Pet Shop Boys have managed to return to great form with Electric, their first album with a new label. This 80s Synthpop/Electric Pop duo has flashes of former greatness that permeate this record, making it a very solid and enjoyable one. The catchy rhythms, the simple lyrics and the layered melodies all combine to form a very typical PSB sound.
Here is another Indie Rock album by Surfer Blood, a band that has a cool name but lacks a bit in focus. If only they were able to focus their sound like The Beach Boys did–or some other band that had a name that evoked something specific–and stuck to it! My guess is that they are trying to become popular by putting out songs that will appeal to the mainstream. But the music scene is already too crowded… if you want to be good at something, find your niche and stick with it.
This new album by Sara Bareilles is more Pop than her previous works, except for a couple of songs–arguably the best on this record. Sara sounds best when she is accompanied by the piano and is not trying to immitate second-rate radio stars. The food turned out to be better than the music this time around: I enjoyed lunch from Lotsa Noodles in my car, and I managed to do so without making a mess!
So, the day after reviewing Frequency Unknown (Queensrÿche with Geoff Tate), I listened to Queensrÿche, the album released by the rest of the band with a new lead vocalist (Todd La Torre). What a difference! This is a well-produced and polished album that features the strengths of the band without trying to over do it. The new frontman even sounds like Tate from a few years ago, and has clearly re-energized the band. I still don’t think this is a superior album, but it is much better than the one led by Tate. Most of the record is Hard Rock, but there are moments of Symphonic and Progressive Metal as well.
I was expecting a new Queensrÿche album in 2013. But to my surprise there were two new releases! So I did some digging and found out that the band has split up. The original lead singer (Geoff Tate) was kicked out of the band, but formed a new band and called it–you guessed it–Queensrÿche! The remaining band members found a new vocalist and released their own album titled–you guessed it–Queensrÿche! So now there are two bands with the same name and they are battling this in court. I will review both albums, the first of which was listened to today. Frequency Unknown, released by Queensrÿche with Geoff Tate (the original vocalist), is a mediocre album that lacks cohesion and seems to suffer from a very bad mixing. Even the re-recordings of the band’s classics sound terrible… one would think that after so many years of perfecting those songs, that they would sound much better than they do. So, one down and one to go; and so far, things are not looking good.
Natalie Maines’ debut as a solo artist is so much better than her work with the Dixie Chicks that it makes me wonder whether she should return to the band at all. This is a very mature sound that clearly shows that Natalie is what keeps the Dixie Chicks going. It is hard to classify this record, but it falls somewhere between Country, Folk and Rock. This work features nice guitar work, excellent use of mid-song pauses and good vocals, so you’ll likely enjoy this album quite a bit if you’re a Dixie Chicks fan–or think it’s a good, solid album if you’re not (my case).