Published on October 19th, 2017 | by James Hrivnak0
The Feedback Society’s Week in Music
Some albums we’ve been discussing over drinks this week at The Feedback Society, like The Killers, The 1975, Laura Branigan, classic Jens Lekman, and more.
The Killers – Wonderful Wonderful
Hot Fuss casts a very long shadow over the Killers. That album is a stone cold classic of the 2000s (Sam’s Town is really good too), but now the band has basically become a parody of themselves. The production on Wonderful Wonderful, which was released last month, is bombastic and obvious, devoid of nuance; melodies aren’t sharp, and frontman Brandon Flowers just name-drops who he’s referencing without putting in the effort of mimicking anymore. “Run for Cover” stands out from the crowd, and Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler makes a welcome appearance on the album closer ‘Have All the Songs Been Written?’ though. The Killers have never not felt forced, but their new wave-meets-Springsteen routine is worn too thin now. Flowers doesn’t have the finesse to pull off something like ‘The Man,’ which would be 100% better if he had just given it to Justin Timberlake (think about it, I’m right).
The 1975 – The 1975
Somehow The 1975 have been labelled a boy band, which to me makes no sense. Sure, they are a band made up of boys, but the term’s connotations suggest Backstreet Boys, OneDirection, and others. Don’t do the band a disservice and write them off. The band cop their moves more from Duran Duran, Bowie, M83, and a host of others. Their 2013 debut is jam-packed with groovy synth-pop and acerbic wordplay. Standouts include the melancholic mall anthem “Sex” and the cool, dancey “Heart Out,” but the crowd-pleasers are punctuated by ambient interludes and sobering ballads. It’s a big, dense record full of ideas—and their follow-up, last year’s ‘I like it when you sleep, for you are beautiful yet so unaware,’ is even more ambitious and successful.
Jens Lekman – Night Falls Over Kortedala
Lekman released ‘Life Will See You Now’ earlier this year, but his 2007 ‘Night Falls Over Kortedala’ still stands as his high watermark. Lekman combines humourous, witty folk storytelling with eclectic arrangements of retro sounds and samples. This a perfect cold weather record. He’s introspective, cutting, and incredibly clever the way he lets stories unfold on tracks like ‘A Postcard to Nina’ and ‘Your Arms Around Me.’ But the album’s standout is is the funky jam “Kanske är jag kär i dig” that combines doo-wop backing vocals with olde-timey brass samples.
The War on Drugs – A Deeper Understanding
Purveyors of smart New Dad Rock, The War on Drugs are becoming one of the most consistent and reliable bands working today. Their fourth record, ‘A Deeper Understanding’ dropped in August. It’s a big, sweeping record made for the open road that’s surprisingly even more robust than 2014’s ‘Lost in the Dream,’ but not as bloated as one might think. Full of the band’s trademark sound, ‘A Deeper Understanding’ ups the ante in terms of emotional impact, from the driving “Holding On” and ‘Nothing to Find’ to the sunset heartbreak of “Strangest Thing.” This is one of the year’s absolute best, get on it.
Laura Branigan – Hold Me
I grabbed a box of records from my mom’s house, and I’ve been slowly making my through them. Among the unpopular Bee Gees records and Art Garfunkel solo albums, I stumbled across Laura Branigan’s half-forgotten fourth album, 1985’s ‘Hold Me.’ ‘Hold Me’ didn’t reach the success of her previous albums (critically and commercially), but it has some gems on it all the same. Despite the misguided and decidedly creepy cover art, it’s a fine-but-minor 80s dance-pop record, full of trappings of the time, and includes one absolute all-timer in the floor-filler “Spanish Eddie.”