I DON’T REALLY REVIEW NEW ALBUMS CLOSE TO THEIR RELEASE DA…
Jesus, that was far too loud, I’m sorry. I wanted to compensate for american poetry club’s horrendous lack of capitalisation by making everything capitalised, but it just hurt my head. Can we start this again? Yeah? Yeah? Yeah?
I don’t really review new albums close to their release date. In fact, that word ‘really’ is doing a lot of rather deceitful work in that sentence. I have never previously reviewed a new release on this blog. If an album’s released in June, I’ll usually take at least six months listening to it and mathematically formulating whether or not it deserves to be officially identified as, scientifically, one of the year’s best. Then, at the end of the year when I attempt to list the best albums of the year I might actually review it, but if it’s unlucky enough to be the third or fourth pissing entry I’ve written that day I’ll more likely go off on a tangent about sexual abuse or the futility of war or just flat out say that music journalism is absolute bollocks. It’s the reason I’m the Most Trusted Blog in Music™. Or should that be ‘Most trusted Blog on Music’? Ah well, I’ve trademarked the name now.
This isn’t entirely due to my obsessive need to list and catalogue art rather than simply freaking enjoying it like a normal human being*. I honestly think the best art can only be properly appreciated after it’s had a chance to really settle into your subconscious and burrow into your cerebrum. The best music, like all the best art, truly becomes worthwhile and essential when it becomes part of your life. When it pops into your brain unannounced when you try and decide whether it’s time to replace your toothbrush. When it soundtracks moments like making that boy you like laugh for the first time. When, months after first hearing it, you burst into tears as you first notice that a certain lyric was actually written about your relationship breaking down. It’s nonsense to be asked to rate the true quality of a record after only just being introduced to it. If you asked me if my current girlfriend would make a good wife I’d tell you that it was ridiculously early to say. We’ve been going out for three months: How am I supposed to properly judge an album I heard for the first time this morning?
(*I recognise that this is a serious psychological issue. It probably dates back to my childhood, when each morning would line up me and my two brothers- Johnny and Mizdow– in order in how much she loved us. I would often be ranked fifth, as she insisted that she loved our two cats far more than me. In an attempt to climb the charts, I once stoved both the cats’ heads in with the blunt end of a potato masher, and was actually somehow relegated! Actually, when I see that sentence written down, I probably deserved the demotion. Sorry Mum. And sorry to Myra and Merkin. Do all cats go to heaven?)
If you’d told me when it was released last February that ‘Twin Fantasy (Face to Face)’ would end up being my album of the year, I would have laughed in your face, slapped you with a wet sea bass, and send snarky remarks to all your friends on SnapChat. A rock album made by a white guy with a freaking guitar?! Nah, bro, it’s 2018, I’m way too woke for that shit, yeah? Yet ten months later it was scientifically proven to be the greatest album of the year. It had time to take over my consciousness, it had subtleties that could only be appreciated after months, it had ten months worth of life to soundtrack. The best music needs time to appreciate. I fully realised how amazing Nights by Frank Ocean is about two weeks ago, roughly three years after I first heard it. Only the thirteenth best song of 2016? Give that shit time, yeah? Also, while I’m here, Consideration should have probably been higher… Christ, wasn’t 2016 an amazing year for music??
However, this morning I awoke with a jolt after having that dream where I’m dangling my testicles into a piranha tank again. I drowsily wiped the sleep from my eyes and realised that I’d fallen asleep on the toilet for the third night in a row. It’s a fate often suffered by bachelors- if men are left alone to spend as long on the toilet as we please we often overindulge and the time can easily pass us by. I reached to finish the pizza I’d ordered last night that lay half eaten on the bathroom floor when I noticed I had a notification on my phone. Somebody had sent me a message on Twitter the night before at some ungodly hour.
Five to eleven!! I know these crazy rock stars are up until past midnight sometimes, smoking Woodbines and finishing off whole bottles of Blue Nun, but I had work in the morning! Mind you, he’s in America so they have different times over there, don’t they? Eleven o’clock here in the UK is probably called ‘gasoline’ or ‘zucchini’ or ‘Jared’ o’clock over there, but that’s still no excuse.
The message was from (sigh) jordan c weinstock, who as well as being from that strange part of Missouri that obviously hasn’t discovered the capital letter yet, is the mini genius behind the wonderful band (sigh) american poetry club. I honestly can’t remember how I came across the band, but I thought highly enough of their previous album (the wonderfully titled, if shamefully uncapitalised, ‘we are beautiful even when we’re broken‘) the eightieth best album of last year.
Wait… I wrote more than eighty reviews last year?? No wonder my Tamagotchi died. And my cat died. And my wife left me. Then died.
It… wasn’t a great review. I had already dissected the state of Britain in response to Ital Tek (the sound of Brexit, don’t forget) and debated the future of automation in my Ash Koosha review. When it was time to comment on the lovely little (21 minutes. Albums don’t need to be any longer) record by APC, I was just done, and spewed out a few bits of nonsense about the review I was planning to write.
However, despite the squirted poodle shit of the actual article, Mr weinstock appreciated that I was at least giving his group a bit of exposure, that underneath the typical Alex Palmer shite there was actual appreciation of the album and I obviously did quite like his band. The band’s
second? third? fourth? tenth? latest album isn’t even released until next Wednesday (12th), and I was being given the opportunity to review it before it’s even released! I’m one of the first people to hear this album!! This could be the first review of it!!!
The thing is, I’m terrible at reviewing albums. I might be alright at writing, and I might occasionally pull a few funnies and make an amazing fart joke about 450 words in. But actually telling the reader how good a record is? Pfffffff, absolute nonsense, let’s just go on a weird tangent about ghosts for a thousand words. I’m not good at explaining what it is that makes music good. I can talk about the society surrounding the record’s release, I can talk about the importance of the movie an album’s soundtracking, I can talk about MMF threesomes, I can talk about women I’ve loved, I can talk about suicide… I can talk about the Manics a lot.. But to review something as abstract and beautifully incomprehensible as music? The reason I like writing in list form is that I don’t need to waste time explaining to your poorly developed plebeian brains why Kevin Gates is slightly better that Kaytranada. One’s number 101, the other is 102- you can see that the Kevin Gates record is mathematically better!!
‘a little light of our own’ doesn’t need my pretentious allusions to 19th century Russian novels, nor discussions about what the key change in As Slow And As Vast As Our Love Can Take* tell us about the Latin American Wars of Independence. It just needs a little exposure, a few more introductions, and a waggle of my eyebrows to testify how worthy of 21 minutes (ALBUMS DON’T NEED TO BE ANY LONGER!!) of your time this little gem is.
(*It’s capitalised on Soundcloud! It’s capitalised! Don’t you dare change that!!)
As good as ‘we are beautiful even when we’re broken’ was, ‘a little light of our own’ is a vast improvement in every feasible sense. The sound is smoother, weightier, and the record has the impeccable production you’d expect from rock bands far more… well… rich… Each listen inspires new insights and takes on the record. After one listen I was impressed with how much of a Springsteen influence they’d attempted to incorporate into their sound. The next listen I had no fucking idea where I was getting Springsteen from, but instead mourned the slightly off key screaming background vocals that used to be so integral to their sound had been abandoned. The next listen I heard those backing vocals all over the fucking show, and was it there that I thought was a Springsteen reference…?
Most importantly, of course, are ‘The Feels’. APC are ‘Feels’ masters. They are definitely ‘(Ain’t Nothing Like) The Feel Thing (Baby)’. They should rename the band ‘Feel Big Fish’. Or maybe ‘The Feels’. That was a pun on ‘The Eels’. Yeah, didn’t really work. They ‘Feely Got Me Going’. ‘Feel of Fortune’. OK. I’m done.
weinstock has an astonishing ability to sing like he has no choice in the matter, sounding like- by God!- he really doesn’t want to do this, screaming each line like it’s being painfully tortured out of him. Yet you feel like he has to, it’s a great pain to pull these things out, but he knows that sharing them is a gorgeous release. The album’s opening lines (‘You don’t have to be happy all the time/It’s something that you practice/It’s a mountain that you climb’) melt the listener immediately to a near Hotelier degree. Which, believe me, coming from me, is perhaps as big a compliment as you’re likely to get.
There you go. 111 words of actual review. Happy? Shit, I’ve got to give it, like, a score now, haven’t I?
I give it four eels. For all the feels. Shut up, I’m new to this.
Buy it. It’s not out until Wednesday. Wait until Wednesday. Then buy it. In the meantime just buy all their other stuff. This ‘review’ was nearly 2000 words…