Roundup: A Few Albums and Singles

There hasn’t been an imposing round of Autumn Popervescence singles just yet – but I’m sure there will be – so a roundup of some fine albums and singles over the next few blogs will be on deck.

Erasure – Tomorrow’s World

25 years after their first album Wonderland, and Andy Bell and Vince Clarke aren’t so much reinventing themselves as revitalizing their place inside the current electropop realm.  With more than able assistance of producer Frankmusik, they’ve recorded some of their best songs written in the last 15 years and have made contemporary what they’ve always done best after also recording many cover versions over the years.

Though the album overall has a feeling of restraint, the duo is best with their most uptempo numbers, particularly “Then I Go Twisting”, “Fill Us With Fire”, and “Whole Lotta Love Run Riot”.  But their touching side shows beautifully with songs like “When I Start (To Break It All Down)” (watch the live version below) and “Just When I Thought It Was Ending”.  

Like their best albums, Tomorrow’s World is well rounded and an overall pleasure to listen to, and of course, you better get on your dancing shoes.  Andy Bell is in fine voice and their concert in September (which was full of young fans of Frankmusik’s own mid-20’s age) showed me that they will be around recording wondrous stuff for as long as their fans will have them.

Joe Jonas – Fastlife

After what I consider to be a couple of misfired singles (“See No More” and the recent dance club hit “Love Slayer”), Fastlife is an incredibly big surprise of a debut for Joe Jonas.  Though it doesn’t quite make its mind up about whether or not to go in an electronic, R&B, or pure pop direction, it has enough of each to be immensely appealing.  And what is done well here is indeed very well done.

The second official single from the album, “Just In Love”, for one thing, is a sizzling and sultry mid-tempo 90’s oriented R&B ballad that works just fine in its original mix.  You’ll also find it available featuring Lil’ Wayne and in a couple of other remixes that don’t really add anything to change your view of the song.

But dive in deeper past the singles and there are rewards.  “Kleptomaniac” should be a real club banger with its swirling synths and urgent vocals.  “Not Right Now” and particularly “Make You Mine” are pop confections which succeed at broadening Joe’s pop horizons beyond the music of him and his brothers, who to me still may not have entirely come into their own despite all of their teen heart throb successes.

Fastlife should not be dismissed as a simple step away from the Jonas Brothers.  No doubt about it, Joe Jonas can easily have his own solo pop career and Fastlife is a great start that should not be underestimated.

Van Go Lion “Colors”

Portland electro-duo Amy Paige and Josh Hoertzel are back with “Colors”, following their summer mainstay for me this year called “We Don’t Miss A Beat”.  “Colors” glistens right into the wonders of Autumn, with delightful words that lilt along to a sunshiny melody.  While I would prefer to hear more of Amy’s soaring voice through the production, I look forward to more from these talented folks.  Listen to “Colors” below and download it for free.

Elspeth “Think Back” and “Starry”

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year and a half since I wrote about this young Irish quintet.  Suddenly, their album, Coax, is on deck for 2012, and the band has previewed it with two songs.  “Think Back” (video above) has some grungy undertones amid other atmospherics that recall a midpoint between Radiohead and The Script.  “Starry” (video below) is an acoustic effort that shines on sounds that recall groups from the past decade or so such as Travis and The Verve.  Elspeth wouldn’t sound out of place on the radio next to other bands like Parachute, Lifehouse, or The Fray.  Watch for these guys in 2012.

Lawson “Marry The Night”

Lawson is the latest four-guy band from England who could have a chance to cut it internationally.  This extremely flattering Lady GaGa acoustic cover suddenly makes the lyric universal and renders gentle the song’s normally propulsive rhythm.  Let’s hope Lawson can rise from the guise of a boyband into the vocal quartet that they really are.  You can get a much more produced pop/rock ballad in the form of “Red Sky” as a free download from their website.

More reviews to come in the week 🙂

Published in: on October 24, 2011 at 10:43 pm  Comments (1)  
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  1. […] you about a few weeks back, as well as Ireland’s Elspeth, whose debut album Coax is imminent.  I wrote about the band back in the Fall, so have another look at “Think Back”.  My recent ramblings on post-grunge music […]

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