The Reddit Controversy

The past few days have seen one of the most popular websites on the Web, Reddit, gain some unwanted attention following new regulations on what it cannot publish.  The website, self-proclaimed ‘front page of the internet’, has had a sub-reddit (sections of the site devoted to particular subjects) closed down.  This sub-reddit was entitled r/jailbait.  You can imagine the kind of images they shared here.

First, a little background on Reddit’s reputation around the online community.  A quick Google search of the site’s name will bring up image macros and dozens of memes.  Essentially, the site and its contributors share funny images, and discuss whatever idiotic meme has overwhelmed the internet that week.  Reddit is incredibly popular, and has even enticed actor Woody Harrelson to visit the site to contribute to an ‘Ask Me Anything’ interview.  The results were chaotic when it became clear that he would only answer questions pertaining to the film he was promoting.

Reddit is often described as the site 4chan visitors go when they hit 15.  They do share similarities, but the visitors of 4chan slate Redditors as plagiarists and unfunny.  However, it seems the average internet user sees Reddit as a filter:  4chan without the illegal content and ‘Anonymous’ culture.

But this r/jailbait debacle has brought light to a dark part of Reddit which many people (myself included) didn’t know existed.  This was brought to my attention from the good people at Cracked.com’s forums.  Although this sub-reddit has been shut down, many still remain.  These sub-reddits vary in subject from incest to racism and sexism.  Such titles include r/preteengirls and r/beatingniggers.  The administrators not only turn a blind eye to immoral content, but openly contribute to it (one particular scumbag gloating about his deviant past.)

As you can expect, this event has brought with it a moronic censorship debate  about content which, in itself, is not illegal but can be seen to be providing an outlet to paedophiles.  Those who are horrified by the people defending questionable material are shouted down as closed-minded and hypocritical.

The whole situation has shaken the Reddit community, with many refusing to visit the site again due to sheer disgust.  What becomes clear is that where people used to see Reddit as ‘safer’ alternative to 4chan, it seems to cater to the same morons as it: potentially dangerous ones.

Posted in Features, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

We need to talk about Dexter

Note: Spoilers are not wholly present, but the plotline of Season Five is listed and summarised.

Amid the rumours circulating the internet that the premiere episode of the sixth season of Dexter had been leaked, I found myself almost uninterested at the news.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of the show, some of the seasons are among the best drama of the past decade or so.  The sole reason it attracted so many fans in the first place was its simple and intriguing premise:  a blood-spatter expert who kills criminals at night.  That’s it.  The show continues to bring in new fans, thanks in big part to Michael C. Hall as the titular sociopath.  Other than drawn out morality issues that lesser actors may be tempted to indulge in, Hall’s subtlety and distance allows the viewer to sympathise with Dexter, and not feel distracted by the – let’s face it – overuse of the ‘is-it-right-is-it-wrong’ dilemmas he faces. Many TV cop dramas have the typical ‘crime a week’ approach to episode structure.  In any one episode, an antagonist is introduced, developed and captured.  With Dexter, the antagonists aren’t as quickly cast-aside, and many dwell on for the rest of the season.

But here’s my gripe: it is uneven.  Each season has its own story arc and, sadly, some are better than others.  The second and fourth (Bay Harbour Butcher and Trinity Killer storylines, respectively) are excellent in drawing out the chase with each episode.  The fourth season especially so, as John Lithgow (now longer known as ‘the dad from 3rd Rock from the Sun) performs frighteningly well as the creepy methodical killer with an oddly picture-perfect family life.   The problem is when the story arcs aren’t as engrossing, watching the show seems almost like a chore.  The previous season is arguably one of the weakest because of this.

In the fifth season, Dexter rescues and takes care of a troubled rape victim Lumen (played by guest-star Julia Stiles) and eventually seeks out her attackers and self-help spokesman Jordan Chase (another guest-star Jonny Lee Miller) who played a worryingly controlling role in Lumen’s ordeal.  Sub-plots aside, that’s about it.  The performances are satisfactory, but I felt that the story itself was too predictable.  And when the main plotline doesn’t entice me, it doesn’t speak much for the sub-plots.

At the premiere of the fifth season, Quinn looks as if he’s destined to be the fan’s replacement for Doakes.  That is, the one cop in the Miami Police Department who has suspicions on Dexter and decides to investigate. And he does.  Sort of. He hires a private investigator (another guest-star Peter Weller) to privately investigate matters.  Then it more or less peters out, come the season finale. There are trials and tribulations, but everything is more or less back to the way things were before.  And the less said about the LaGuerta-Batista romance, the better. I know episode writing must be tricky business, but I don’t watch Dexter for will-they-won’t-they relationship bullshit.

To put an end to this rambling, I’ll say that I will watch the new Dexter.  The press releases and trailers listing the trendy new guest-stars don’t fill me with excitement, but that’s the type of show Dexter is.  I just fear that with every passing year, the show will just turn into a skeleton of what it has been during its prime not too long ago.  In my opinion, six seasons is too long for any series, but I’m prepared for my mind to be changed.   In a world of CSI, Dexter is still refreshing and it is still well worth a watch.

Posted in Reviews, Television | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why you should be watching Breaking Bad

At the beginning of the decade, the United Kingdom was graced with the presence of the quirky American sitcom ‘Malcolm in the Middle’. Starring child-actor Frankie Muniz, the series ran for six-and-a-half years and won several awards, standing out from its contemporaries. Thanks to its clever plotlines and disregard for sitcom stereotypes (mercifully, it was produced without a laugh-track), it was lauded by critics and audiences alike. One particular actor, however, stole the show. No, not Frankie Muniz, who has seemed to disappeared from the spotlight with haste, nor Jane Kaczmarek as the stern mother of the show. The highlight was Bryan Cranston, as the goofy, panicking father. Fast forward half a decade, Cranston is arguably better known as a bald chemistry-teacher-turned-meth-cook. Whereas he showed his comedic flair on his previous sitcom, he now regularly wows American audiences as the antihero Walter White on the sublime Breaking Bad. Since the series started in 2008, Cranston has scooped three consecutive Emmy awards for his acting talents, beating Mad Men’s Jon Hamm and Dexter’s Michael C. Hall. Yet still this dark comedic drama has not found its widest audience on our shores. But there is an audience. Breaking Bad chronicles the downward spiral of a chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with terminal cancer. In order to provide for his family after his death, he opts to manufacture crystal meth with a former student. Further along this four season (and counting) run, Walter finds himself falling deeper into the seedy and violent underworld of drug-dealing. Along with a stellar supporting cast, especially Aaron Paul as White’s troubled assistant, Breaking Bad has proven itself as consistent as it is thrilling. Although it is no secret that American studios have been creating excellent dramas as of late (Mad Men, The Wire, Dexter to name but a few), you’d be forgiven that Breaking Bad is just another drama in an already exhaustive list of ‘must watch’ shows that varies from episode to episode. The pace of the show, however, is what I believe makes it all the more gripping than any of your typical CSI-type serials. Each scene of every episode adds to the tension little by little until the final episodes of each season where it reached boiling point. Think Scarface with more character development and with, dare I say it, better acting. The series is currently nearing the end of its fourth season across the Atlantic, and details of the third season DVD release in the UK are sketchy. Seasons one and two are available at most online retailers.

Posted in Reviews, Television | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scottish comedy

(Note: this was written for my Graded Unit project)

 

We Scots are an interesting people.  Often loud, always friendly, we have a reputation for being light-hearted and tight-fisted.  Many of these traits are shared with our English counterparts, although through our heritage and culture, we have become distinct from those south of the border.

However, through these differences, is there such a thing as a Scottish sense of humour?  Us Scots can be described as many things; observant, anecdotal and very dry, but we certainly cannot be described as dull.  From Chic Murray to Kevin Bridges, such characteristics can be seen through the very foundations of Scottish comedy, and this factor knows no age limit.  Though our personality can be seen as distinct from our English counterparts, can this contribute to humour, or is the Scottish sense of humour a myth?

The British can be described as very self-deprecating, but particularly so for the Scottish.  Living in a country with as bad weather as we get, we have to have a sense of humour about life, and indeed about ourselves.  Of course, we have a love of Scottish theatre (pantomimes, especially) and sketch shows, including Chewin’ the Fat and Scotch and Wry.

We really come into our own with stand-up comedy, and for an excellent reflection of Scottish culture, look no further than Billy Connolly.

Active for more than 30 years, the ‘Big Yin’ is associated with anecdotal ‘pub humour.’  This approachable comedic style has earned him the top spot on Channel Four’s 100 Greatest Stand-Ups list, and he is loved throughout the world.  Although his humorous outlook on life had been influenced by the legendary Chic Murray, Connolly stood out from his contemporaries, much to his amazement.  He wrote on his website: “I was surprised at the impact that I made in those early days in Scotland, it was off its damn head, all I did was something that had been done before by Jimmy Logan. I was funny in a Glasgow accent.”  From a working class background, Connolly was beloved by many from the very start, soon reaching a new peak after his appearance on the Parkinson chat show in 1975.  His rambling, often vulgar yet always hysterical approach to comedy has made him an influence to young comedians throughout the world.

Across the Atlantic Ocean, Glasgow-born Craig Ferguson has made quite a name for himself as the host of talk show ‘The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.’  One of his trademarks is his opening monologues, where he offers a humorous take on many serious aspects of his life, including the death of his father, and his battle with alcoholism.  His brutally honest comedic style can be very much attributed to his Scottish roots.  Ferguson, who has presented his show for seven years, has somehow been accepted into the hearts of Americans through his heartfelt stories told with a broad, yet warm accent.  Although he is thousands of miles from his native Clydebank, he conveys an approachable, anecdotal sense of humour which was perhaps perfected by the Big Yin.

Connolly and Ferguson aside, more contemporary Scottish comedians have different perceptions of what is funny, and what is not.  Perhaps the most controversial comedian of recent years, Frankie Boyle is uncompromising, offensive and highly popular.  With his explicit one-liners and dark social commentary, can parallels really be drawn between Boyle and Connolly?  Probably not, yet there are many niches of stand-up comedy and Boyle is aimed at a different demographic than comedians of decades ago.  More faithful to ‘traditional’ comic values, the young Kevin Bridges has been hailed for his observation, deadpan delivery and confidence on stage.  Although there are differences in humour between these two comedians, subject matter can be very similar.  That said, is it true to say that English audiences do not relate on the same level as audiences in Scotland?  Or are we creating boundaries where there are none?

Jen Lavery, Head of the Press department in The Stand thinks so.  “I don’t believe there are differences between Scottish comedy and English comedy.  Some topics have a Scottish theme, like drinking, violence, and swearing but these topics are more universal.  An Irish or Australian comedian could joke about the same thing, nationality doesn’t come into it.”

The Stand Comedy Club opened in Edinburgh in 1998.  A Glasgow club was opened two years later, and due to popular demand started hosting performers every night of the week.  Since then, the Glasgow chain has hosted many well-known acts, particularly so during the annual Magners Comedy Festival.  Jen continues: “We have hosted Michael MacIntyre, Jimmy Carr, Johnny Vegas, Doug Stanhope.  Kevin Bridges played his first gig here before he was old enough to even buy a pint.”

Billy Connolly is often seen as the pinnacle of Scottish comedy, but is this reflective of the entire nation?  “Billy is a great comedian, but I’m not sure if he is the quintessential Scottish comic, by now it could be Frankie Boyle or even Kevin Bridges,” says Jen.  “But you can’t compare one comedian to another, they’re different types of humour.  Something one person may find offensive, another may find hysterical.

“I would say that it is moreso the audience that has changed.  There are more shows on television, such as Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Road Show, so more people come to live performances.  Some don’t seem to understand live show experiences, often people can talk during shows or heckle, which is irritating and unnecessary.  It’s something that people have to adapt to.”

Jen makes a good point, that comedy has always been popular, but this popularity has reached new heights.  The younger generation of adults in the United Kingdom can now happily survey new performers from the comfort of their own sofas.  With these new platforms for upcoming acts, does she feel that Scottish performers have their own appeal, so to speak?

“Nationality doesn’t matter when you’re with an audience, the only thing that really matters is if you’re good or not.”

It should be noted that this is just one view point.  Another viewpoint is that our national growth, heritage and culture all contributes to a brand of humour which is distinctly Scottish.  Indeed, what can be said to contribute to our comedic charm if this is so?

Many people are of the opinion that we Scots have a joke-cracking personality trait that derives from everything that makes us Scottish.  Cynical yet simultaneously cheerful, it is almost oxymoronic that Scottish comedians shine a light on subjects that are normally kept in the dark.  Although an English comedian may reference similar things, many Scots have the opinion that our homegrown comedic acts have a well-crafted approach to these things.    “The Scots can be dour but equally they can flash with inspiration. They delight in self-deprecating humour and continue to honour their tradition of hospitality,” says the Tour Scotland website.  This may be true.  We are indeed friendly and certainly not afraid to poke fun at ourselves.  We have plenty to grimace about, but our personality, and indeed our humour, shines through.

Honesty is vital in all comedians.  Connolly, Bridges et al appeal to a broad spectrum of people who enjoy hearing humour which reminds them of their day-to-day experiences.  Jokes about weather, local drunks and teenage delinquents are the norm for many Scottish people, not just comedians.  The aforementioned pub-humour is as Scottish as haggis and whisky.  But that’s not to say foreigners can’t join in the laughs too.

David Wong is the senior editor of Cracked, a popular American comedy website.  What does he feel about the style of Billy Connolly, indisputably the most successful comedian from our shores?

“At the time he reminded me of George Carlin, it was based heavily on observation, storytelling, and really taking joy in crude language.  He didn’t do jokes about Scotland or the differences between America and Scotland or anything like that.

“He just told jokes that appealed to universal truths.  I think that’s why it was great.”

Although we are less than likely to see Kevin Bridges or Frankie Boyle headline an American comedy show, we have certainly made our mark on the international circuit.  Billy Connolly continues to tour the globe, young Danny Bhoy has made quite a name for himself in Australia, and Kevin Bridges is counted among the funniest acts in the United Kingdom.  Comedians of all nationalities should have the ambition to try new approaches to their routine, and most Scottish comedians do not go out their way to try to reflect the humour of a single nation.  They simply set out to entertain whatever audience will listen to them.

Our national personality naturally seeps into our great comedians, and this is something to be celebrated.  Furthermore, any right-thinking comedy fan should know that humour derives from different perspectives, from all nationalities.  Scottish, English, it doesn’t matter which side of the border you’re on.  Whether or not there is a Scottish sense of humour does not matter: our ability to poke fun at ourselves may be distinct, or it may not be.  Comedy is universal, and if you make an audience laugh, nothing else matters.

Posted in Features | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mclusky – My Pain and Sadness is More Sad and Painful than Yours

The noise rock trio known as mclusky emerged out of the underground scene of Cardiff, Wales, from as early as 1996.  3 years later, they released their debut album humourously titled My Pain and Sadness is More Sad and Painful Than Yours.  From the immediacy of Joy, through to the gritty World Cup Drumming, this is an album that demands your attention for its entirety.  Vocalist/Guitarist Andy Falkous barks the lyrics through riff-based fuzz-rock reminiscent of Bleach-era Nirvana, with only four of the record’s 15 tracks going over the 3 minute mark.  At times, Falkous’ vocals are reminiscent of Black Francis of Pixies, particularly so on Whiteliberalonwhiteliberalaction where he maniacally and sarcastic repeats that “everyone’s a hero”.  Mcluskypossessed a direct and raw sound which is evident throughout My Pain and Sadness… but there is a rare moment of subtlety during the slowburning Flysmoke, which is as close the record comes to a ballad.  A fitting introduction to the group, the release achieved modest success and gained the attention of one Steve Albini, who later produced their 2002 follow-up entitled Mclusky Do Dallas.

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Favourite albums over the years

These are compiled from my last.fm account, except for 2009 and 2010.  Copy/paste job, more or less so some of the statements may differ from my current opinions:

2007

1. Nine Inch Nails – The Downward Spiral.

First got into NIN, all I heard was Closer (in the Catty) and Hand That Feeds. When I heard online that they were pretty big back in the early-90s, I decided to give them a chance. I downloaded The Downward Spiral and I was blown away. Don’t know if its exactly industrial, but its so dark and aggressive. One of my favourite concept albums (I’m a sucker for good concept albums). Also, Hurts on it and I prefer it to the Johnny Cash cover of it.

2. David Bowie – Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust..

I overlistened to this one. I loved the title track, after hearing it on an Air Guitar album or someshit. Then I got the album and realised it was easily the worst song on it. It got the point where I listened to it twice a week.

3. Biffy Clyro – Infinity Land

I’ve always loved Glitter and Trauma, but I forgot about Biffy after the song got released. Puzzle came out and I got heavily into them. Great technical playing but with brilliant choruses(not shred or anything), kinda like Rush meets Weezer.

4. System of a Down – Toxicity

My favourite metal band. Completely original, no band sounds like them. 2 years after it was released, it was named in the top 5 best metal/rock albums. I wouldn’t go that far, but to me its a solid metal album.

5. The Beatles – White Album

More of a collection of songs, rather than the album type Sgt Peppers was. Just great songs, but I don’t listen to it as often as Abbey Road these days.

6. Led Zeppelin – Houses of the Holy

Bonham was somehow a big influence on my rhythm playing. Hes got such a groove on songs like D’yer Mak’er and The Ocean. A good kinda experimental album, Zepp in their prime.

7. Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run

Generally a good album, Thunder Road is a solid introduction to the album. The whole escaping thing, working-class dream is what I could relate with when I got a shit job.

8. Jeff Buckley – Grace

Probably my favourite vocalist. Lover You Shouldve Come Over is reason enough to prove his voice was soulful as hell.

9. Q.O.T.S.A – Songs for the Deaf

Dark and kinda trippy. A peak that QOTSA haven’t yet reached again. Era Vulgaris came close though.

10. Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers

Singalong rock songs, the kind you could probably imagine Mick and Keith just sitting around with a group of folk singing 8 brilliant songs.

2008

1. Tom Waits – Bone Machine

First bought the album because of how good Goin Out West is. His voice is one of those voices you either love or hate. The exact opposite of Jeff Buckley, gritty and flawed. And he is one helluva songwriter aswell. The few blues songs on the album are easy to play aswell. 3 chords and you can play Earth Died Screaming, although it would sound nothing like the original. Its class.

2. Biffy Clyro – Vertigo of Bliss

Definately a grower. Not much I can be arsed to explain about this one.

3. Radiohead – OK Computer

I first got this when my brother didn’t want. I gave it a listen and found only 3 songs I liked. Put it on my iPod, and one morning I decided to give it a fair listen. I slowly got into it more, and realised that under the bleepy noises there were great, well structured songs. Its rock but nothing like anyone heard at the time.

4. The Smiths – The Queen is Dead

I dismissed them as a pretentious indie band (like I did with Radiohead). Bought Queen is Dead for £3, and loved every single song. Morrisseys vocals can get a bit annoying at times (I Know Its Over outro) but the lyrics are brilliant even they can be a bit sadsackish.

5. Alice in Chains – Dirt

My favourite grunge album. Loved Rooster on first listen but found the album had better songs like Rain When I Die, Down In A Hole and Junkhead.

6. The Stooges – Fun House

The most important American rock band, the band that despite being more than 35 years old could give Nickelback or any of that shite a aural kick in the balls. TV Eye is easily in the top 5 rock songs.


2009 (no explanations for these, just a list)

1. Frightened Rabbit – The Midnight Organ Fight

2. R.E.M. – Automatic for the People

3. Radiohead – OK Computer

4. Marmaduke Duke – The Magnificent Duke

5. Tool – Aenima

6. Nirvana – In Utero

7. The Beatles – The White Album

8. System of a Down – Toxicity

9. Biffy Clyro – The Vertigo of Bliss

10. The Smiths – The Queen is Dead

2010

For this list, I won’t include any albums on previous lists, can’t be fucked explaining them again.  In no particular order

Arcade Fire – Neon Bible

I was tempted to put Funeral into this, seeing as Neighborhoods #1 (Tunnels) is my favourite song by the group, but I find the Neon Bible is a textbook example of a band giving the phrase ‘difficult second album’ a kicking, progressing from their fantastic debut by offering a consistent, ambitious follow-up.  This album solidified their status as one of the most intriguing bands on the indie-rock circuit.

Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

I first heard of this particular album on Pitchfork’s website.  The review gave it a perfect 10.0, so I decided to give it a go.  On first listen, it is catchy and somewhat bizarre.  The second track King of Carrot Flowers Parts 2 and 3 starts with Jeff Mangum’s yell of ‘I love you Jesus Christ’.  It verges on cringe-worthy, but the track quickly picks up with the wail of trumpets, crash of drums and fuzz of guitars.  The album as a whole can best be described as an experience.  Lyrically complex and abstract, the album is partly inspired by vocalist Jeff Mangum’s infatuation with the story of Anne Frank.  Highlights include Two-Headed Boy, the fanfare of Holland 1945 and the soaring melody of Ghost.  Essential listening, but don’t dismiss it on the first listen.  This isn’t suited for background music while you do the washing.

Between the Buried and Me – The Great Misdirect

….And now for something completely different.  BTBAM have been known in the metal scene as a challenging, immensely talented band.  When their critically acclaimed LP Colors dropped, they reached new heights with ferocious vocals and unorthodox song structures.  Their latest The Great Misdirect, is the one that I prefer.  Its not that its better than Colors, its just different.  Only six tracks, yet the album clocks in at just under an hour, each track has a great amount to depth to it.  From the jazzy, atmospheric Mirrors through to the epic Swim to the Moon, its an album that grabs hold of you through its ups and downs.  My favourite moment is probably the classic rock breakdown in the middle of Disease, Injury, Madness.  BTBAM have to be one of the most ambitious progressive metal bands, they have a great amount of pride in their music, they never cut corners.

The Mars Volta – Deloused in the Comatorium

I was initially going to pick At The Drive-In’s last album Relationship of Command, but I very slightly prefer the Mars Volta’s debut.  Or I could have picked Frances the Mute.  Either way, the Mars Volta are a fantastic band.  They remind me of a hybrid of Led Zeppelin and Santana, with such a tight dynamic.  Omar Rodriguez-Lopez has to be one of my favourite guitarists, and Take The Veil Cerpin Taxt is probably one of my favourite guitar tracks.  Mainly for that freaky robotic solo bit.  But yeah, Mars Volta/At The Drive-In are the dugs baws.

Weezer – Green Album/Pinkerton

When I heard that Weezer are planning to tour Pinkerton and the Green Album, I was ecstatic.  Then I realised that Weezer hardly ever tour Europe, let alone the UK.  Ah well, a guy can dream.  Green Album was the best power-pop album this side of Cheap Trick.  Buddy Holly, My Name is Jonas, Only in Dreams and Say It Ain’t So are highlights but there isn’t a bad song on it.  I could say the same for Pinkerton, in all honesty.  Although it was slated on release (named the worst album on 1996 for some unknown reason), it has stood the test of time.  And while I’m on the subject of Weezer, they still aren’tthat bad.  Raditude and Hurley are pretty okay albums, aside from the odd cringe-worthy song (Wheres My Sex? comes to mind), but I’d endure Beverly Hills on repeat for an hour if I could hear Tired of Sex live.

Can’t be bothered continuing, so I’ll just list some albums that would be on the list if I could be fucked describing them:

Bright Eyes – I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning

Tom Waits – Rain Dogs

Sufjan Stevens – Illinois

Sonic Youth – Goo (Yeah, I know I know, but I haven’t given any of their other albums a listen just yet)

Ryan Adams – Gold

Posted in List | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kings of Leon – Come Around Sundown

I’m not the biggest fan of Kings of Leon, but I enjoyed Only By the Night, shortly before the tedious radio play of Sex on Fire, Revelry, Use Somebody heard on karaoke, dance clubs (3 times in one bloody night, including the obligatory dance version) and about 40 times a day in McDonalds restaurants but I digress.

The album that propelled them to the big leagues was a far cry from their almost rootsy beginnings.  They had stadium tunes that would make Bono envious, but still had hints of their roots, such as in Crawl.

Come Around Sundown picks up where the predecessor left off, spacious in its atmosphere.  Soaked in reverb, immediate drums, almost gritty bass-lines.  That said, the opener The End is quite underwhelming on first listen, and lead single Radioactive is not as addictive as the likes of Sex on Fire.  An early highlight is third track Pyro, a soaring chorus that seems almost alternative-country.  Theres something about it which tells me it would a belter if it was played acoustic.

The tunes are solid, much of them better than some on Only by the Night, but what lets the album down is the overused instrumentation i.e. heavy delay on guitar, loud bass, and the warblings of Caleb Followhill as typical as ever.  Cameron Followhill (lead guitarist) seems to be living out his The Edge fantasies in spades, but when he does ditch the effects, these are very well crafted rock songs.  Perfect example is Back Down South, complete with slide-guitar and fiddle.

That said, the album does contain a bit of filler, songs which are too samey to make a well-rounded album.  Despite the generally strong start, a lot of the tracks just blend into one another, and it comes across as a bit murky.  Its longer than it needs to be, and to an extent it suffers for that.

Its decent, but if the following singles end up getting played as much as Use Somebody, I’ll end up hating this album

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment