Taking a brief look at some recent releases that weren’t really deserving of a full review. Rating scale is as usual.
Sleigh Bells | Treats
Not without its charm at points but, not to sound like a septuagenarian, but it actually hurts to listen to at times due to the ear-piercing nature of the production on some tracks (seriously – they put the “noise” in noise pop). That said, “Tell ‘Em” really is as good as everyone says it is and “Rill Rill” is insanely catchy as well. I really expected to like this one more than I did but such is life.
Dirty Rating: 75/100
Jack Johnson | To The Sea
If you’ve ever heard a Jack Johnson record before, you’ve heard To The Sea. It’s all nice and inoffensive and has songs about the beach and recycling and everything but Jesus, Jack… would it kill you to stretch a little bit? For once?
Dirty Rating: 51/100
New Young Pony Club | The Optimist
Gone is much of the fun of their debut, Fantastic Playroom, in favor of a darker edged sound. Normally this would be a welcome switch but here it just falls… flat. First single "Chaos" is pretty decent but there's not much beyond that.
Dirty Rating: 71/100
Nada Surf | If I Had A Hi-Fi
A surprisingly limp covers album from one of the best indie pop acts in the genre, If I Had A Hi-Fi finds Nada Surf struggling on a set of covers ranging from well-known bands like Depeche Mode to more obscure ones like The Silly Pillows. “Electrocution,” as its title would suggest, crackles and their cover of Spoon’s “The Agony Of Lafitte” also stands out but too much is forgettable and of a throwaway nature. This one had potential but can’t deliver.
Dirty Rating: 57/100
Tom Petty | Mojo
On “Into The Great Wide Open” Tom Petty sang, “The A&R man said ‘I don’t hear a single.’” Tom, buddy, I don’t hear a single on Mojo and while that in and of itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing, when the rest of the record is boring and lifeless so maybe a single or two would have been a good idea. If we're being honest, Petty hasn’t really released a good record since Echo in 1998. His output in the years since have been mediocre at best (Highway Companion) and downright bad at worst (The Last DJ). Mojo probably falls somewhere in between but I’m afraid that Petty’s career might rapidly be approaching its expiration date – that is, if it hasn’t already reached it.
Dirty Rating: 51/100