New Album Reviews.
The Avalanche (Outakes and Extras from the Illinois Album) by Sufjan Stevens.
When you see the words "Outakes and Extras" on the cover of a cd the usual response is the head for the hills. Outakes are outakes for a good reason. They're shite. Usually. However, Sufjan Stevens is a different matter. The music on this album is of high quality. In fact it has tracks that are better than some of the stuff that made it onto Illinois, which is quite a feat, seeing as that is such a good album.
What you get here is another 75 minutes of blissful Americana. We get three alternate versions of Chicago (not thankfully the show tune) and several tracks that didn't quite fit into the Illinois opus. Played back to back in adds up to 150 minutes of music that in effect this makes Illinois a quadruple album!! And you don't get many of them these days.
Stevens plays everything except trumpet and drums on this album, he is a multi-talented man. He is, in my opinion the only man who should be allowed to play a banjo in the whole wide world. Is he a genius? Just maybe.
I can't wait for his London gig at The Barbican on November 3rd.
Through The Windowpane by Guillemots.
Is Fyfe Dangerfield the new Brian Wilson? That is the question I ask myself. This album has been eagerly awaited at Chez Marmite after I saw a clip of them on MTV and I bought there mini album From The Cliffs.
Although there are other members in the band in seems that it is entirely Dangerfield's vision that is laid down here. He writes, produces, arranges and does the washing up on this album. The stand out track is the song of the summer Made Up Love Song #43. It's a song about being in love and realising that you're being loved right back and how "the best things come from nowhere". Call me an old romantic if you like but I love it.
As with Sufjan Stevens it is quite hard to pigeonhole Guillemots, they have a sound of their own definitely, but they're not like anything out there at the moment. They don't do wig out guitars and they don't try and sound like a late 70's punk band (like most everything else these days). What they are is purveyors of blissful intelligent pop music. An definite album for the summer and a good outside punt for the 2006 Mercury Prize