Dot writes: I suspect that my pace of new listening is going to slow somewhat as I get sucked into the maelstrom of the teaching term, but here’s a little post on the three new albums I’ve been exploring over the past two weeks. Two of them I bought and the third one I was given. The third is much the obscurest and also, now they’ve all had time to grow on me, also the most interesting.
1. London Grammar, If You Wait
This was instantly appealing – lovely vocals, moody keyboards, and I really like the minimalist guitar style. I found a write-up in the Guardian that was a bit sniffy about how non-gritty they are (I’ve just searched for it and I can’t find it, but I don’t think I made it up), but not everyone has to be The Clash. They have got very popular very quickly and it’s easy to tell why.
2. Karnivool, Asymmetry
Oddly, I came to London Grammar through this utterly different band, Karnivool, because Karnivool did a cover of Hey Now for the Australian radio station Triple J and I saw it on YouTube and liked it. And I was investigating Karnivool because of another cover, their version of Gotye’s The Only Way (it works amazingly well as a hard rock song). Clearly they have a great taste in cover versions, but it has taken me a little time to attune to their original material as they’re much heavier than anything I have been into for a while, and also they give their songs portentous titles like Nachash and Eidolon. However, this song, We Are, is a real ear worm; and the video is magnificently creepy.
3. Zammuto, Anchor
So, I was aware of this before I was given it, but I wasn’t quite sure I was going to like it. I did find this clip extremely engaging as – hooray! – it has a trebuchet; indeed, it could hardly be further from your rubbish generic pop video.
However, at first I responded to the clip more than to the song. But the song has a disconcerting, ebullient quality that really does grow on you, and the album as a whole is full of complex textures and ideas. It’s a little spiky, but it’s not without melody and sweetness, and there’s lots to explore. The creative methods behind it are extremely original, as illustrated in this documentary. (We also note that Nick Zammuto grows amazing carrots, or rather his wife does – ours were riddled with carrot fly, alas… and he built the trebuchet himself, too. What a genius.)