SAW [Week 31 - "The Golden Age"]

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Re: SAW [Week 13 - "In a Million Years"]

#841

Post by JaggedJimmyJay » Sun Jun 11, 2017 11:43 pm

I'm only a few songs into the album, but I am hearing some resemblance to the Kaiser Chiefs. Cool beans.
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Re: SAW [Week 13 - "In a Million Years"]

#842

Post by G-Man » Mon Jun 12, 2017 10:38 am

I'll write my thoughts on Echolyn at lunch. As for the current album, it sounds like a fusion of The Strokes and all the production flourishes of The Killers. Pretty good but a tad overproduced.
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Re: SAW [Week 13 - "In a Million Years"]

#843

Post by G-Man » Mon Jun 12, 2017 12:32 pm

Alrighty, so Echolyn, belonging to the prog-rock family, isn't the kind of music I normally gravitate to (tired of hearing me say that yet?) but that doesn't mean I didn't like it. The vocalist that I initially didn't care for on the opening track grew on me with subsequent listens. I still feel that, outside of the first and last track, nothing really grabbed me, leaving me to appreciate the album for what I could- pretty, intricate music.

Going through the old three-track guideline I have, my general principle stands true. Track 1 ("Island") is a strong opener. It's a long track, which is what I anticipated from prog, but it had a good edge and a catchy bassline. There was even a little grandiosity, which reminded me of the one Muse album I own. Perhaps my enjoyment of this track contributed to my relative disappointment in the second track ("Headright"). It's shorter and mellower. Perhaps if there had been another edgy track before it, I would have been okay with it. I guess it's too much of a cool-down too quickly. Pretty song but also the opposite I was anticipating after the solid opener. Track 3 ("Locust to Bethlehem") continued the softer sound but it was a slight step up with the brooding tone and orchestration.

Perhaps it was that sharp cool-down that took me out of the album or lowered my expectations and interest the first few times I listened. That's a bias I can't work around at this point in my music appreciation outings. After listening to the second half of the album a few times, I found it was better than I originally thought.

I was indifferent to the first track on the second half of the album but tracks 6 and 7 were pretty decent. The closer perked the album score up again. I like albums that close well. This one does. There's just a lot of lull and a smidgen of lag in between those high points. If it's not about the destination but the journey, Echolyn is not a journey worth revisiting often for me. The 'here' and 'there' are solid and the only two tracks I would really snip to take with me.

It was said that this was initially intended to be the band's last album. Perhaps that explains the somber tones running throughout. It's not an elegy nor a eulogy but there seems to be a kind of catharsis evident enough to me that I can believe the band thought this was it, setting the stage for this album's contents. Maybe someday I will explore their back catalogue and see how this fits in as an almost swan song. Until then, it gets a 'pretty good' out of me.

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Re: SAW [Week 13 - "In a Million Years"]

#844

Post by S~V~S » Tue Jun 13, 2017 9:49 am

Ha ha, I had pretty much the opposite reaction to you so far, G Man. I am on Track 3 of Echolyn so far, Locust to Bethlehem.

I did not like the first tract at all. I found it derivative and unoriginal. The instrumentation reminded me of every Yes album I have ever heard, and the vocals made me think of "If Queen Were Prog". It was over arranged. I like prog, but there was nothing in that song that I could not get from a hundred other prog albums.

Now the next two tracks, though, I like a whole lot. They are more organic and more original, listening to them did not feel like I was listening to an over pretentious cover band. So if the rest of the tracks are more on this line (excepting the last track, which other reviews lead me to think is more like the first track), I will probably give it a four. So far "In Memorial" is a mixed bag for me (about a minute in right now)~ I like the lyrics and the vocal delivery, and the music while the singing is going on. But the bridges are (and the da da DA da in the background at times) are a bit too Yes fanboy for my taste.

I will finish listening to it hopefully today, but I wanted to get this up while it was still fresh in my mind.
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Re: SAW [Week 13 - "In a Million Years"]

#845

Post by S~V~S » Tue Jun 13, 2017 10:51 am

OK, onto the rest of the album.

Some Memorial evened out for me. The little bits of high proggery did not detract from the rest of the song for me. Like I said, I do like prog, but Yes is my least favorite prog sound, and the parts of this album I did not care for had a very Yes-like sound to them, and this song did not. So overall, I liked this song, it was a bit peppier than the other songs in the middle of the album without being too over arranged.

Past Gravity and When Sunday Spills were both solid, and I liked them. They were original sounding and not over produced at all. The middle of this album put me in mind of Procol Harums Shine on Brightly, which is favorite of mine, Desert Island Album for sure. Lampblack was a bit meh, not bad, but not particularly memorable.

The Cardinal & I was better than I expected it to be based on other reviews, but I still kept expecting them to break out into “Close to the Edge” at points, although nowhere near as often as I did while listening to the opening track. There is a fine line IMO between being derivative and being a solid representative of your genre. The first track was clearly derivative to my ears, the last crossed the line a few times, but mostly stayed on the solid side for me.

I give it a solid 4. It is a really good album for listening to at work, for sure. I would just start it with the second track. I might go to 4.5 if the first track were not on the album, but it is, so 4.
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Re: SAW [Week 13 - "In a Million Years"]

#846

Post by G-Man » Tue Jun 13, 2017 12:35 pm

S~V~S wrote:
Tue Jun 13, 2017 9:49 am
Ha ha, I had pretty much the opposite reaction to you so far, G Man. I am on Track 3 of Echolyn so far, Locust to Bethlehem.
Probably because you've listened to ample amounts of prog and I have not. :)
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Re: SAW [Week 13 - "In a Million Years"]

#847

Post by S~V~S » Tue Jun 13, 2017 12:46 pm

G-Man wrote:
Tue Jun 13, 2017 12:35 pm
S~V~S wrote:
Tue Jun 13, 2017 9:49 am
Ha ha, I had pretty much the opposite reaction to you so far, G Man. I am on Track 3 of Echolyn so far, Locust to Bethlehem.
Probably because you've listened to ample amounts of prog and I have not. :)
Possibly, but my opinion may be different to many proggers. I hate Yes, and parts of this sound too Yes-like for my taste. I liked the less proggy bits more than the proggier ones.
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Re: SAW [Week 13 - "In a Million Years"]

#848

Post by Ricochet » Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:01 pm

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Re: SAW [Week 13 - "In a Million Years"]

#849

Post by JaggedJimmyJay » Tue Jun 13, 2017 8:40 pm

3 stars for Echolyn
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Re: SAW [Week 13 - "In a Million Years"]

#850

Post by Ricochet » Wed Jun 14, 2017 1:26 pm

I'm out of town for a week starting tomorrow and I have not, nor will have time to deliver in regular format - not that I have to feel too bad about honoring stuff, considering this was submitted by Quin. Last Dinosaurs' album was a nice 50-minute distraction, but overall they play quite the whitest bread of indie rock in the market. It's the easiest thing to pick on when there's almost no sense of variety and contrast from track to track, both in how the songs are formally shaped and how nuanced the instrumentation is. Although you might as well choose this album over their sophomore record, Wellness, which in turn is just exhausting - making you think it was made at the Florence & The Machine Academy of turned to the max, beefed up, shouty music. The best thing I felt was that some songs struck a fine balance between the instrumentation and the singing, the former being moreoever toned down. A few songs (such as the aptly-titled "Honolulu") went for the some of the same "caribbeana" playful vibes that you'd hear from Vampire Weekend (Contra) or for some echoey ambiances that struck similarities with The War on Drugs. But even such cues are suspect of being derivative, sort of. Decent 5.
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Re: SAW [Week 13 - "In a Million Years"]

#851

Post by G-Man » Wed Jun 14, 2017 3:02 pm

I think I feel a little of what Rico is saying. It's nice music, good music even. There's maybe only one or two songs that have stuck with me though. Tomorrow I will start nailing down what I think of each track. The overall album feel is light, breezy, and nice. But it also makes me want to go listen to Is This It. It's been a while since listening to one artist gives me cravings for another. Is that a bad thing or am I over-analyzing?
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Re: SAW [Week 13 - "In a Million Years"]

#852

Post by triceratopzeuhl » Thu Jun 15, 2017 1:38 pm

I already know Echolyn and it's never really been my thing (too polished I think) but it's alright

Last Dinosaurs is kinda interesting but I wish their singer didn't have the same slightly autotuned sexually ambiguous voice that every modern pop singer has. Sunday Night, Weekend, and Honolulu are the best songs on the album.

2.5 to both
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Re: SAW [Week 13 - "In a Million Years"]

#853

Post by triceratopzeuhl » Thu Jun 15, 2017 1:49 pm

I forgot to rate deadmau5 I'll give it a 2 (must not be feeling charitable today, I blame squats)
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Re: SAW [Week 13 - "In a Million Years"]

#854

Post by JaggedJimmyJay » Thu Jun 15, 2017 11:11 pm

I'm giving it a second spin tonight, and it is enjoyable enough. I think it starts well and is generally fair throughout, though it could stand to break its own formula more frequently. Eventually the songs blend together for their samey momentum-driven construction, a gripe I have with a number of other indie rock acts. I don't think it's a bad product though. 3 stars
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Re: SAW [Week 13 - "In a Million Years"]

#855

Post by nutella » Sat Jun 17, 2017 12:39 am

A little behind. Finally listened again to Echolyn, this time following along with lyrics and found them quite poetic and emotional at times. Solid album, I get the complaints that it's kind of generic as prog goes (as are the vocalists) and it drags on a bit in some places but overall I enjoyed the instrumentation, melodies, themes, and particularly some lines/verses that were really striking. 3.5 I guess.

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Re: SAW [Week 13 - "In a Million Years"]

#856

Post by Ricochet » Sat Jun 17, 2017 2:14 pm

tfw trice's reviews are more br00tal than mine, yet I'm the one being remembered as the boogie man
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Re: SAW [Week 13 - "In a Million Years"]

#857

Post by triceratopzeuhl » Sat Jun 17, 2017 6:48 pm

ture
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Re: SAW [Week 14 - "Original Sin"]

#858

Post by JaggedJimmyJay » Sun Jun 18, 2017 12:08 am

Week 14: Pandora's Box - Original Sin
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Re: SAW [Week 14 - "Original Sin"]

#859

Post by nutella » Sun Jun 18, 2017 5:40 pm

And now that the next album has been posted I finally listened to Last Dinosaurs. I agree with the assessments that it's pretty average sounding for its genre. Wasn't crazy about the guy's voice, but the songs were alright, some pretty good guitar bits, but nothing really too special. Fun enough to listen to but not something I would seek out. 3.

ETA As I recall my favorite tracks were Zoom and Used To Be Mine. Idk I'll give it another more attentive listen.
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Re: SAW [Week 14 - "Original Sin"]

#860

Post by triceratopzeuhl » Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:03 pm

Alright, I hate everything about Original Sin. It's hard to put my finger on exactly what's so bad about it, but it sounds like a caricature of music to me. Cheesy melodies, overwrought instrumentation, simultaneously shallow and incomprehensible lyrics, bad 80s overproduction with too much reverb... it's literally the soundtrack to a nightmare. Sorry.
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Re: SAW [Week 14 - "Original Sin"]

#861

Post by triceratopzeuhl » Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:04 pm

It sounds almost exactly like what Jim Steinman used to look like, in the worst possible way

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Re: SAW [Week 14 - "Original Sin"]

#862

Post by JaggedJimmyJay » Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:34 pm

Haha, I just started listening and my initial response is the same. I'll give it a chance.
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Re: SAW [Week 14 - "Original Sin"]

#863

Post by JaggedJimmyJay » Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:43 pm

This album is hilarious. I'm not certain yet whether it's meant to be.
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Re: SAW [Week 14 - "Original Sin"]

#864

Post by JaggedJimmyJay » Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:57 pm

I've decided that hilarity is the clear intent. I haven't stopped laughing the whole time.
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Re: SAW [Week 14 - "Original Sin"]

#865

Post by JaggedJimmyJay » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:14 pm

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Seriously though, it's really funny and I think it's meant to be that kind of fun experience more than something taken entirely seriously. Based upon that perspective, I'll give it 3 stars. It achieves what it sets out to achieve (I think -- I could still be wrong).
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Re: SAW [Week 14 - "Original Sin"]

#866

Post by G-Man » Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:01 pm

Alright, let's do this! For me, In a Million Years feels like a summer album- it's light, doesn't overstay its welcome, and has a very chill vibe. It's the kind of music you hear playing over road trip segments in a movie or on a TV show, or it's music you'd hear playing in the car or at a backyard party of twentysomethings. However, it's also an album that doesn't make much of a lasting impression.

As I said earlier, this album kind of sounds like The Strokes, had they borrowed all of the Hot Fuss overproduction from The Killers. In the end, Last Dinosaurs sound like a very good, generic indie rock band. Having been 17 when The Strokes debut album landed, I lived the indie rock/post-punk revival/garage rock revival tsunami through my senior year of college. As my musical tastes broadened backward in rock history, I had less time for current artists, who were quickly starting to sound the same. In a Million Years reminds me mostly of the good times of that era, though that sameness of sound does cause several tracks to blur into obscurity in my head.

The first three tracks were enough to keep me interested. I thought that "Zoom" was a terrific opener and set the tone for an easy-going listen. The guitars and snappy drums were delightful. The second track, "I Can't Help You," was adequate but fairly indie rock generic and showed that the band really likes to harmonize their vocals. Track three, "Sunday Night," was enough of a step up that I didn't feel like the album was losing momentum already. It didn't grip me like "Zoom" did but they can't all be winners, right? Track 4 was solid and evoked a poppy Strokes vibe, which I think kept me going.

The second half of the album largely ran together until the final two songs. "Repair" turned out to be my favorite song off the album (doesn't hurt to have a strong closer!) and "Honolulu" was a close second. I would pick "Zoom" as my third track to take with me, though I also really liked "Satellites." If I could arrange a samples for someone, I'd have "Zoom" play first, then "Honolulu," and then use "Satellites" as a pseudo-intro to "Repair." There's a beautiful, whimsical quality to "Repair" that made it memorable to me. The guitar (or is it bass?) that plays those descending notes throughout the song hearkens back to something I can't quite place. Maybe it's another song or a movie score. Either way, it's pretty and it stopped me dead in my tracks the first time I heard it.

Overall, I think the music tops the vocals. The music has a lot of promise but the vocals, to me, were very indie rock generic. These guys won't be able to sing that high forever, and you can only play this idealistic-sounding music for so long before it gets redundant or you're too old and it just sounds awkward. I'd be curious to find out if the band aspired for more on subsequent albums or if they are just the kind of young band that plays their young music for a few years and hangs it up as trends change. For a debut record in the current decade, it's pretty darn good. It may not be remembered but it could be the kind of album you re-discover years later and nod in nostalgic approval.

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Re: SAW [Week 14 - "Original Sin"]

#867

Post by nutella » Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:15 pm

Alright, listening to Original Sin. It sure is over the top, lol. Can't say it's not entertaining though. I liked the title track actually, and the dream about the mirrors XD Not a big fan of the few tracks in between those though. Right now I'm on "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" and it's... yeah, over the top. But yeah JJJ was right, this is... an experience. Not my kind of thing really, I definitely agree with Trice that it's the pinnacle of bad 80s cheese, but a few bits of it have been enjoyable in a particular way.
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Re: SAW [Week 14 - "Original Sin"]

#868

Post by nutella » Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:47 pm

Alright, done. I'm giving it a... 1.5 or 2? I enjoyed the instrumental tracks and like two others, but for the most part this was too.... too.
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Re: SAW [Week 14 - "Original Sin"]

#869

Post by G-Man » Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:20 pm

For those unaware, the mastermind behind this album, Jim Steinman, was also the creative force behind Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell album (and the first sequel). Steinman actually wrote several hit songs in the 80's and some in the 90's. That's how I approached this album- basically like an 80's quasi-chick rock version of Meat Loaf. It's tongue-in-cheek and unadulterated kitsch.

Meat Loaf actually covered a number of these songs in the 90's and "It's All Coming Back To Me Now" was a huge hit for Celine Dion when she covered it. I prefer her version, though the original is good. This is going to be a fun week. :D
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Re: SAW [Week 14 - "Original Sin"]

#870

Post by JaggedJimmyJay » Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:52 pm

That makes sense. One of my immediate thoughts was "this guy is Meat Loaf caliber cheesy. It has to be on purpose".
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Re: SAW [Week 14 - "Original Sin"]

#871

Post by G-Man » Tue Jun 20, 2017 4:06 pm

As much fun as parts of this album are, I really don't like the cover of The Door's "Twentieth Century Fox." The original is a classic and the Pandora's Box version sounds like a fusion of Oingo Boingo's "Weird Science" and Wang Chung's "Everybody Have Fun Tonight" in all the wrong ways.
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Re: SAW [Week 14 - "Original Sin"]

#872

Post by triceratopzeuhl » Tue Jun 20, 2017 4:55 pm

The meatloaf versions are considerably less awful

Also Safe Sex is probably the worst song ever written

I give it a 0.5, would rather listen to the field recordings album any day of the week
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Re: SAW [Week 14 - "Original Sin"]

#873

Post by JaggedJimmyJay » Tue Jun 20, 2017 5:12 pm

I actually regret awarding 3 stars for cheese novelty. I'll reduce that to 2.5.
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Re: SAW [Week 14 - "Original Sin"]

#874

Post by G-Man » Wed Jun 21, 2017 9:48 am

My 19-month old daughter was rocking out in the tub last night to "Good Girls Go to Heaven (Bad Girls Go Everywhere)." Does this make me a bad father?
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Re: SAW [Week 14 - "Original Sin"]

#875

Post by JaggedJimmyJay » Wed Jun 21, 2017 11:53 am

Better that than "Safe Sex"
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Re: SAW [Week 14 - "Original Sin"]

#876

Post by G-Man » Wed Jun 21, 2017 11:59 am

Haha. Yeah, I told my wife about that song. She doesn't see how the line "there's no such thing as safe sex when it comes to loving you" can work in any context.

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Re: SAW [Week 14 - "Original Sin"]

#877

Post by JaggedJimmyJay » Fri Jun 23, 2017 4:31 pm

I wish to hear more reactions to this album.
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Re: SAW [Week 15 - "All Hail West Texas"]

#878

Post by JaggedJimmyJay » Sun Jun 25, 2017 2:44 am

Week 15: The Mountain Goats - All Hail West Texas
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Re: SAW [Week 15 - "All Hail West Texas"]

#879

Post by JaggedJimmyJay » Sun Jun 25, 2017 2:47 am

Also, it's time the prepare the queue for the next five album cycle. Get your submissions in unless you had one selected in the previous cycle. On Thursday I'll get a poll up so we can make our votes.
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Re: SAW [Week 15 - "All Hail West Texas"]

#880

Post by JaggedJimmyJay » Sun Jun 25, 2017 2:48 am

Submissions:

nutella - Bobby McFerrin - Circlesongs / 1997 / Vocal Jazz / 8 tracks / 42:42 / YouTube (nutella please verify) and Spotify

MovingPictures07 - Dead Can Dance - Within the Realm of a Dying Sun / 1987 / Neoclassical darkwave / 8 tracks / 38:43 / YouTube and Spotify

Golden - Corinne Bailey Rae - The Heart Speaks in Whispers (Deluxe) / 2016 / Neo-soul / 16 tracks / 75:32 / YouTube and Spotify

speedchuck - Toehider - What Kind of Creature Am I? / 2014 / Progressive rock/metal / 10 tracks / 51:45 / YouTube, Bandcamp, and Spotify

JaggedJimmyJay - CunninLynguists - A Piece of Strange / 2005 / Southern hip hop / 16 tracks / 54:19 / YouTube, Bandcamp, and Spotify

triceratopzeuhl - Townes Van Zandt - Townes Van Zandt / 1969 / Country/folk / 10 tracks / 34:33 / YouTube and Spotify

sprityo - Michael Guy Bowman - Mobius Trip and Hadron Kaleido / 2011 / Synthpop / 9 tracks / 39:21 / YouTube and Bandcamp

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