September 19, 2003
Albums boast unique soundsAlbums you students may have missed this summer:
* "Phantom Power," Super Furry Animals
"Phantom Power" is the sixth release by this Welsh band, and perhaps their easiest to listen to and enjoy so far, especially compared to their fourth album, written entirely in old Welsh. This time around, the band pays musical homage to the likes of the Beach Boys, Iron Maiden and Spiritualized, among others. The happy, sometimes-retro melodies often make you forget about the depressing stories they have to tell. "Bleed Forever," one prime example, is about the radiation that settled on Wales as a result of Chernobyl. The song is delivered in a beautiful melody line reminiscent of a Travis or Beatles ballad. Give them a chance because they obviously listen to great music themselves.
* "Damnation", Opeth
It's not everyday that you put on a metal album and hear a lead singer who could be on Broadway. In "Damnation," Opeth takes simple ballad ideas and manipulates them to sound unique and extraordinary. Band members show an impressive mastery of their instruments. Thanks to a very talented drummer, they fill their songs with irregular drumbeats to keep listening from being monotonous. Most songs feature an attractive lyrical line interlaced with intricate guitar solos. Rather, they show that they are not embarrassed to show a more sensitive side to their songwriting.
* "Hail to the Thief," Radiohead
Radiohead goes into the recording studio to work their magic, and for the sixth time they pulled a completely different rabbit out of their hat. "Hail to the Thief" is a musical rollercoaster, aggressive political statement and poetic masterpiece all in one. Songs range in subject from unrequited love to a lullaby in the sky. This album reminds us that they're the guitar-loving band who put out "OK Computer" and "The Bends". However, they've also learned from "Kid A" and "Amnesiac" that computers are great toys, and they know how to play with them. Full of unpredictable rhythms, ear-catching melodies and tongue-in-cheek lyrics, "Hail to the Thief" would be a worthwhile addition to most record collections.
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