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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Music Reviews

    Mates of State…Bring it Back…Barusk, 10/10

    Pop used to be a dirty word. There was a time when if you admitted to liking it, you were automatically qualified for free Britney Spears concert tickets and a red Kelly Clarkson armband.

    But lately, more and more highly acclaimed bands have been associating themselves with the questionable genre. Take Mates of State, for example.

    Its devastatingly catchy and unnervingly creative new album Bring it Back uses pop hooks in an original, innovative way.

    Bring it Back is technically a pop record, even though it is a far cry from anything you might hear on 92.1 The Mountain. Even though it remains decidedly Indie rock, the thrashing guitars and hard rock sound are replaced with whimsical and twinkling organs and synthesizers.

    These unconventional instruments allow Mates of State to branch out and explore uncharted indie rock territory.

    Without guitars holding them back, the synthesizers can develop more complicated and complex melodies that lead to a more interesting listen.

    But mostly, Mates of State stick to carefree and sweeping indie pop declarations that cement status as the cutest couple in indie rock. While other couple bands (The Kills, The White Stripes) concentrate on a harder rocking sound, Mates of State is more reminiscent of Will Ferrell and Ana Gasteyer in that infamous “”Saturday Night Live”” skit.

    But unlike previous records, the guitar is not completely absent from the Mates of State sound. Present on a few tracks, it is mainly used to flesh out and back up the pianos so the music is fuller and more textured. Longtime fans and organ purists won’t be disappointed, as the guitar never overshadows, but complements the band’s twinkly, fantastical sound.

    “”Put your life on hold/this is what it’s like for the fantasy,”” the couple sing back and forth to each other over a light poppy guitar melody. Perfect lyrics that describe the perfect record.

    -Andi Berlin

    The Appleseed Cast…Peregrine…The Militia Group, 8/10

    The difficulty in describing the sound of The Appleseed Cast’s latest album Peregrine is what makes it so distinguishable from other bands.

    Although each song is catchy in its own right, the most ear-catching track is “”Here We Are – Family in the Hallways,”” a poppy enough song to play on the radio.

    This indie-rock band combines purely instrumental songs, such as “”An Orange and a Blue”” in its new album with other likable yet nondescript tracks such as “”February.””

    As easy as it might be to fall asleep to some tracks, there is a unique mix of sounds, which gives Peregrine an impressive distinction from other indie rock albums today.

    -Amy Wieseneck

    Donald Fagen…Morph the Cat…Reprise Records, 7/10

    Morph the Cat is the third solo album from Donald Fagen of Steely Dan and is perhaps his most dynamic.

    The lyrics are tales of post-9/11 New York put with jazzy and soulful tunes.

    The consistency of smooth vocals and full melodies are undeniable.

    “”Mary Shut the Garden Door”” is the one track that truly captures the spirit of the CD, because Fagen combines grim political lyrics with lively beats. By listening closely to the lyrics, Morph the Cat becomes more than just a catchy jazz album.

    Morph the Cat is never slow or depressing because Fagen remains sharp and witty in his tempo and vocals.

    -Katy Graham

    Living Colour…Everything Is Possible: The Very best of…Epic/Legacy, 5/10

    Living Colour made a name for itself in the 1980s as one of the few black hard rock bands in America. Considering the band’s past reputation as a groundbreaking act, it is surprising that it has slipped off the radar.

    Listening to this 17-track compilation, it’s easy to see why. Though the liner notes claim that the band wore its influences – “”Caribbean, Latin, soul, funk, jazz”” – on its sleeve, most of these tracks sound like standard hard rock, with lyrics that come across like a dumbed-down Public Enemy.

    Vernon Reid’s virtuoso, Hendrix-like solos are impressive, but Corey Glover’s irritatingly self-important singing bleeds most of these songs of their fun.

    – Justyn Dillingham

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