.
Mill Creek has blessed us many times with their double packs and some great Blu-Rays. Yes, they come up criminally short of special features, but they do have some decent transfers and their prices are next to perfect. Recently Mill Creek has reissued some classics and I think they look fantastic.
#7885 (Electropunk to Technopop 1978 – 1985) continues the fruitful relationship between Cabaret Voltaire and Mute and includes revamped reissues of CDs and DVDs in box set form. These releases were initially broken into time periods, which for Cabaret Voltaire makes a whole lot of sense, because essentially you’re dealing with strikingly different sounds. #7885 is a distilled version of many creative ventures placing the entire era of the band together on one release for the first time.
If there were any justice in the world, Janiva Magness’s newest, Original, would be as ubiquitous as Adele’s last album. You should hear her songs pouring out of car windows, women (and men) singing along, tears in their eyes from the sheer power of it. After all, Magness has an unbelievable voice, emotive and strong, and writes personal lyrics that speak to everyone. Janiva Magness, of course, isn’t marketed that way, which is a shame. She needs to be heard by a wide audience. She’s amazing.
After reissuing The Blow Monkeys’ first two albums, as well as their stellar newest album, Feels Like A New Morning (review), Cherry Red Records has released a deluxe edition of 1987′s She Was Only A Grocer’s Daughter. And a deluxe edition it is—remastered, chock full of remixes and astoundingly good demos, enhanced by an interview with The Blow Monkeys frontman, Robert Howard (Dr. Robert), in the liner notes. It is a boon for completists, collecting all the bits and bobs into one excellent package.
Though the BPMs on La Roux’s new album, Trouble In Paradise, are lower than on her surprise hit debut, it’s still the kind of record that moves you to the dance floor. After a tumultuous break (losing her voice, breaking off from her former partner in La Roux), Elly Jackson has returned with a much warmer, fun record, and it’s a very welcome one.
I find it harder these days to write reviews of films that I thoroughly enjoy, and easier to review the films that I think are OK or not the greatest. Under The Skin will be in my Top 10 for this year and will not move from that spot.
By John Lane
Two things I want to get out of the away in the beginning of this review: Comparisons have been floated already in numerous reviews about this new album. The first is the comparison to The Beach Boys’ SMILE; while flattering perhaps to them in a remote way, I cannot think of a more off-base touchstone. To compare Mosaics Within Mosaics to SMILE is like visiting a wax museum and comparing the waxworks (SMILE) to the Easter Island statues (Mosaics). This is not to denigrate SMILE or Mosaics Within Mosaics, but rather to illustrate that the two albums occupy two entirely different planets not worthy of comparison. It’s like gazing at the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, observing the moustaches, and then saying the whole thing reminds you of The Village People because, you know, moustaches.
The second point of contention is the casual throw-around of the word “psychedelic” in all these reviews. Again, lazy and misleading, as the term itself has a sort of anachronistic dusty taint to it—would Steve Reich be considered psychedelic because of his experimentation with form and structure? I feel like the old person shaking his head at a young woman wearing styles that were unflattering in “my day.”
For a band that was founded in 1983, Grammy-winning Rebirth Brass Band sounds amazingly fresh. One of the leading lights of the New Orleans brass band revival (see also: Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Hot 8, Soul Rebels), Rebirth hasn’t slowed, hasn’t stopped doing what they do well: making music that makes you move your feet. Or, as it states on the tin, Move Your Body.