Album reviews – Drive By Truckers, Telekinesis, Lupe Fiasco

Go Go Boots by Drive By Truckers

I feel like the genre of ‘alt country’ is a dangerous one at best. A lot of times you get a sound that doesn’t do either the rock or country aspects any justice, and you get a sound thats sort of like Everclear with a steel guitar and a slight twang. In the past, Drive -By Truckers have for the most part navigated this tricky combo fairly effectively.With  “Go Go Boots” though, they must have lost the formula. The opener “I Do believe”, is the only one that really finds that delicate. Patterson Hood’s vocals hit the mark and the song just sounds natural. Other than that the band either tends to sound like some sort of corny faux-bluegrass group (“Cartoon Gold”) with that worn out Johnny Cashesque slow railroad beat, or worse, they sound like some Skynardish tacky country fried 70’s rock (“Go Go Boots”).

Go Go Boots: 1 out of 5

12 Desperate Straight Lines by Telekinesis

“Straight Lines” is a spunky little pop-rock lp, that sounds sort of like a fuzzier more distorted version of  “Throw me the Statue”. The album definitely suffers from lack of diversity. It’s kind of hard to really even know how many songs you have listened to if you don’t pay very close attention. Some tracks like “Car Crash” have a catchy enough guitar riff and well placed “ohh ohhhs” to definitely get by. The songs “Fever Chill” and the very brief  “Palm of Your Hand” have a little more teeth than most of the other songs, which often end up sounding too poppy, in an immature sort of a way. Generally there tends to be a little uuumph or something missing from most of the tracks to really push the album over the edge. The missing ingredient might be lead vocals, Michael Lerner’s voice is less than powerful and I find myself wishing it popped out from the rest of the tracks a little more. A ‘beefier’ vocal could take a lot of these songs to the next level.

Fever Chill
Car Crash

12 Desperate Straight Lines: 2.5 out of 5

Lasers by Lupe Fiasco

Lupe is back with a sparkly new pop radio friendly LP. Part of me feels like this is the sound that BOB was going for on his last album. “Lasers” is a high production value album with no shortage of singles. Yet unlike BOB I don’t think that Lupe really sacrificed any credibility as a rapper. His lyrics tend to be intelligent and lean towards being fairly political. I mean, we’re not talking “BlackStar” level type of depth, but it’s pretty ‘message heavy’ type stuff  for mainstreamish music. Especially if Green Day is the standard….. (vomit).I like that Lupe proves ‘meaningful’ music can still dance. It doesn’t have to feel like a lecture or be super experimental if you have a point of view.

The lead single off the album “The Show Goes On”, honestly might be in the song of the year discussion when all is said and done. It’s a feel good, inspirational rap opus, that’s complete with a flawless (familiar but not obvious) Modest Mouse sample, some gently pulsing beats and well timed drums. It’s a song to start your day to for sure.

“Letting Go” features a really cool chorus by Sarah Green and some slightly muffled lyrics by Lupe, pretty similar to the effect Kanye used on “Gorgeous”. While the song certainly isn’t as powerful as “Gorgeous” it is noticeably more gritty than the nauseatingly overplayed  “Airplanes” by BOB, which it also shares qualities with. The piano heavy “Till I Get there” is a page right out of Atmosphere’s book and is chill as all get out. “All Black Everything” might be the albums biggest miss. It’s neither entirely deep nor funny and just kind falls inot this awkward middle ground, with Lupe just spitting these goofy/idealistic images: “Crips never occured, no bloods to attack them. Matter fact, theres no hood to attack in. Somalia is a nice place to relax in”. A few weird moments aside, it’s albums like this that give me some slight hope for pop radio/MTV.

The Show Goes On Video

Till I get there

Lasers: 4.5 out of 5

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