Saturday, September 26, 2009


The short version:
Mute Math—Armistice: 7/10
Imogen Heap—Ellipse: 6/10
Bear McCreary—Battlestar Galactica season 4: 6/10
Lily Allen—Alright, Still: 6/10

The first in this line of disappointments is the sophomore album from Mute Math: Armistice, an interesting alternative rock band with a really fantastic drummer.  And while the percussion work here really shines, the album just isn't as interesting as the first one.  There aren't standout singles, memorable tracks, or catchy melodies, and even the energy that their previous album had.  This album's darker and more depressing, and while the CD isn't bad, it's not as good as the first one.  They don't pull off "brooding" as well as "energetic."  Some of the best stuff on here is when they're trying to match the energy of their first album: Backfire (which is admittedly pretty great), and The Nerve (a fun, fast song).  Pins and Needles is the best of the slower, more moody songs.

The biggest letdown of the batch is Ellipse from Imogen Heap.  Her last album, Speak for Yourself, was several years ago, and the most recent album that I'd consider a 10/10 masterpiece.  Ellipse doesn't even begin to do it justice.  Half of the tracks on this album I've already forgotten having heard, and the others aren't faring much better.  I heard the first single First Train Home before the rest of the album, and while it's a pretty enough song, I really hoped it wouldn't be the best on the disc... but it is.  It matches pretty well with her previous work.  Bad Body Double and Swoon are pretty good too, but despite being some of the better tracks, the instrumentation on those two still isn't up to par with other stuff Imogen has done.  Overall, the best from this disc are barely equal to the worst from Speak for Yourself, and that's just really depressing.

The soundtrack from the fourth season of Battlestar Galactica by Bear McCreary is also not as interesting as the previous three.  It worked well in the TV series, but as an album this one isn't quite as good as the previous ones.  From this album I rather like Farewell Apollo, and Assault on the Colony (a fifteen-minute percussion-fueled battle song).  The most memorable is probably Kara Remembers, but it's sort of cheating as it's just a rehash of the tune that was basically the theme to the end of the third season.  All that said, it's still pleasant to listen to, and it's a two-disc set with the second disc containing solely music from the last episode.

Finally, after liking her newest album so much I picked up Lily Allen's previous one, Alright, Still.  I'm not sure I'd have been inclined to buy both had I started with this one. It's got a few good songs, but it's nothing to write home about.  The opening track Smile is pretty catchy, and Nan You're a Window Shopper is amusing even though a few of the British references are lost on me.  Shame for You is decent too.  Basically, the album is a far less-refined version of the sound from her second album.

I've still got a pretty sizeable queue of music to get through.  I'm currently listening to the new Muse album The Resistance, and it's... intriguing.

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