A look at LouFest
MOVE reviews the latest releases from some of the fest's most anticipated acts.
The National: Trouble Will Find Me
It’s easy to get lost in The National’s newest release Trouble Will Find Me. It’s easy to get lost in the gentle crooning of frontman Matt Berninger. It’s easy to get lost in the swells and surges of melodic guitar chords. It’s easy to get lost in the ambitious, inventive drum fills. And that’s exactly what the band wants.
Trouble Will Find Me is the band’s sixth studio album, and in broad terms, it’s an album of reflection. While lyrically they’ve filled their past LP’s with a more self-assured tone (on 2005’s Alligator, Berninger sings that “God is on my side...All the wine is all for me”), Trouble finds the band in a less confident mood. On the catharsis of “Demons,” Berniger yelps, “I stay down with my demons,” repeating the melancholic line until it becomes a dispirited anthem.
Musically, the album is one of its tamest to date. However, that’s not to say the music is not effective. The grim piano chords of “Pink Rabbits” make you want to curl up in a blanket and sob over all the love you’ve lost. The overpowering drums on “Sea of Love” wear you down until your emotions fall into the band’s lap. That’s when this album is at its best. When you give in and submit to the intense emotions Trouble puts forth, it becomes a visceral experience. And that’s exactly what the band wants.
MOVE gives Trouble Will Find Me 4.5 out 5 stars.
Robert Delong: Just Movement
What do you get when you throw keyboards, drum pads, some beeps and boops and a Wii controller (literally) into a pot and mix it together? Apparently a crappy electronica album.
Robert Delong’s Just Movement is precisely that: a typical dance album thats tracks fail to stray from the copy-paste song formula that is infesting the modern-day electronic music scene. Blending in with the millions of other “bedroom” musicians (artists making music from their computers), his songs feel repetitive and played-out, rarely evolving into anything worth a listen.
The track “Happy” fails to make any lasting marks with its dull verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure. The title track, “Just Movement,” is about as diverse as the cringeworthy anthem your local ice cream truck blares (and about as fun to listen to). As an album, it simply never feels like there’s a central purpose, and that’s because there isn’t one.
Just Movement is a confused album. When it tries to be poppy, its forgettable melodies come up short. When it tries to be interesting, its inaccurate idea of ambition — the use of odd instruments, including a Wii controller — keep it from ever leaving the ground.
Ambition is a wonderful thing, something that has driven music to groundbreaking heights. Someone just needs to tell Delong that ambition requires a lot more than a Wii controller.
MOVE gives Trouble Will Find Me 2 out 5 stars.
Wild Cub: Youth
Wild Cub’s Youth opens subtly with a bare, victorious synth line. It then unfolds as a hard-hitting drum beat blasts its way through the song, with singer Keegan Dewitt’s driving vocals in close succession. Soon, a fierce energy fills the track as it blossoms into a vast soundscape.
In this synth-pop-heavy album, that is the entire theme: many parts working together to form a beautiful finish. And many parts there are. The band employs trumpets, pianos, synths, drums, guitars and even cowbells for this mission, and to say the least, it succeeds.
Sticking with the motto “less is more,” no one instrument bears the entire workload. “Windows” starts out with a mere synthesizer and bass, but through smooth, melodic transitions, turns into a dance track that could make even the grumpiest of listeners groove.
The one fallback of Youth is that it has much homage to pay. The echoed vocals and sentimental nostalgic guitars of “Drive” portray a vibe straight out of the '80s. As with many of the other songs, much of what Wild Cub is doing has already been done. However, the energy this album encompasses far outweighs the semi-lack of originality. Hopefully, Wild Cub continues to remind us why we love synth-pop for a long, long time.
MOVE gives Trouble Will Find Me 3.5 out 5 stars.