The Horrors, Primary Colours (XL, 2009)
Utter disappointment in the band’s change of direction made me ignore this album. I loved Strange House’s psych rock and I just couldn’t understand why they would want to become a pale version of Echo and the Bunnymen, but I do like Echo and that overall Post-Punk sound… Therefore this time through I will try to assess the album as if they are a different band.
And that works, although I still can’t see why this was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize, it’s not that good. Even after a few listens although each song is decent enough, nothing particularly sticks out until Track 4, Do You Remember, which is a bit of racket but that’s in its favour. New Ice Age though is a cracker as is I Can't Control Myself which harks back to the OCD theme of the previous album.
There are no bad songs here exactly, except perhaps I Only Think of You, which is a bit of a dirgy let down, but not much that’s great. Shame.
Strange House is still heaps better, but I might consider getting their third album Skying after all.
Except I haven’t.
Standout new to me track: New Ice Age
Score: 8 out of 10
Urusei Yatsura/We Are Urusei Yatsura (Che Records, 1996)
Very much mid-1990s pop-indiepunk of the type more exuberantly expressed in bubblegum by Bis, more artfully (mostly) by Prolapse and more successfully by Ash, this is the debut album from the Scottish (not Japanese) band Urusei Yatsura, about which I remember very little. Unfortunately, this album does not include the one Urusei Yatsura song I do remember, Strategic Hamlets. So no lalalala, lalalaLA! for me this time. Uh, I digress...
First Day on a New Planet bounces along very much like Echobelly’s Great Things, but with more noise and less tune, but by Kewpies Like Watermelon and Phasers on Stun, things are starting to improve. After Death 2 Everyone though, which is an abrupt and shortlived change of direction into more grungy territory, things are starting to slide into a forgettable mush.
Overall, this isn’t a bad album; it’s just not very memorable. Individually a few of the tracks are decent enough – I was still humming Kewpies Like Watermelon for a while afterwards – but as a whole I can’t imagine a moment where I would want to listen to the entirety of the album again as the songs fail to hook me in as a collection.
And after all these years, I still don’t know what a kewpie is.
Standout new to me track: Kewpies Like Watermelon (though the yelling is starting to get to me now)
Score: 5 out of 10