Sunday, 10 March 2013

album reviews: kid canaveral, scott and charlene's wedding, conquering animal sound

                                                     Kid Canaveral – Now You Are a Dancer

Kid Canaveral - Now That You Are A Dancer (****)
With Now That You Are a Dancer, Kid Canaveral make the whole ‘difficult second album’ to-do look terribly passé, offering a textbook example of how to build on past successes without diluting them. The finer qualities of assured debut Shouting at Wildlife are nimbly carried over, with the band’s abundant charm and indie-pop antics as appealing as ever.

There’s nary a slither of sophomore slump to clutter proceedings, as tracks like buoyant opener The Wrench and the propellant pace of Breaking Up is the New Getting Married re-establish a personable palette of dynamic guitar lines and crisp wit. But, importantly, inspirations haven’t stood still for the quartet, and there are newfound tweaks to testify to their musical development. From the synth clinch of Skeletons to A Compromise’s cacophonous finale, Kid Canaveral have matured their sound whilst retaining their trademark spryness, confidently extending themselves and thereby hinting at further, yet-untapped promise.

Out now

                                                   Scott & Charlene's Wedding – Two Weeks EP

Scott & Charlene's Wedding - Two Weeks EP (****)

The nuptials between Erinsborough’s number one sweethearts isn’t the crispest of pop culture references, but it befits a project with its head in the past. Craig Dermody’s slacker rock sound first took shape on debut Para Vista Social Club, and this follow-up EP sticks closely to its predecessor’s scuffed blueprint, both in terms of lyrics (biographical) and pedal settings (fuzzy).

This continuity gives Two Weeks the air of a welcome dispatch from a faraway friend (albeit one prone to oversharing in the case of comically nauseating highpoint Gammy Leg), but while full of echoes, this is no pale re-tread. On the contrary, the melodies are sharper and the impact more pronounced, with Dermody’s charmingly unruffled mien conveying ever-increasing appeal.
Out 11th March

                                                     Conquering Animal Sound – On Floating Bodies

Conquering Animal Sound - On Floating Bodies (****)

Entropy and hydrostatics aren’t your average lyrical fodder, but Conquering Animal Sound (aka Anneke Kampman and James Scott) aren’t your average musicians. Their breadth of inspiration – not only scientific and intellectual, but in terms of musical tone and texture – is truly impressive, their sound a glittering, brittle synthesis of agitated machine music and celestial lullabies.

The duo’s second album recalls many of the same touchstones as debut Kammerspeil (Warn Me’s thematic echoes of Hyperballad, for instance, reinstate the Bjork comparisons), but the results feel more assertively individual than before, cultivating a distinctive atmosphere at once warm and disquieting.

From the ominous aura of Ultimate Heat Death of the Universe (as boldly impressive as its end-of-existence title would indicate) to the dark magic of Treehouse, the restrained pulse of A Noise Remains to the future-R&B of tracks like No Dream, On Floating Bodies proves an intoxicatingly unorthodox pop record bursting with ambition.

Out 18th March

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