If there is a lesson that, in his own way, Neil Hannon has taken care to teach us over more than three decades of making music, it is probably the simplest and most visible one: the elixir of long life consists in remaining on foot equal to outside of temporal logics, of the fashions of fashions, of the effort to remain current when instead, simply, you can wear the jacket of a perennial classicism. At best, here, you can change the shape: you can pretend to be Napoleon for an entire tour, just for the sake of doing, inaugurating an impromptu imperialist phase in itself that follows an album, "Foreverland", which more out from time you can't. Then, with an invisible blow of the sponge, you can pretend to find yourself in the quirks of any office, with its tics, gossip, dislikes, logics that are created with or without a reason, precisely. The world of work as a privileged stage for the study of human nature. "Office Politics" is perhaps not a true concept, but allows Hannon to do what he likes most: to wear a completely new mask and try to try his hand at the small-big theater of human nature, extricating himself in a forest of strengths and weaknesses to highlight and mock. To do this, he gets help from the machines: in the thirteenth work in the studio of the Northern Irish artist, his words, "there are synths and songs on synths". In fact, the synthetic component has never been so present in the plots of the Divine Comedy, as well as the reflection on the role and use of the machines, not by chance defined as "infernal" in the homonymous song. If, however, "Foreverland" was a sheltered shelter within the confines of a fiercely twentieth-century and decadent classicism, "Office Politics" is by Dante's law of retaliation the most avant-garde answer ever given by Neil Hannon to the world out there, and even before himself same. The extemporaneous rap of "Psychological Evaluation" stages a dialogue between man and artificial intelligence. "The Synthesiser Service Center Super Summer Sale" stands halfway up the line as the outpost of a new, ephemeral policy (precisely) that seems to want to look to the future through the lenses of an eighties past. And what about the pseudo-industrial march of "Infernal Machines", that sort of three-dimensional nightmare that seems to want to swallow the listener in his gears? And finally, how to welcome the oriental chimes that follow the vocalizations and then the choruses of "Philip And Steve's Furniture Removal Company"? These are operations that only Hannon could succeed, for the simple reason that only he could come to mind. But this does not necessarily mean that the outcome is always up to the almost unlimited credit that Ours has enjoyed for a long time now. And in fact, bragging brand new aside, and certainly not mysteriously, "Office Politics" convinces where the good Neil stops hanging around alien territories to return to being the primactor in the most congenial spotlight. "Norman And Norma" is a new pop classic from the Northern Irish forge that tells the story of a perfect middle class couple now over the years and fully happy with the normality received as a gift. Conversely, the cheeky pop of "Queuejumper" does not manage to conquer completely, while inviting to jump on the rubble of a humanity that has stopped scrupling. For "You'll Never Work In This Town Again" the tails are dusted off in a melting pot of small orchestrations that wink at a swing just mentioned. Even more "classic" is the reflection on the value of each of "Absolutely Obsolete", in turn endowed with precise orchestrations in a game of mirrors between ridicule and seriousness. "The Life And Soul Of The Party" rekindles the desire to party, but without overdoing it, because demeanor is another unshakeable dogma of this calculated madness. The slot dedicated to ballatona is occupied by "A Feather In Your Cap", again immersed in synthesizers and eighties atmospheres, but honestly little stuff compared to any other epigone of the past. And then there is the minute and precious lyricism of "I'm A Stranger Here", imbued with that démodé existentialism that Hannon has been able to raise to art. The truth is that "Office Politics" is a complex album, particularly long (sixteen tracks, one hour in all) and perhaps less immediate than the processors. A work that alternates ups and downs, and as far as we are concerned, less accomplished as a whole than the two chapters that had characterized the Ten years in the Divine Comedy house: "Bang Goes The Knighthood" and "Foreverland". But it is also the most out of the box, and it was not easy, considering the tenor of the predecessors. But, as Hannon reiterates, "I try to make normal albums, but I always seem to be going to strange territories".
Renovation. This is certainly the word at the center of the Ride's record return. It was clear already in 2017, when "Weather Diaries" (the first post-reunion record release of Bell, Gardener, Queralt and Colbert) proved far from the shoegaze of "Nowhere" and "Going Blank Again", instead marrying less saturated atmospheres of noise and more properly neo-psychedelic. The distance from sounds that made the fortune of the Oxford formation at the beginning of the nineties widened further the following year, with an Ep, "Tomorrow's Shore", which, taking advantage of the experience in electronic music of the producer Erol Alkan, introduced consistent doses of synthesizers in the sound. The thing must have surprised, however, only occasional connoisseurs of the quartet, which is not at all new to rejuvenation attempts, more ("Carnival Of Light") or less ("Tarantula") successful. Even if all this is admitted, it is still difficult not to be surprised in front of the amount of suggestions and influences put into play in this new full length, which make it a definitely fascinating and multifaceted, but also discontinuous and episodic work, showing the Ride not always at one's comfortable with the subjects at stake. The clogged electronics of "R.I.D.E.", which grants itself to shoegaze reminiscences only in the plaintive sung parts, actually opens a pinwheel of which it is difficult, if not impossible, to find a logic. Then follow "Future Love", the concession to the past jingle-jangle of "Twisterella" and "Repetition", dilated neo-psych adaptation of the cyber-punk of Primal Scream. The tense "Kill Switch" is a bad as inspired shoegaze hit; the fringes of fuzz that section "Fifteen Minutes", yet another rhythmic marvel of Queralt and Loz, are also very thunderous. The more atmospheric side of the Ride finds its outlet in the folk ballad "Dial Up", liquid and placid, barely streaked by vintage electronic interferences reminiscent of the old ISDN connections; while the introduction of the long "In This Room" even recalls certain mechanisms of the Notwists. "Clouds Of Saint Marie" and "Eternal Recurrence" constitute a full-bodied central block faithful to the spirit of "Weather Diaries". The first of the two is a very successful song, thanks above all to a decidedly catchy chorus, while the second is a weak attempt at stadium rock, a problem that also affects "Jump Jet". The beautiful "End Game", which culminates in a piercing tremolo guitar ending, is finally a juicy saucer for diehard fans of the shoegaze phase. In short, everything can be attributed to the Ride except cowardice or inability to look around. "This Is Not A Safe Place" is yet another testimony of this attitude, as well as the confirmation that their coming back was not dictated by the possibility of monetizing the return to vogue of a genre that was helped to found, but from the need of the four music ideas, perhaps not always worthy, but brand new.
A great book with a choice of five different large covers. Make your choice on the one you want. The Ska, Rock & Mod revival of the late 70s to early 80s brought life and laughter into a politically gloomy UK music scene. Journalist Garry Bushell was at the forefront, worked for Sounds and Dance Craze magazine, and was present to attend all critical events. More than forty years have passed since Jam has inspired a new generation with their album All Mod Cons - released in the final months of 1978. But the Mod revival was much more than a simple phenomenon inspired by the arrival of the film version of Quadrophenia of the Who. A succession of bands including The Purple Hearts, The Jolt, The Chords and Secret Affair, among many who were born at the time and who added a lot of "sound content" to Weller's already powerful songs and great melodies. It was a movement that had been growing organically for more than a year and was a fitting response to the increasingly gloomy post-punk scene with hits such as: 'David Watts',' The Modern World ',' Down in the Tube Station at Midnight ',' Eton Rifles', 'That's entertainement', 'Going Underground' ... This is the story written in a fun, informative and affectionate way by Garry Bushell of the rise and influence of the revival mod. In it, it describes all the main bands and most of the smaller ones. It is the story of those times through the dispatches that he sent from the front line and put on all the musical newspapers of the time.
BRIGHTON 64 return to the label with the fourth album of their second and prolific musical stage through the 2010 reunion. After the intense tour de force that represented the concept album: El tren de la bruja (2017), the veteran band from Barcelona now launches: Como Debe Ser, a handful of denunciation and anger at the precarious situation of freedom in Spain and a devastating criticism and hypocrisy that invades us from all fronts. The law of the strongest in "La cara infame del poder" and "Miedo me das", death and indifference in "Playas del mediterraneo", justice of many or say piloted in the Spanish judiciary in "Juez y parte", annihilation of the freedom of expression in "Este es un pais libre", the legacy of exile and civil war in "Avui he tornat casa", the manipulation of the media in "Gato por Liebre", and a desperate call for political action in " El estado de la nacion "or" La flor que sustainia en la mano ". A gloomy panoramic view of which the band left only for the three minutes of the self-deprecating song "La balada de los perfidos hermanos Gil". 11 direct and unceremonious songs, 11 stabs of political rock and frenetic power-pop co-produced with Paco Loco, whose savoir faire have given a new boost to the band's repertoire. A record relevant to the times that haunt us (especially in Spain). Without a doubt, the most relevant and political BRIGHTON 64 album.