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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    CD Reviews

    Last Night is meant to be the chronicle of a night spent clubbing in New York City. Replete with jumping rhythm, surreal trance dazes, hip-hop highlights and the inevitable early morning half-drunk/half-hungover comedown, the album is dead-on with its portrait.

    Beginning with mounting anticipation on “”Ooh Yeah,”” by the time I got to the heart of the second track “”I Love to Move in Here,”” Grandmaster Caz’s epic rap cameo and my buzz had both kicked in. Suddenly characteristic $5 cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon seem pretty reasonable in the New York night. The following track “”257 Zero”” has the persistent beat necessary for a dance pinnacle, if not a little early, but still incorporates the signature eerie ambience of Moby.

    Last Night
    Moby
    Mute Records
    3 1/2 stars

    Less original tracks like “”Everyday it’s 1989″” and “”I’m in Love”” keep up the ebb and flow of a night on the town, but I honestly found myself growing weary at this dance party. Moby seems stuck between a mellow ambient sound that soothes and the bumping house beats of European techno that bang, causing the album to occasionally have a disjointed feel.

    Last Night is so realistic in its portrayal of a club, but it occasionally fails at being better than one. “”Disco Lies”” is a throwback to house of the early ’90s and as far as I’m concerned, that’s where it should have died. Moby’s penchant for nostalgia on this album and its sometimes stale sound might be an indication of his growing age.

    But techno hip-hop blends like “”I Love to Move in Here”” and “”Alice”” ribbon the otherwise unspectacular album with a fresh, innovative sound worthy of the vibrant culture of New York. “”Alice”” particularly stands out as one of the best tracks on the album.

    Last Night finishes up with the slow descent home.

    “”Mothers of the Night”” recalls a late night pizza shop romance with its hopeful atmosphere that is familiar on Moby’s other albums.

    The slow ambience matched with the sad vocals of the title track and the finale is perfect for falling asleep on the subway or for the lonely walk home from the station. “”Last Night”” switches halfway through into a devolving jazz tune reminiscent of Joni Mitchell, sans vocals, and illustrates the emptiness of seeing people going to work as you’re getting home.

    Overall, this thematic album is no Play, but it’s got its highs and lows – much like a night out in the city.

    – Mitch Levine


    Crescent Moon is in Big Trouble is the cleverest album title of the year. (Well, it would be if it weren’t a six-track EP.) See, the singer’s name is Crescent Moon, and his band’s name is Big Trouble. Get it?

    Even if you’re not impressed by that, there’s a lot to enjoy about this odd, atmospheric record. Minnesota-based singer Crescent Moon calls himself a “”Renaissance rapper,”” and there’s no denying the rap roots of his style. But his breathy, slightly forced delivery is pure rock – in the oldest, corniest sense – and the two styles don’t really mesh. You half-expect the band to break out into “”Mustang Sally.””

    It’s not a masterpiece or even particularly consistent, but the best tracks – the gloomy, slow-motion funk of “”Cemetery Stroll”” is a stand-out – are undeniable. The beautiful, melancholy backdrop of “”Broken Dishes,”” combined with Moon’s gasping delivery, brings to mind something like a hip-hop update of Van Morrison’s great Astral Weeks.

    Crescent Moon is in Big Trouble
    Crescent Moon
    Afternoon Records
    2 1/2 stars

    At its best, Crescent Moon is in Big Trouble brings to mind some tall, mysterious gang of shadowy musicians jamming away in a New Orleans junkyard, summoning up the lurid phantoms of the past. At worst, it sounds like a drunk sputtering away in front of a bar band. Unfortunately, the latter prevails a bit too often.

    – Justyn Dillingham


    It really means a lot if a band that came to life in 1983 can stick around these days, all the while creating solid music without losing sense of its musical style. R.E.M. has released its 14th album Accelerate and is reviving its consistent sound with steady tracks that are good, but not spectacular.

    The opening track “”Living Well is the Best Revenge”” flaunts front man Michael Stipe’s vocals with clout and high energy in typical R.E.M. form that seems to tout “”We’re back, remember us?””

    Single “”Supernatural Superserious”” is reminiscent of 1992’s “”Automatic for the People”” through its melodies and strong chorus. Accelerate carries into “”Hollow Man,”” which begins dramatically and slowly through piano and deep vocals, but picks up noticeably in the chorus in which Stipe gravelly croons, “”Believe in me, believe in nothing/ Corner me and make me something.””

    Accelerate
    R.E.M.
    Warner Bros.
    2 1/2 stars

    The title track isn’t the type of song you would expect a title track to be, with its seemingly offbeat nature, but is, once again, eerily similar to early ’90s R.E.M.

    The most notable cut on Accelerate is “”Until the Day is Done.”” An acoustic guitar glides in with a single beating drum and the chorus pulls all of the instrumental elements together, combining both acoustic and electric guitar and creating a smooth sound and a deep, well-rounded sense.

    Accelerate sounds off with “”I’m Gonna DJ,”” which may have been more appropriately placed at the beginning of the album. The song commands attitude and a careless nature, and just doesn’t seem to fit where it is placed. Nevertheless, the song is upbeat and catchy.

    R.E.M. may not be a band with groundbreaking concepts and instrumental twists, but they have remained prominent for 25 years and can still produce a decent album.

    – Kelli Hart

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