Wednesday, May 04, 2011

This Week's Music: Screeching Weasel, Pains of Being Pure in Heart, Explosions in the Sky

Screeching Weasel
First World Manifesto

After a 10-year hiatus, Ben Weasel and his band are out to prove they are just as punk as they were when they formed the band in 1986. The 43-year-old Weasel still sounds like he’s singing with his nose pinched closed as he spews sarcasm at his punk rock peers, ex-girlfriends, and young poseurs. The tales are tired and cliche, but with all of the three-chord bounce and high harmonies it’s hard to deny their catchiness. A dozen records into the catalog, “First World Manifesto” is far essential, but does serve as a reminder of why so many bands have been influenced by Mr. Weasel over the past  25 years.

For fans of: Teenage Bottlerocket, NoFX
Rating: 2.5 of 4
 Check out: Frankengirl

Explosions in the Sky [Manifesto Approved]
Take Care, Take Care, Take Care

In the era of the highly-compressed MP3 single, Explosions in the Sky make absolutely no sense.  The songs are long, winding, and completely void of vocals. The record clocks in at 45 minutes, with just six tracks. Fortunately, the same things that keep the band from fitting in also allow it to stand out. Over six records, the band has mastered the balance between the meandering, slow build (“Be Comfortable, Creature”) and cacophonous climax (“Last Known Surroundings”).  “Take Care, Take Care, Take Care” should only be listened to one way--in its entirety, from start to finish.

For fans of: Letting Up Despite Great Heights, Caspian
Rating: 3.5 of 4 

The Pains of Being Pure in Heart [Manifesto Approved]

The Pains of Being Pure in Heart have found plenty of inspiration in ‘90s shoegaze alterna-rock. So the choice of producer Flood and mixer Alan Moulder (the dudes that made bands like Smashing Pumpkins and Nine Inch Nails famous) makes perfect sense. Their influence is immediately apparent on the album opener, “Belong,” which is bathed in fuzzed-out guitars. The rest of the record, however, is more lighthearted, with hooks front and center and Kip Berman’s vocals always thin and dream-like. Both directions work well for the band, but “Belong” may have been even more interesting had the band explored more of a balance between the mega-fuzzy and the ultra-light.

For fans of: Temper Trap, the xx
Rating: 3.5 of 4 
Check out:  Belong

1 comment:

Cheeseboy said...

Thanks! I'd love to get that Pains of Being...