I don't normally review major releases -- (unless I've received a review download link from some label) -- but I feel like it today so here goes.
The first and only massive disappointment is AM by Arctic Monkeys which I more or less hated. Am I the only one who doesn't dig this one? It sounds like Maroon 5 to me. I loved the band in the past but I'd be hard pressed to sit through much of this record again.
Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action from Franz Ferdinand is a remarkably solid affair. What a nice surprise this record was for me! "Fresh Strawberries" charms, and "Bullet" rocks and throbs like SFA trying their hand at an old Chic tune. A really fantastic album as far as I'm concerned.
The new Superchunk is, like every 'Chunk album for me, a thing of regular rotation on my iPod. "Out of the Sun" and "Overflows" now get as much play on my morning commute as "Stretched Out" and "Everything at Once" did...and do.
The Third Eye Centre by Belle and Sebastian isn't a new record but it's a pretty nice new collection of tracks from the last near-decade. B-sides and oddities, there's some great stuff here -- "Desperation Made a Fool of Me" for one.
Babyshambles' Sequel to the Prequel is pretty consistent -- a shock! -- but a bit too long. If the whole record had had the passion and fire of "Fireman" I'd be writing that Doherty had surpassed the Libertines' stuff but sadly the rest of the record is more of the same. Solid but not inspiring.
"Inspiring" brings us to the Manics.
At some point when they've packed it in, someone -- me, maybe? -- will write a summary of the Manic Street Preachers and their quarter-century career and that writer will use the word "masterpiece" at least 4 times: The Holy Bible (1994), Everything Must Go (1996), Lifeblood (2004), and Rewind the Film (2013).
I suppose I should add that if you didn't like Lifeblood that we may have to agree to disagree as Manics fans!
Sublime, mature, full of grace and quiet passion, Rewind the Film so thoroughly marks and defines an era of the Manics' long career that it should surely be spoken of in the same breadth as those other fantastic records I just listed above.
"Running Out of Fantasy" soothes and vexes me; the title cut warms me like a lullaby; and "3 Ways to See Despair" makes me think -- at least for a few moments near the middle -- of Roger Waters and Pink Floyd's "Empty Spaces" (but this tune is nowhere near as depressing).
I've only played Rewind the Film all the way through, in order, about 6 times so it's sure to take another dozen to fully assess this record.
I also had the joy of buying the CD on the day of release at an HMV in this former British colony.
(At HMV in Causeway Bay...see picture!)
That was not quite as awesome as it would have been to buy this record in Cardiff but it was darn cooler than ordering the CD online from the U.K. and waiting for it to get shipped to Washington, D.C.