We love a band in uniform here at State, even more so if they ply a trade of that consists of combining classic rock ‘n’ roll with fairly brutal hardcore punk. Rocket From The Crypt did it fifteen or so years ago and now, under the watchful eye of the band’s John ‘Speedo’ Reis, The Computers have picked up the mantle. This Is The Computers (One Little Indian), is short, very sharp and shocks you in the best possible way. Sure the vocals make you feel as if you’ve been gargling razorblades for half an hour but this is a debut that thrills and then some.
Foster The People come, not only from the other side of the Atlantic, but from a different musical place completely. Their outlook is happy in the extreme, with every track on their Torches debut (Sony) bouncing along to an upbeat groove. Luckily, though, they prove that the sublime ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ was no fluke and more than match it along the way. No Joy’s Ghost Blonde (Mexcian Summer) has been equally lauded but is the dampest of squibs in comparision, a pointless revisiting of a shoegaze sound that wasn’t much cop to begin with. If you want a proper example of how to make fuzzy guitars sound epic, look no further than Take Care, Take Care, Take Care (Temporary Residence), which proves just why Explosions In The Sky are talked of in such hushed tones in the instrumental post-rock world.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to The Monkees – that they were either underappreciated geniuses or overrated puppets. Monkeemania (Rhino) proves that the answer lay somewhere in the middle, although probably veering closer to the former. The well known tracks are, of course, splendid but fifty seven songs is probably stretching the point a little – including more than a few examples of psychedelic nonsense amongst the sparky pop. Hugh Laurie doesn’t so either sparky or pop but Let Them All Talk (Warners) sees him making a decent fist of a blues record. It’s impossible to forget just who he is, mainly because his voice still carries that familiar tone, but ultimately it doesn’t really matter.
Bipolar Empire have committed that most heinous of Irish band sins, appearing to have arrived on the scene without paying their dues on the domestic circuit. The self-released Feel That You Own It is certainly a polished, confident affair but that’s certainly nothing to hold against them. More concerning is that the record settles all too easily into the pop rock middle ground, although the odd rough edge and some decent songs suggest they have more to offer second time around.