Thursday, May 12, 2011

Listening Booth, week 19, 2011, pt. 2: a couple of quickies

  • Gang of Four: Content (Yep Roc) - The songs feel purposeful and full of conviction, the lyrics too, and the band seem wholly engaged in delivering them with sincirety. Jon King's singing is better than it's been in years, and Andy Gill augments his famous guitar jabs'n'stabs with some atmosphere. This is their best since bassist Dave Allen last left the band ca. 1981/'82, after two excellent albums and two equally good EPs. Without Allen, Gof4's bass -- such an integral part of their sound -- didn't have the same the flow, groove and propulsive qualities, but new boy Thomas McNeise makes up for that with plenty of punch, and drummer Mark Heaney does a good Hugo Burnham. 7/10*
  • Raphael Saadiq: Stone Rollin' (Columbia) - Heavier, rockier and more funk oriented than The Way I see It, but at times that seems to have happened at the expense of great songs. This is one for the booty more than for the mind and soul. And there's nothing wrong with that, really. 7/10*
* Grades are tentative, based on three or four listens, though quite often a few more. Much of the writing is done during listens, and should be considered notes more than final reviews.

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