“Hoping for a miracle?”
Every year, there seems to be a new band that emerges from the desolation, dreariness and rain of the UK to grab the music scene by its hind legs and leave it in a state of confusion. This year is no different, and primed to bounce off the lips of every reviewer and bandwagoner is the London quartet, the Bloc Party. No relation to Gilles Duceppe and his band of rabble-rousers.
Their first LP hasn’t even dropped on this side of the pond, and quintessential musical cynics are already salivating at the prospect of pronouncing them the next Franz Ferdinand.
Comparisons to Franz or any of the current danceable indie-rockers would be hasty though. Sure enough, these London boys know style, which was cultivated in the dance clubs of England where bands like Primal Scream reigned supreme. The band doesn’t hearken back entirely to those days, yet they manage to exhibit more of those tendencies than Franz Ferdinand.
The band also reflects the multicultural reality of modern London. The lead singer, Kele Okereke, is not only black (a rarity for a rock band) but his vocal stylings are reminiscent of Britpop trailblazer Damon Albarn (the “Song 2” yelping version). Drummer Matt Tong, of Asian origin, along with guitarist Russell Lissack and bassist Gordon Moakes, are far better musicians than Franz, especially on the extended play on “Luno”, the cymbal rattling paranoia of “Helicopter”, or the spatial guitar sounds on “Blue Light”. Silent Alarm, hits stores in March, and will certainly reinforce the notion that writing 3-minute concise rock songs is best left to the Brits.
“We came to get down”
If you haven’t picked up the latest SPIN or New York Times, then you missed the memo – Montreal’s cool. While the Arcade Fire stole our hearts in 2004, Montreal electronic-duo Chromeo intend to melt ours with a series of irresistible synth-licks and vocal-effects that would make Daft Punk blush.
On their new LP, She’s in Control, they turn a song about sheer anger (“Rage!”) into a dancefloor groove that will have you doing the robot faster than you can sasy “white bread.”
Chromeo is camp at its best, but rest assured that “Needy Girl” will replace “Do You Feel Like We Do?” as the greatest use of a talkbox – ever.
“It’s the saddest night out in the U.S.A.”
LCD Soundsystem already had their first big moment in 2002 with the much-ballyhooed single “Losing my Edge”, but much like their dance-punk comrades !!! (Chik Chik Chik), you need to back up that big single with an LP that lives up to the promise.
Their eponymous debut is like splicing your entire CD collection. Only serious music fans would get all the in-jokes and subtle references. When project mastermind James Murphy channels the best of psychedelic slow tempo rock, as he does on “Never As Tired As When I’m Waking Up,” he proves that there’s a difference between copying your influences and paying homage to them.