The Record Lounge: Reviews 03/25/11 – The Strokes, Soundgarden, Duran Duran and More
Here are some new release reviews I didn’t get posted last week, and one from earlier this year I had actually lost and just located.
The Strokes – Angles
The latest from New York’s “hippest” acts returns from an over 5 year hiatus with the very aptly titled Angles. The Strokes resemble Boston’s The Cars more than The Cars do in 2011. With a sharp, angular approach coupled with 80’s production values and style, The Strokes harkens back to 1982, a time when New Wave sensibilities ruled the charts, and warmth was discarded for a colder, harsher sound. Not exactly what one expects from the band credited with reinvigorating garage rock in 2001. Regardless, Angles is a fairly solid album and it’s nice to have The Strokes back on the radar for a bit.
Soundgarden – Live On I-5
Soundgarden was one of my favorite bands in the early 90’s. The albums 1989’s Louder Than Love and 1991’s Badmotorfinger were permanent staples in my car during this time. I was a bit lost by 1994’s Superunknown, honestly; I never, ever need to hear “Black Hole Sun” again, ever (although I did revisit the record a few months ago and it was more enjoyable than I remembered). This week, Soundgarden released their first ever official live recording, Live on I-5. Chronicling their 1996 run on the West Coast, this live recording proves they were an okay live act, with Chris Cornell’s wildly inconsistent vocals driving this point home. This recording shows the strength of the band, yet the weakness of Cornell live.
Drawing mainly from Badmotorfinger, Superunknown, and 1996’s Down On The Upside, not a single selection from Louder Than Love or 1998’s Ultramega OK are present, although they reached back to 1987’s Screaming Life EP for “Nothing To Say”. Included are a couple of covers, The Beatles “Helter Skelter” and The Stooges classic “Search And Destroy”, which might be the only reasons to pick up this release.
Honestly, I would recommend this only for die-hards and collectors only.
Duran Duran – All You Need Is Now
The original New Romantics reach all the way back to their earliest roots on this Mark Ronson collaborative effort. Recalling Duran Duran’s self-titled 1981 debut, Nick Rhodes’ throbbing synthesizers take the main stage alongside John Taylor’s extraordinary funk-bass groove. At an ambitious 15 tracks, the journey to the past gets a little long-winded in parts, but is overall an enjoyable time travel back to the innocence of the earliest 80’s.
Gang of Four – Content
The first album of all new material since 1995’s Shrinkwrapped, Gang of Four’s seventh album, Content contains the much of the same angular jerky vibe first found on their 1979 debut Entertainment!. Jon King and Andy Gill lead the latest lineup through 10 new songs sure to please any fan on any level, if only to have new music from these late 70’s early post-punk trailblazers.