Average User Score: 8.6Aug 7, 2012There's just something about a British voice as it tries to hurdle over its usually harsh to the ear dialect and vocal patterns to sing soul music. It's like an ugly, rough caterpillar that magically and majestically smooths itself out into a beautiful new creature full of depth and texture. Time and time again we have experienced this: Amy Winehouse, Adele. A now there's a new kid on the block, Lianne La Havas. This British born, half Greek, half Jamaican, songstress/instrumentalist is here to solidify her spot on that list with her debut album Is Your Love Big Enough? (***Takes a look down***) I hope she literally means Love.,***gulp. Upon the intro "Dont Wake Me Up" your ears will be bombarded with a sweet angelic voice with matching organized harmonies individually gleaming like nearby suns in a sonic, micro galaxy. A mixture of fairy-esque written folksy lyrics reminiscent of Corrine Bailey-Rae and strong serenades that haven't been fully experienced since Lauren Hill's departure into seclusion clash in one young (she's only 22) yet mature voice. Her voice alone makes me yearn for a live demonstration at the nearest BusBoy's and Poets or other local lounge-like swanky fingersnapping establishment that welcomes eclectic kindred souls and happenin' hipsters. Songs range from little ditty's of only acoustic guitar with forthright lyrics such as on "AGE", to fully produced and complex songs like "Everything Everything". Don't forget the standard piano ballad "Gone" to fully showcase those grandiose writing skills and full range of vocal skills. Personally, the seemingly standout song other than the album titled single is "Forget" which has so many different musical elements to top off the energy level it expels in its screamed chorus and triphopped electronic tools that accentuate the beat. But if you really want to vibe out to smooth jazzyness then "They Could Be Wrong" or "Au Cinema" are the ones to rock out to, probably in your car or at home on the big speakers. Lianne La Havas debut album is one hell of a well crafted, expertly devised slice of heaven. Theres a song for almost every emotion, however as a male I dont know that many. And yeah, I must say this is probably not one for the fellas. Well, not for the close-minded fellas anyway. Their Love probably isn't Big Enough to handle it anyway. I know mine is.
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Average User Score: 7.9Jul 25, 2012Okay so technically this is an album but really its just a bunch of collabos that were put together while touring. As recently reported The Flaming Lips have set the Guinness World Record for more performances within a 24 hour period beating Jay-Z's 7 performance record. Also, as you may have seen on the internet as well as on our blog, there has been a video "accidentally released" which features Erykah Badu and her sister nude to go alongside a collab they did. Thats a lot of publicity and noise around an album that sounds like its an old remixed and remastered PinkFloyd Album. In terms of long exaggerated orchestration, dramatic key and time changes, and complex structures. Which aren't terrible elements to have. Dont get me wrong, Im down with the whole psychedelic alternative sound, its just that its not a something that can be listened to everywhere or all the time. Now, the album opens up with a track feat. Ke$ha and BizMarkie and Hour of the Time Majesty 12 called "2012[You Must Be Upgraded]". It Aint half bad. The vocal arrangement of it is interesting as it reminds me of an electronic synth-ed Funkadelic song that transforms into an airy ending scene to some cerebral indie film. Speaking of airy cosmic soundscapes, the intro is followed by a gloomy layered track called "Ashes in the Air" Feat. Bon Iver. Its also not terrible but perhaps a little overzealously reverbed. I personally prefer my psychedelic rock to be a little more jammy with strong drum and distorted guitar that strikes like lightning and a deep consistent bassline to make me rock and vibe out. Luckily they recruited my mans Jim James the lead singer/guitarist from My Morning Jacket for a song called "That Aint My Trip" which ironically is my kinda trip. Wish I had a blunt right now for that one. Its also followed by an almost as good song called "You, Man?Human?: feat. Nick Cave. Then the rest of the album jumps into experimental blahzayhood of soundeffects and clickclacks or better yet organized noise passed off as music. So yeah, musically its pretty cool in a "Hey how did they formulate and mix this song that way..." kind of way. It is definitely not an album that you put on your cell phone, ipod, tablet what have you. In fact you will probably only hear this album the next time you get invited to a modern art event sipping dry wines and eating cheeses courtesy of some uppity late 30's hipster.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.9Jul 25, 2012I have been waiting for new music from Passion Pit for what seems now like decades. Well, not exactly its only been three years. But memories of sitting on a carpeted floor, half-passed out in some either drug or alcohol induced trance at a friends house during my junior year of college seem too far gone.However, I can still feel the lollapalooza of emotion rush over my body with excitement and shear happiness upon my ears first introduction to the song Sleepy Head. As the high pitched sample in the background laid a base of enchantment accompanied by lead singer Michael Angelakos equally ear shattering high pitched voice I would automatically thrash my head around. A smooth mix of gleaming bells, a strong kick of drum. and more synth than you can shake a stick at (whatever that means) to boot. Ahhhhhhhh, memories. Before it was used in like a thousand commercials. The new album, Gossamer, carries on the high level of synth induced uplifted-ness and wonderment. However, there might not be a song on it that reaches the extreme peak of SleepyHead, though many of the tracks come dangerously close. The one that comes the closest is Mirrored Sea which feels like your stuck inside a vintage Japanese video game, trapped in a fast paced,triangular rocketship blasting through a 16 bit universe. Or like playing that ninja game in SCOTT PILGRIM running in place in ninjastance en route to fight evil forces. Not to say Mirrored Sea is necessarily the standout song of the album as this poppy hit riddled 12 track album is full of musical aptitude. My favorite is Constant Conversations which might as well be categorized as R&B will its mellow groove, possible moog created baseline, pizzicato strings, electronic creamy rhodes, and a few accenting piano keys drifting downward to emphasize the romantic beauty-scape. However, the lyrics sound like more of a doubting in the realness of the words being said to and from those in relationships, he might even be drunk in the first verse. Actually, if you listen closely for an indie/synthpop album the topics and overall feel of the lyrics of this album are against the pop grain. While happy, upbeat notes are struck strategically in the background, in the foreground Angelakos is dealing mostly with pain, struggle, fears, anxiety of losing control, and the true meaning of love which is greed. The latter is actually the name of a song called, of course, Love is Greed. "If we really love ourselves/ how can you love somebody else," Angelakos sings to depict the selfishness in wanting to have ownership over another person. My ears are happy again especially since MGMT's second album Congratulations was a bit of a let down. And not to mention its been 8 years since Empire of the Sun's Walking on a Dream was released. I would definitely say that Gossamer is a positive progression on Passion Pit's behalf and I'm proud to see them grow with out loosing their touch. Second albums are such critical moments in a bands career as high expectations can cause crippling results in direction of music as well as reception. Luckily, Passion Pit has passed the test. If anything the title GOSSAMER makes a mockery of such an opposed, strong album.… Expand