official badge of music snobbery

My first pair of album reviews are up at Slant.

From my review of Morrissey’s Years of Refusal:

The high quality of Morrissey’s recent output, in comparison to even his celebrated early-’90s releases, ultimately comes down to the attentive composition and a willingness to employ a wider array of instrumental contexts for Morrissey’s singing….   Those welcome developments aside, the best tracks on Years of Refusal are distinguished by what has always made for standout Morrissey songs: a powerful vocal performance and mordantly quotable lyrics….  the reincarnated Morrissey has lost none of his articulate bitterness. Older, wiser, and as caustic as he’s ever been, he is in an enviable position as a performer: A decade and a half since he was Top of the Pops, his latest songs rival any of his past material in workmanlike consistency and creativity.

From my review of Thursday’s Common Existence:

Thursday’s got a few undeniable strengths that suggest they will outlive their peers in the screamo scene: unflagging experimentalism, an erudite and talented lyricist, and a nuanced approach to composition that comes through even in the hard, fast numbers that constitute less and less of their output these days… A City by the Light Divided, from 2007, found the band fine-tuning a blend of mid-’90s screamo, post-hardcore, moody synth-pop, and even post-rock in the Explosions/Godspeed vein. Continuing in the style of that fine collection of songs would have made sense, but Thursday has been evolving fitfully since 2003’s War All the Time and have set off on yet another reinvention. Much like that transitional album, Common Existence is, in a lot of ways, a mess…  The band wants to play art-rock, experimental hardcore, stormy pop, and some other beautiful and brutal stuff for which we don’t yet have labels, but they want to play it all at once, and so far they haven’t developed the musical competence to streamline their sonic pluralism into something fit for consumption.

Both albums will be available on Tuesday.


~ by staticandme on February 12, 2009.

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