- Last Updated: 12:22 AM, July 25, 2012
- Posted: 10:23 PM, July 23, 2012
Albums of the Week
THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM
RASPY-VOICED Brian Fallon, frontman for this rising, Springsteen-indebted New Brunswick, NJ, roots-punk band, sings like a gut-busting self-parody. He so badly overstates his songs’ emotions that it might make you run to the nearest Auto-Tuned pop star, if only for relief. The Gaslight Anthem’s songs, on their fourth album, are just as pompous, from the insufferable “Too Much Blood” (it’s “on the page,” because he’s givin’ it his all) and “Biloxi Parish” (“I’ve found that nothing truly matters/That you cannot find for free”— do tell). “I already live with too many ghosts,” Fallon sings on acoustic closer “National Anthem.” Nah, dude, Bruce is doing fine.
JUDGING from Passion Pit’s first album, three years ago, they could write songs to convey their modish ’80s synth-pop revivalism. But this follow-up is so unrelentingly cutesy that it’s nauseating. The songwriting is annoyingly perky: “Take a Walk” pairs bitter sentiments about the economy with an oompah-march chorus too saccharine for the Munchkins, while “Carried Away” sounds like the closing theme to a Disney Channel sitcom. The synths have a milky glow that grows tedious within seconds. And singer Michael Angelakos preens like he’s trying out for the act Owl City.
Downloads of the Week
IGNORE this New Zealand singer-songwriter’s dumb moniker (he was christened James Milne), and pay attention to the sighing, lovely, endlessly rolling melody on this tune from the album “The Sparrow.” The tautly arranged violin, piano and guitar give the semi-comical words — about an eccentric young man ready to ditch his small hometown — a buoyant underpinning.
MICACHU AND THE SHAPES
THREE years ago, the first album of London pop oddball Mica Levi, stage name Micachu, couched some great tunes in junkyard arrangements. On her follow-up, “Never,” she’s written a bunch of dirges and coated them in off-putting noise. “OK” is typical — an unpleasant song you forget, instantly and blessedly, when it’s over.
THE music of this Goth-tinged Canadian down-tempo electronic duo features a lot of atmospheric production surrounding a pretty but hollow center. The song, from the album “Shrines,” is about love, apparently. “Cut open my sternum,” sings Megan James, reaching for her heart as literally as possible — but it’s so mannered, it sounds smug.
LES DIFFICILES DE PETION-VILLE
“Fe’m Confiance (Tropical Treats Edit)”
THE party album of the summer is “Sofrito: International Soundclash,” a disco-leaning Afro-Latin compilation put together by a pair of European DJs. Its highlight is this chugging, entrancing mid-’70s Haitian jam, stripped to a hot rhythm track and shape-shifting wah-wah guitar by a Swedish remixer. It’s speaker-melting, in the best way.