Ones that got away 2004 David Bennun
Available now from Ebury Press:

British As A
Second Language

More details here
Click here to buy it

Also published by Ebury:
Dave's
highly acclaimed African memoir
Tick Bite Fever



This page is part of David Bennun's online journalism archive. Main Index




Ones that got away 2004
[The Mail On Sunday, 2004]




WHILE 2004 wasn't a vintage year for albums, it's worth mentioning a few that slipped through the reviews net. In alternative rock, post-punk/new wave retro still held sway. The question wasn't whether to copy, but how well. Sacramento's !!! (pronounced chk chk chk) did a creditable job with Cabaret Voltaire and A Certain Ratio on Louden Up Now (Warp, ***): foul mouthed insurrectionist electro-funk jams for white punks to shake their bony butts to.
 With their second album, Interpol set out to demonstrate that they're more than American Joy Division buffs. They failed - but still turned out an admirable record. The sweep and drone of Antics (Matador, ***) mimics not only their heroes' style, but also that capacity to at once unsettle and exhilarate the listener.
 So strong was their soupy debut, Youth and Young Manhood, that grizzled-before-their-time backwoods rockers Kings of Leon had even more to prove with the follow-up. Although it contains a clutch of fine songs, Aha Shake Heartbreak (HandMeDown, ***) has the air of an afterthought or a stopgap. Oddly, after being mistakenly compared to The Strokes first time around, KoL have now started to sound like them. Only better. Much better.
 Gruff Glasgow outfit Biffy Clyro merit a doff of the cap both for what they're not (derivative) and what they are (fierce and imposing.) Anyone who fancies the idea of a less obvious Muse would do well to give Infinity Land (Beggars Banquet, ****) a play. It mixes raw, visceral force with surprising complexity and intermittent melodic sweetness.
 Much the same could be said of a quite different band, Washington DC bred The Walkmen. The enthralling, intense Bows and Arrows (Record Collection, ****) suggests Bob Dylan and U2 hobnobbing with the post-rock avant-garde, and is very good indeed.
 Kanye West, like OutKast last year, showed that commercial hip hop need not equal leaden inanity. The College Dropout (Roc-a-Fella, ****) is an album and a half - specifically, a brilliant album, and half of a rather dull one, as the gospel-driven fluidity peters out towards the end.
 A sameness has inevitably spread across the ever-swelling alt.country/Americana movement. Among the honourable exceptions: Richmond Fontaine. Post to Wire (El Cortez, ****) is a sad, subtle, richly textured evocation of small-town life which sinks its roots deeper with each listen.
 Country Got Soul Volume Two (Casual, *****) is a second sublime overview of the territory once shared in the US South by the cowboy-hat and chitlin circuits. The races may have been segregated, but music was not so easily divided. A superb compilation.





All material on this site is copyrighted to David Bennun and may not be reprinted or reused without permission, mmkay?.

Back to Music Reviews Back to Pop
Back to Main Index
Mail

Looking for David Bennum, Dave Bennun or Dave Bennum? Might be me, or might be a similarly named scientist chap.
Text to separate 1Text to separate
Text to separate 1Tick Bite FeverText to separateBritish As A
Second Language