Tuesday, August 17, 2010

David Gray - "Foundling" 8.2 out of 10

Like with Ray Lamontagne, you know pretty much what to expect when you buy or listen to a David Gray cd. His style and singing rarely veer from heartfelt, acoustic songs and passionate singing....not to mention insightful, honest, if not bleak, lyrics. I much prefer this cd to his last one....but it's not QUITE as good as the 3 before that. Are you with me so far, as Don Henley said in "Life In the Fast Lane? Gossamer Thread is a treat and highlight, but I didn't skip over any song; each one held my interest and enjoyment. A beautiful piece of work - highly recommended!

Ray Lamontagne - "God Willin and the Creek Don't Rise" (8.0 out of 10)

As my sons can tell you, this type of music is not my bag....white man, blue-eyes soul sung earnestly and strummed sensitively. Rarely does music like this make me do anything but roll my eyes at this faux-genre. But Ray Lamontagne....admittedly helped by great production and his stellar band....pulls it off. Early Neil Young and James Taylor come to mind for me. I won't buy it, but there's a good chance you will love it.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Arcade Fire - "The Suburbs" 8.6 out of 10

So I'm very late to the game in reviewing this cd from Canada's Arcade Fire. And, honestly, maybe you shouldn't entirely listen to me concerning this particular release. I feel like I'm missing something that everybody else is seeing/feeling/hearing. But, for what it's worth, there is, indeed, a certain undeniable power here; a classic feel and with something to say to boot. From the "Heart of Glass" sounding "Sprawl II, to what would be the single if I were the A and R man, "City With No Children," this is truly Ruth's Chris Steak House compared to the McDonalds of Katy Perry or the cheap sushi, self-important Lady Gaga. But....there is a relative sameness here (no, not lyrically - I'm down with thematic albums), but instrumentally, vocally, and production-wise. Don't get me wrong - I don't think Arcade will ever be better than this and I do think it deserves "Best of 2010" consideration...but I'm not on-board the Arcade Fire train. I don't think this cd will age well. Call me in 2015. Post-script: At the insistence of my son Stuart and good friend Jane Anderton Cole, I'm revising my grade from 8.2 to 8.6, Listened to it again, and I think I'm closer to their view of "classic" album. Thanks guys.