Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Jonsi, "Go"; No Age, "Everything In Between"

One really nice thing about writing random reviews on your blog is that you can choose to write or not write about something for all sorts of stupid and illogical reasons. No assignments, no deadlines, everything happens according to my own whims. This explains why I avoided listening to Jonsi's new (well, months old now) solo album because of its hideous cover. Seriously, that cover image frightened me, I thought that only Billy Corgan would be pretentious enough to pose as an angelic messiah. Although I imagine that Corgan's cover would be photoshopped with a sharp, metallic sheen and not the pastel-like shades that Jonsi used for his album.

Other reviews and postings about "Go" had led me to believe that it was a rustic ' folk experiment, sprinkled with a bit of Sigur Ros' pixie dust, which didn't really sound like my kind of thing. But apparently, some of those people skipped over the last Sigur Ros album, because "Go" picks up where the first half of that album left off, forgoing some of Sigur Ros' standard OTT pomp in favour of something that approaches a straight up pop record, Icelandic self-styled messianic angel style. All that plus "Grow Till Tall" -- sometimes, even on your more stripped-down solo record, you still want to pull off something BIG.

No Age's newest album isn't as immediate as "Nouns", which is to say that it's less punk-ish, less energetic, and less frantic than its predecessor. Sometimes its a criticism to say that a band hasn't yet figured out what sort of band they want to be, because bands suffering through identity crises tend to make scattershot, unfocused records. In this case, I'm having a blast just sitting back and watching No Age evolve. They've moved past their "Isn't Anything" phase and might be onto their "To Here Knows When EP" phase, I'm not sure (the ambient parts of "Everything In Between", and there are a lot of them, imply that they're jamming to "Moon Song" instead of "Feed Me With Your Kiss" these days). The "Losing Feeling EP" implied that they were enamoured with their FX pedals more than ever, and I can even imagine them doing a beatless ambient album one of these days, maybe as a one-off side project. The punkier tracks on "Everything In Between" aren't quite an afterthought, but they might not be challenged by writing tracks like "Depletion" and "Fever Dreaming" anymore. They probably won't ever give up those types of propulsive rock songs completely, but I hear a band that wants to write more songs like "Katerpillar", and to give those songs 5-6 minutes instead of a scant minute and a half next time.

No comments: