Phew, thank goodness Royal Blood have come to save rock music, it was getting pretty nervous back there for a minute wasn’t it? If this album really is the ‘saviour of rock’ then it seems that rock was saved by H&M wanting to soundtrack their winter collection but not being able to secure the rights to the White Stripes’ music. The ‘Royal Blood’ album is sprinkled liberally with great riffs, but the Brighton band fail to really sell the music past them being some of the best Guitar Hero players on the south coast. They obviously got effects pedals last Christmas and were dying to show them off.
74 Simone Felice: Strangers
Ah shit, I really can’t think of what to write for this, maybe the year’s most difficult record to transcribe some sort of opinion on. Just close your eyes and picture a ‘singer-songwriter’. Got it? Ok, now imagine the music that singer-songwriter would make. Yep, that’s Simone Felice. The ocasional brilliance is enough to win over the general boredom that hangs over the record.
73 Thom Yorke: Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes
Music’s least phonetically spelled musician (apart from Paughl Smyfth of course, the drummer with Northern Uproar) returns with an album I think was released by being fired out of a t-shirt cannon at a Seattle Sounders game or some shit, I don’t know. Yorke is still capable of crafting some amazing sounds, but ‘Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes’ pales next to even his debut solo LP and last year’s patchy Atoms of Peace release. There’s nothing to really grasp on to here and it sounds worryingly like an artist stuck in a rut and appropriately enough resembles Radiohead throw-outs. The song titles too- A Brain In a Bottle, There Is No Ice (For My Drink)– suggest a man dangerously close to sliding into self-parody. With this out of his system, the optimist would hope it suggests a clean slate for the next Radiohead album.
72 Prince: Art Official Age
After all the hype and playing 7’865 shows to 50 people at the Wapping Community Centre, even releasing a song to Youtube for goodness/Purpleness sake, Prince’s first solo album after his resurgence falls worryingly and disappointingly back on the worst excesses of his lowest 90s ebb- wet r’n’b and soul ballads that treat R Kelly rather than James Brown or Jimi Hendrix or just never before heard weirdness as the ideal destination. However, seemingly out of nowhere the end of the album is bookended by the Affirmation I, II & Affirmation III suites and suddenly turns into something excellent– Way Back Home especially deserves at least a table by the toilets as one of Prince’s best. Rescued at the end and promising much for other releases…
71 Fenster: The Pink Caves
Occasionally challenging, as it it occasionally challenges you not to keel over and die of boredom as it releases another dirge into the atmosphere like a slow and stinky quiet fart gusted onto the wind. I feel I may have started this a little more negative than I had intended: ‘The Pink Caves’ is frequently great and possesses a detached etheral quality that is often bewitching. Basically, if I told you Fenster were German you could probably picture a highly stereotypical and offensive yet completely accurate representation of the kind of cool minimalism on show here.