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Buy Or Sell: Abstraction & Reinvention

After an extended leave of absence Buy Or Sell makes its comeback to review a series of high profile returns, a fun cover, and another Radiohead off cut. So let’s not waste time it’s Rik Sharma vs. Kyle Prangnell, let’s get to it…

1. CSS – “Hits Me Like a Rock”

Rik Sharma: BUY

“Hits Me Like a Rock” finds the Brazilian indie-rock band working with Primal Scream lead singer Bobby Gillespie. After a disappointing sophomore outing, fans were hoping the band would find top form again. And do you know what? It’s a decent track, even if it’s missing the demented urgency of their debut album.

The song is soft, smooth but has a strong groove. A pleasant, affably bouncy but not too in-your-face affair, the band draw on reggae to add flavour to an upbeat summer tune.

Kyle Prangnell: BUY

Certainly agree with Rik on this one. This is a song that doesn´t really have much to dislike about it. I can also maybe agree on the fact that there isn´t much of the urgency that we’ve come to be expect from CSS. Having said that, this is a great track, and caught my attention straight away. A very promising song that will be perfect for the summer.

Strictly Our Opinion: BUY

2. Bjork – “Crystalline”

Rik Sharma: BUY

A surprisingly retro sounding release, at least initially, Bjork sings brokenly over a jangling, cut-glass electronic soundscape to haunting effect. The last part of the track takes on a new life and moves into overdrive, but Bjork’s angelic voice rises through the musical storm to ring clear. The startlingly aggressive ending sounds more organic with repeat listens, increasing the tension in the former part of the song.

Bjork’s experimental stylings have always been interesting, and ‘Crystalline’ leaves a healthy curiosity for the forthcoming Biophilia.

Kyle Prangnell: BUY

Starting slow, this song has a hypnotic feel to it, as Bjork sings over the odd, and as Rik has said ´haunting´ backing track. Almost out of nowhere the track completely picks up the pace, with an explosion of drums playing over the ever-continuing backing track; and almost as quickly as the song picks up the pace, it ends. Again, I agree that this is a brilliant song, and I´m very interested to see what else Bjork has to offer with Biophilia.

Strictly Our Opinion: BUY

3. Surfer Blood – “Hey Sandy” (Polaris Cover)

Rik Sharma: SELL

First things first – bands releasing music purely so people can share it, should be encouraged. Secondly – I like covers. I do. I like it when a band is honest enough to show where they got their influences from, or which artists they admire. However, Surfer Blood, good as they are, don’t add much to Polaris’ original. And that’s something I think covers should do.

Certainly Surfer Blood’s version is good; it’s more than listenable. So it’s with a heavy heart that I’m selling it, because my record collection is big enough already and so if I’m putting covers in, they have to be covers which riff on the original rather than repeat. Sorry lads.

Kyle Prangnell: BUY

I completely agree with Rik on this, once again, but due to that, I will have to disagree. Great tune, but as mentioned, this is a straight cover that Surfer Blood haven´t tried to interpret in their own way. However, it´s still a great little track, and I feel it would be unfair to give it a unanimous decision of Sell, and so I won´t.

Strictly Our Opinion: As much as I love smooth sun soaked surf it is hard to recommend a straight cover, however, I’m willing to make an exception because it’s Summer, and “Hey Sandy” is perfect for a nice stroll in the sun. BUY

4. The Rapture – “How Deep is Your Love”

Rik Sharma: BUY

An epic pop tune. Clocking in at over seven minutes, ‘How Deep is Your Love’ will more than appease fans of the band as well as see them pick up a fair few more. A disco bothering ‘classic’ Rapture tune, the band are on top form from the winding saxophone solo-cum-jam to the exciting, urgent beat. A fine advert for September’s In the Grace of Your Love, it seems the Rapture are back. ‘Hallelujah’.

Kyle Prangnell: BUY

Very much enjoyed this song, from start to finish. As mentioned; it´s an epic, playing through with a catchy piano backing, The Rapture are doing what they do best, and that is making a great disco record. Judging from this song, I will definitely be checking out In the Grace of Your Love´.

Strictly Our Opinion: BUY

We’re at the half way point, and it’s time for our writers to change places.

5. Bombay Bicycle Club – “Shuffle”

Kyle Prangnell: BUY

I’ve always been a casual fan of Bombay Bicycle Club, I really enjoyed their debut, and thought the follow up was a reasonable record. In my opinion, this is a great step forward as they’ve played to their strengths in creating a nice catchy indie tune, but have also progressed in their work. Following their acoustic second album, Bombay Bicycle Club have gone back to their old ways, and made a more than decent summer anthem. ‘Shuffle’ takes all the ingredients you’d expect from a band like this making a summer song, and mixes them into a dizzy track that doesn’t sound like it should work. For me, however, it certainly does.

Rik Sharma: BUY

Perhaps the song title refers to what peoples’ feet will be doing, whilst they listen to this summery single. Evoking MGMT but with a dancier, springier vibe, the piano and funky bass hint at a complexity below what is essentially a very fun, very fresh song.

It hints at an excellent third album, A Different Kind of Fix. Again, perhaps aptly titled, because this is taking their former work and turning it on its head. Positively dreamy.

Strictly Our Opinion: BUY

6. James Blake – “Order/Pan”

Kyle Prangnell: SELL

James Blake is normally very hypnotic, however, I must say he possibly has gone a step too far here. I do like this, but it seems almost like there’s nothing really to it. More so in ‘Order’, as in ‘Pan’ it is a little more atmospheric, but certainly not to the same level as something like ‘The Wilhelm Scream’. Maybe I just don’t get it, but I feel like these two are just building up to something that doesn’t happen.

Rik Sharma: SELL

Slow, mysterious and extremely abstract, James Blake’s style is now, apparently, even more minimal. Infact, there’s almost nothing here. Nothing worth buying anyway. Saying he has disappeared up his own arse is probably a tad harsh, so I won’t say that. But I’m not going to say anything else either.

Strictly Our Opinion: SELL

7. Mastodon – “Deathbound”

Kyle Prangnell: BUY

As this isn’t technically a new song, this is more of a review of the video. The song itself is a great metal song, brutal throughout; but I shall concentrate on the video. When I first started the video, and the old kids TV presenter came on, I really thought this was going to be a rip off of ‘A Town Called Hypocrisy’ by Lostprophets. However, once the video kicks in it’s brilliant; you couldn’t really ask for a more awesome video to go with this song. Basically, if puppets killing each other to death metal music is your thing, then this video is for you, and if it isn’t your thing, there’s something wrong with you.

Rik Sharma: BUY

A romper-stomper of a track, that as Kyle points out, has been made even better with the bizarre and undeniably amusing video that now accompanies it. Considerably shorter than most tracks on Crack the Skye, it’s easy to see why this B-side was omitted as it differs a great deal in style too. But that’s not to say it’s not a good, old-fashioned, heavy, balls-out banger. Because it is. Go watch.

Strictly Our Opinion: BUY

8. Radiohead – “Staircase”

Kyle Prangnell: BUY

This song is a bonus extra from Radiohead coming for their ‘From the Basement’ session. This song is what I’ve come to expect from Radiohead; but certainly in a good way. Although it seems that the guitar is slowly vanishing from their songs, and maybe gone are the days of ‘Fake Plastic Trees’ and ‘Street Spirit (Fade Out)’, regardless ‘Staircase’ is still dominated by the sound you would expect to hear from Radiohead. The song follows very much in the same vein as The King of Limbs, being as cool and laid back as ‘Lotus Flower’. It’s a great song, but then again, it’s Radiohead, what did you really expect?

Rik Sharma: BUY

It’s a buy. Just. And as Radiohead go, it’s not one of their very best. But in context, that’s not really saying much. As you would expect, it’s a very precise, very well orchestrated piece of music. Despite the impenetrable lyrics, I’m happy to keep listening because of how beautiful the detail of Radiohead’s music is. And even though the words don’t speak to me, they do provide a haunting, atmospheric touch.

Strictly Our Opinion: BUY

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Author: david

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