CD Reviews


Bombay Bicycle Club Flaws (Island)

The hush-hush-now indie acoustic movement in England seems to be growing at a brisk rate, but who knew this indie-rock quartet had it in them? The band’s bright and raucous (if a tad Interpol-indebted) 2009 debut, I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Off, gave no real indication that these guys could just as easily pare it all down to gently strummed and fingerpicked guitars and frontman Jack Steadman’s eerily plaintive tenor. Mostly (and literally) recorded in Steadman’s bedroom, Flaws is a flawless collection of gorgeous folk-pop, especially the lilting title track, a fragile duet with singer Lucy Rose. There’s a smidgen of kick and snare and acoustic bass on “Rinse Me Down,” which works itself into a fine lather of mandolin and fretboard runs. “Ivy & Gold,” with its whistling chorus, is childlike, compelling songcraft. BBC has undergone a wonderful and total transformation. ★★★★☆


Liz Janes Say Goodbye (Asthmatic Kitty)

I love hanging out on the couch with a cup of coffee and some warm, organic pop tunes on the stereo. Liz Janes satisfies the musical part with her ethereal, jazz-tinged folk-pop that sounds like Norah Jones crashing K Records’ crashpad. Her previous albums have been produced by people such as indie superstar Sufjan Stevens, but it’s difficult to think Janes can record anything better than Say Goodbye, a quietly, richly arranged (glockenspiel, electronics, muted trumpet) effort that would clean up saleswise at the corner Starbucks. “Bitty Thing” flutters, a melancholy butterfly drifting with the breeze until erupting with pounding drums and cymbals, a joyous explosion. The descending minor chords of “Anchor” provide the ideal foundation for Janes’ wounded statements and voice: “No one’s there to anchor me/and tether me down,” she sings. Indeed, with songs this pitch-perfect, Janes will certainly rise to the top. ★★★☆☆


Jarrod Gorbel Devil’s Made a New Friend (Burning House)

For years, Brooklyn’s Jarrod Gorbel toiled under the moniker The Honorary Title, creating the best and most sophisticated (for lack of a better tag) emo-tinged indie-rock of “the aughts.” His Elvis Costello-worthy songcraft and addictive hooks coupled with his furious passion for every word he sang made 2004’s masterpiece Anything Else But the Truth so necessary in the years after 9/11. Now Gorbel strips away the band name and unveils an Americana-infused indie record produced by Rilo Kiley’s Blake Sennett. Devil’s Made a New Friend involves reflection, especially on the Hammond organ-drenched “Ten Years Older,” in which Gorbel laments, “I know life’s so unfair/We used to escape under the brilliant glare.” In the oh-so-subtly anthemic dance rock of “Don’t Want This to End,” when he admits “This time you’re mine,” he could be talking to a lover, muse or fans—probably all of the above. Be careful “Each Breath” doesn’t steal yours with its fierce romanticism. ★★★☆☆

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Run for Your Lives!

Movie Review

Run for Your Lives!

Don’t see Skyline if the following cinematic elements are important to you: a script, a purpose, things that make sense, good acting and/or a satisfying ending. However, you should go see Skyline if the following things are important to you: visual effects of any kind!