album reviews

    Rinocerose

    Music Kills Me

    V2

    ****

    You can always count on a few things in French house: funky bass lines, jazz influences and disco guitars. Rinocerose’s second release, “”Music Kills Me,”” includes all of that, plus rock ‘n’ roll guitar crunches that can make some tracks sound like something off a Seattle Indie-record label.

    Their first release, “”Installation Sonore,”” added a great twist to the world of French music. The instrumentation was all live, the jazz influences were obvious, and best of all, the music sounded fresh and new. “”Music Kills Me”” follows that pattern, although it is a bit of a departure to some more mainstream sounds — especially with the disco influences.

    The first track, “”Le Rock Summer,”” greets your ears with hard attacks from a distorted guitar before it launches into a disco groove. The album also features some more vocals of a soulful quality that are reminiscent of their French counterpart, Bob Sinclar.

    The wispy flute in “”It’s Time to Go Now!”” is a nod to Rinocerose’s jazz inspirations and is similar to the sounds of St. Germain. Plodding electronic blips push the pace of this layered tune that includes live drums, a wash of Moog-like keyboards and a deep house beat.

    What is prevalent is the dark satire that underlies a relatively sun-soaked sound. Songs like the title track, “”Music Kills Me,”” “”Lost Love,”” “”Dead Flowers,”” “”Dead Can Dance,”” “”Highway to Heaven,”” “”Professuer Suicide”” and “”Resurrection D’une Idole Pop”” reflect this morose theme of death, loss and failed adventures in love, but in almost a tongue-in-cheek fashion.

    Nevertheless, the album is a perfect way to end the winter and enter spring and summer. Rinocerose’s second full-length album will fulfill your tastes for electronic beats, guitars, jazz and a bit of disco.

    “”Music Kills Me”” is a soundtrack for relaxing sunsets and a way to warm up for those crazy summer nights.

    — Joseph Lee

    Hiatus Editor

    Elbow

    Asleep in the Back

    V2

    ***

    The band Elbow lives in a city rich with musical history. Manchester, England has been known for greats such as New Order and The Smiths. However, Elbow does not reflect the attitudes or the sounds of the previous Brit-pop wave, which included Oasis, The Verve and Blur, to name a few.

    Elbow, rather, follows the new generation of Brit-pop artists who look at more somber melodies and lighter atmospherics.

    Their debut album, “”Asleep in the Back,”” follows the path set by Coldplay and Starsailor. But there is a darker tone to Elbow’s style of music; there are more dissonant chords and avant-garde noises that color their tunes a shade of morose blue. “”Asleep in the Back”” runs just over one hour and it makes it difficult to stay put for all of the slow-tempo tunes, but the tracks are individually deep and moving.

    “”Powder Blue”” is simply a gorgeous tune. There are sweeping strings but they avoid being trite by remaining subtle. The tune has beautiful harmonies, mournful wails in the background and a tear-jerking chord progression.

    There aren’t any tracks that will rock your socks off, but the beauty of the sounds is that it is sculpted with soft acoustic guitars and mellow electronics. They almost follow a Radiohead model in some tunes by reducing their use of guitars. Tracks such as “”Presuming Ed (Rest Easy)”” focus more on keyboard work, different percussion instruments and cascading choruses.

    Elbow counts on the soft but strong vocals of Guy Garvey as it sweeps on top of the atmospheric sounds, and drummer Richard Jupp finds the ability to make the drums sound like raindrops. Organist Craig Potter and bassist Pete Turner round out the soul-searching and melancholic tunes of “”Asleep in the Back.””

    Elbow will open for Pete Yorn. Please look in the hiatus calendar on page 13 for more information.

    — Joseph Lee

    Hiatus Editor

    Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

    self-titled

    Virgin Records

    ***

    Black Rebel Motorcycle Club is not a gang of bikers. They are not sanctioned by the Hell’s Angels and the only weapon they wield is a flurry of music.

    Their overall sound doesn’t stand out as unique, but their energy and their melodies keep them from being at the bottom of the used CD pile. They embody the sounds of the Stone Roses, Spiritualized and My Bloody Valentine. Their rough-edged sound combined with raw production work on their self-titled album make for a quality release. The production captures that quality of a garage band but is polished enough to clearly distinguish the thick reverbed guitars, a bed-shaking bass line and wild drums.

    Tight guitar riffs scream out at the beginning of “”Whatever Happened to My Rock ‘n’ Roll,”” and vocalists Peter Hayes and Robert Turner seem like they’re singing through a mic with tiny speakers turned up way too loud. The song is pure rock and is one of the best tracks this year.

    Meandering roadtrip tunes such as “”As Sure As The Sun”” offer a slower pace and a bit of hesitation with splashes of tremolo in the guitar all on a quiet bed of distortion. This song is complemented by the equally somber tune of “”Too Real.”” The steady banter of tambourines and slightly dissonant harmonies create a mellow tune. “”Spread Your Love”” opens with a fuzzy bass and roadside blues type of melody that is sure to burn down the house as the harmonica rips through the noise.

    BRMC have created an album that is diverse but fueled by the same acid-soaked hard rock. They borrow styles from early ’90s Brit-pop and some songs can almost sound a little too trite or familiar, but they still pound out well-rounded rock ‘n’ roll tunes.

    Black Rebel Motorcycle Club will open for Spiritualized this Saturday at ‘Canes Bar & Grill. Please see the hiatus calendar on page 13 for ticket information and page 11 for more on the concert.

    — Joseph Lee

    Hiatus Editor

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