Album Picks: Grimes, Sleigh Bells, Tennis, Frankie Rose

Posted by Billy Gil, February 21, 2012 05:37pm | Post a Comment
GrimesGrimes – Visions
GrimesVisions is the rare pop album that feels like you’re traversing through the private mind of its creator. Claire Boucher coos and chirps her way over synth loops and dance beats not unlike your average pop star, only her vocals and song construction are far more mysterious and dreamlike, almost like you’re seeing her thoughts before they’ve fully formed. Boucher rides sweetly over soft electronic seas in songs like “Genesis” and “Oblivion,” while “Eight” is the other side of the coin, with Boucher awesomely screeching over a Knife-style electro jam. Her visions may be strange indeed, but inviting; you won’t be able to get them out of your head.

sleigh bellsSleigh Bells – Reign of Terror
Did you think Sleigh Bells were gonna soften up for their sophomore album? Maybe trim the hair metal guitars and jock jam beats and turn out some slick dance-pop? Hell no! Reign of Terror sounds like the natural progression from 2010’s Treats — guitars that pummel even harder, courtesy of better production; skittering industrial beats; and Alexis Krauss’ awesome voice, which can go from Poly Styrene to Kylie Minogue in a heartbeat. “Comeback Kid” is their rallying cry for this album, with Derek Miller’s twisted arrangement showing increasing deviousness. “Leader of the Pack” could actually blow out your speakers — that’s not an exaggeration. Their “ballads” have grown a pair, too; whereas Treats’ “Rill Rill” got by on casual winsomeness, “End of the Line” is a genuinely emotional breakup song. Reign of Terror won’t necessarily prove naysayers — and there are plenty of them — wrong that their music is ridiculous, but it’s such a badass refinement of their sound that it’s nothing short of swift kick to the groin of anyone in their way.

tennisTennis – Young & Old
Whereas TennisCape Dory felt lightweight and carefree, husband-and-wife team Tennis seem to be grappling with adulthood on Young & Old. It’s a sweet and pop-oriented affair, to be sure, but the melodies and lyrics on songs like standout “Origins” are darker and feel less collegiate, more rooted in real life, and they’re all the more affecting for it. Alaina Moore sings “Paradise is all around, but happiness is never found” on the otherwise upbeat “High Road,” and you can’t help but feel that sadness come through the sweetness.

frankie roseFrankie Rose – Interstellar
Frankie Rose ditches the copious distortion of her previous projects (Vivian Girls, Franke Rose & the Outs) and makes an album of delectable, danceable shoegaze pop with space-bound harmonies. Taking her cues from ’80s David Bowie and The Cure musically while pouring cucumber cool harmonies over everything, she captures the feeling of speeding through a tunnel (“Know Me,” “Night Swim”) or pausing to bask in the starlight (“Pair of Wings”).

Relevant Tags

The Cure (44), Grimes (29), Sleigh Bells (5), Tennis (7), Frankie Rose (8), David Bowie (83)