Lost in a Moment
(Six Degrees Records)
Lost in a Moment is a fitting title for the debut album from British singer/songwriter Nina Miranda and producer Dennis Wheatley, as you certainly feel like you’re being taken far, far away, where nothing and no one else matters except the music you hear. With soothing feminine vocals sung in various languages, organic samples taken from everyday life and transformed into mysterious and magical sounds, Shrift presents a record that is calm, relaxing, and suited to those who love ambient, slow-paced electronic music. At times exotic, at times familiar, the album succeeds at keeping you in a very mellow state of mind, and only once brings you out of this trance on the more upbeat “On the Floor.” Definitely for fans of genre, or else you might find yourself being lulled to sleep to the sounds of the record. Then again, who’s to say this isn’t what Shrift intended in the first place?
-Stephanie Ng Wan
Dancing with Daggers
(Paper Bag Records)
The Canadian all-female trio Magneta Lane present Dancing With Daggers as their first full-length CD. With only ten songs, the album clocks in at less than 30 minutes of indie rock, made especially distinct by Lexi Valentine’s unique voice. But her voice isn’t one that would necessarily have mass appeal, and can be rather hard on the ears at times. The fact that most tracks are fun and quite danceable does make up for some of this, but with no song over three-and -a-half minutes, Dancing With Daggers leaves you feeling like you’ve only had a taste of what these women can do. What this album seems to lack is sincerity: any attempt at expressing emotion feels distance and/or forced. While all the ingredients are there; passionate lyrics, original vocals, and musical talent, Magneta Lane just need to work on getting the right recipe to pull it all off with more authenticity.
-Stephanie Ng Wan
Never Trust A Hippy
(Fat Wreck Chords)
NOFX’s teaser for their upcoming release Wolves in Wolves’ Clothing, is just that: a teaser. After listening to the six-song EP, listeners are left wanting more. Never Trust A Hippy include the band’s signature harmonies, catchy riffs and genius bass lines. Their lyrics are tongue-in cheek and totally relatable proving that although the band isn’t getting younger, they’re still as “au courant” as ever mentioning “podcasts” and “ebay” in their songs. Their first single, “Seeing Double At The Triple Rock,” is sure to be a hit and the acoustic jewel, “You’re Wrong,” showcases the band’s more serious side. NOFX created their own sound early on in their career, and rightfully so have stuck with it. They’ve never really stepped out of their box, but have just worked on making it stronger. This EP is a breath of fresh air in a scene that so desperately needs it. The band never ceases to impress.
For Blood And Empire
For Blood And Empire is the major label debut for the Pennsylvania quartet, Anti-Flag. Unfortunately ,more money doesn’t necessarily equate to a better record. Though the package has improved, the content is somewhat redundant. The 13 songs presented on For Blood And Empire are a continuation of their two previous albums with a few modifications providing some much needed variety. The mixing on this record correctly emphasizes the band’s intricate bass lines. Justin Sane and Chris #2’s vocals are better harmonized and sound cleaner. Overall, similar songs but in a better package.
The thing about Anti-Flag is that you have to be in the right mood to really appreciate the record. You have to want to be preached to and willing to hear songs that blatantly discuss politics. The record definitely won’t please all.
Live Free or Die Tryin’
Second Face is yet another French-speaking band staking a claim at stardom with a rock album. But do they really stand out? Well, quite frankly, no.
Tackling every teenager’s favourite topics, such as break-ups, parental alienation, and a burning desire to become someone unique, with mind-numbing guitar riffs, fails to leave any kind of impression, let alone a lasting one.
With most of their songs sounding painstakingly similar, a quick listen to this album will have anyone’s head spinning, not banging.
One of their songs is even titled “N.K.O.T.B.” Yes, your pop culture is still accurate; they are blatantly referring to pop phenomenon The New Kids On The Block. This reference seems logical when you consider that, in a few years from now, their career will fall into oblivion, following the same track as the band they seem to admire so much.
Bullet for my Valentine
The Poison starts off with a nice, sweet intro with cellos. It then proceeds into the usual screaming/ singing vocal style that bands of this nature are usually made fun of for. But they ARE good vocals. Nice arrangements and the odd cellos here and there do give it taste. Bullet for my Valentine is nothing new, although they are good at what they do. If you are a fan of the Used or other various “screamo” bands, this CD is a must for you. If you like to make fun of everyone that enjoys “screamo” bands, you will enjoy the fact that their CDs now come with assorted band trivia trading cards, Dungeon and Dragon style.