The Hang of Music: More Research Than Ever Before

Review #13…

Unlucky thirteen be damned, I’ve been doing this for a quarter of a year.* Just think – a quarter of a year. That’s fucking ages.

Well, to celebrate, I’m going to attempt something nigh on fucking impossible. I’m going to review a goddamn compilation album. Now, this may not strike you as being that hard, but imagine you were trying to review a mixtape a friend made for you, comprised entirely of his mates’ bands’ songs. That’s pretty much what this is.

With that being so, you may be wondering why I am doing this. Why am I putting myself through this torment. And honestly, it’s mostly for the challenge. It’s going to be hard, this. I’m going to have to do a fair review of each individual track (no, I won’t) and comment on why the tracks were placed in that order, on the understanding that the tracks were actually placed. Not just assigned random numbers by the god of such things and ordered like that.

But it’s also because of the album itself. The album, called “Young and Research II” was released as a sampler a few months ago by Tough Love Records. Quick history lesson: Tough Love and I used to live in Coventry together, and they used to help pass the dull, dull hours by putting on great gigs at Taylor John’s House. But all things change, and about the same time I celebrated my 18th and moved to Sheffield, they celebrated their 3rd and moved to London. And thus ended a beautiful friendship. But they still have good bands on their hands, and as such I am bound to them, and am going to review this album even if it kills me.

No video above the fold today, just a wall of text.

And for the record, I’ve never heard or seen any of these bands before now. London is so far away.

Before we start, here is a full track list of all the songs, in order.

  1. “Single Printed Name” by CYMBALS
  2. “I Don’t Mind” by Girls Names
  3. “A Month Full of Mondays” by Weird Dreams
  4. “Heartswordsfire” by Lazy Hurricane
  5. “Love’s The Answer, Blame It (Dream Cop Remix)” by Welcome Back Sailors
  6. “Pass the Apple” by Please
  7. “Guess Again” by Charles Hurts
  8. “Ode to Joe” by Sea Pinks
  9. “I Scream” by Kotki Dwa
  10. “No Words” by Childhood
  11. “Flinch (Dam Mantle Remix)” by Conquering Animal Sound
  12. “Floating Teeth” by Simple Eyes
  13. “Strawberry Adore” by Lonely Galaxy

To be quite frank, I may not be able to write something about every song, but I’m going to do my best. So, into the breach…

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“Single Printed Name” already reminds me of “Sheffield/Sex City”, if it had been sung by Foals. I really want to find the lyrics to this song, as the words are very hard to understand, but nonetheless sound interesting. If forced to make a guess, I’d have to say is that it’s about two blokes who have a friendship of convenience. But it could just as easily be about one night stands, so fuck knows. All I know is it’s a pretty nice song.

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I have to say** that I really like the guitar on “A Month Full of Mondays”. The musicianship is damn good, and I find myself air-guitaring along with it. In my professional (well, amateur) opinion, that’s a damn good sign.

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“Heartswordsfire” has a nice reggae-ish feel to it. Maybe a bit townshipy, like Vampire Weekend. Whichever, it sounds really good, and I’m also glad to report that backing vocal solos followed by a drum solo makes for a great outro. Totally unrelated to this song, you know.

This is the truth.

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The first stumbling block has been reached: the remixes. They are offputting. I’d much rather be able to listen to the original songs, rather than someone’s reinterpretation of them. That’s not because the remixes themselves are neccessarily bad in themselves, but because it makes me worry about the quality of the original song. Did they put the remixes on here because the original wasn’t as good? I may go find out at some later point. But ’til then, the actual remixes themselves are not my favourites.

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I say it’s a stumbling block, but the next song, “Pass The Apple”, is awesome. I really really like the bass on it, despite the simplicity. The drums too are surprisingly good, especially when the chorus comes in. To be fair, though, everything in that chorus sounds good.

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“Guess Again” has some great singing on it. It sounds like a reject from half a century ago. In a good way. When is not a good thing, to sound like you’re from the 50s?

Don’t answer that.

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It’s a toss up, but between “Pass The Apple” and “I Scream”, I think I’ve found my favourite track on the album. “I Scream” is a lovely tune, reminding me of seasides and bloody revolutions. Seriously. Listen to the lyrics. I have to take my hat off to Kotki Dwa. I can only recommend you go listen to it.

My favourite kind of scream!

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Some of the tracks on here are too ambient for my tastes, and “Floating Teeth” is a prime example, as is the Flinch Remix. If you like background music, then I’m sure “Floating Teeth” is a pretty good song; but I much prefer songs that have more drive. YMMV, though.

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And finally, the last track, “Strawberry Adore” is particularly haunting, and for that reason well chosen and placed at the end. I have no idea what it means, and until I am better informed must conclude that the lyric “Strawberry Adore” was just picked because it sounded good. But it does sound good, and that’s what matters.

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There. Done. I have completed this, my first Everest. In a few weeks, maybe I’ll have a new Everest to aim for. But until then, I am complete. I’m sorry I couldn’t do writing for every single song, and it’s not because the others are bad. It’s more that these were the songs about which I could think of intelligent things to say.

Sadly, I cannot conclude that this is a good album, because it is not an album so much as a collection of songs. But there’s enough good on this collection to make it worth a listen. Isn’t that enough?

And here’s something wonderful for you. This album, that I just reviewed, is free to download at this link here. If you liked the sound of any of the stuff above, go and download it. Seriously, do. I hate to play the struggling-band card, but I just have.

Thank you for reading this wall of text that’s as long as some essays I’ve written.

TL; DR? Go listen to this album. Even better, go see these bands live.

* My maths is right; I play cards way too often not to know that 52/4 = 13.

** Yes, I am forced to, under union rules. Along with the rules about having to reference other bands when reviewing an album, and about not stabbing Bono in the face.

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Posted on September 8, 2011, in Music, The Hang of Music and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I shall take your TL;DR advice and listen to this album. Also, that raspberry ripple ice-cream is adorable! I want one!

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