Wednesday, 25 May 2011

reviews: jacob yates and the pearly gates lock pickers, destroyer, chad vangaalen

Jacob Yates & the Pearly Gate Lock Pickers – Luck

Jacob Yates and the Pearly Gates Lock Pickers - Luck (****)

This might be Jacob Yates & the Pearly Gate Lock Pickers’ debut full-length, but they’ve got hefty boots to fill, what with Uncle John & Whitelock missed to the tune of an ‘18th best Scottish album of the last decade’ accolade in these very pages. Said boots would, we imagine, be black with a bit of a heel and, if the theatrical extravagance can be excused, perhaps a spur clinking at the back, so as to reflect Luck’s DNA: a bit rock n roll, a bit rockabilly, pretty dark but with a mischievous grin.

Grinderman are sometime aural soulmates, with Yates growling like a Weegie Cave on album centre-piece Mary Hell’s haunted strut, but it’s the closing When You Left Me’s tale of bereavement that will floor those expecting an uncomplicated good time. Yet amidst the finale's mourning, there’s room for some jet-black humour – a balancing act few manage so adroitly.

Out 20th June

Destroyer - Kaputt

Destroyer - Kaputt (****)

It would be easy to dismiss Kaputt as all surface, no feeling on first listen. Dan Bejar’s tenth album as Destroyer appropriates a side of eighties’ pop yet to be regurgitated in today’s nostalgia-heavy charts – for good reason, grumps might grumble: a sax and synth, fretless bass, lounge-funk plastic soul that makes good on promises of Avalon-era Roxy Music and Sade influences.

Consequently, listeners might initially slide between its smooth grooves into a pit of cheese – but steady yourself, because Kaputt deserves perseverance. Bejar’s celebrated rapier phrasing is present and correct, studding the album’s exterior polish with wit and grit (“you terrify the land/ you are pestle and mortar” is one heck of an opening couplet). But finale Bay of Pigs is the towering highlight, as impressive in its (slightly) truncated form as in its previous, lengthier guise; a disco-opus that underscores the songwriting power that Bejar is steadily becoming.

Out 13th June

Chad VanGaalen - Diaper Island

Chad VanGaalen - Diaper Island (****)

Released last year, Women’s second album garnered almost as many plaudits for producer Chad VanGaalen – who cultivated an unsettling atmosphere pregnant with reverb and distortion – as it did for the band itself. Diaper Island marks VanGaalen’s first solo material since 2008, and the results are stylistically congruous with Public Strain, though less uncompromising.

That’s not to paint this the less interesting work; rather, VanGaalen confidently applies Public Strain’s techniques in a less challenging, but ultimately more gratifying, context. The yearning romanticism of preview track Sara isn’t a red herring as such – Heavy Stones’ strung-out country jam complements it nicely – but elsewhere, VanGaalen casually subverts expectations with deliberate ugliness, whether undercutting Can You Believe It? with noisy discordance, or closing with the confrontationally-titled Shave My Pussy, which contains not crudity but a piteous sadness. The end result is beguiling, and destined to grow in stature with every listen.

Out 13th June

No comments:

Post a Comment