EDITORS — ‘Violence’
THE GOOD: British indie rock outfit Editors releases its sixth.
THE BAD: Grand ideas but halfhearted execution?
THE NITTY GRITTY: Editors has always been a traditional rock band that openly flirted with the electronic. Droning synths and layered rhythms never felt out of place on its guitar-heavy compositions. That’s certainly the case on “Violence.” Only here, the electronic stuff plays a much more prominent role, and many songs seem to be more about locking into a groove as opposed to the verse-chorusverse-
chorus structure.That’s both good AND bad. Take in “Violence” as a whole and the album works amazingly well as a progressive set piece, carrying us through songs both focused (“Hallelujah
(So Low)”) and sprawling (“Belong”). Pull it apart though, and some of the individual tracks
feel unfinished, like building blocks enhancing the overall experience but too weak to stand on their
own. This makes “Violence” one of Editors’ lesser efforts. It’s a worthy and captivating diversion but not
one of the group’s finest hours.
BUY IT?: Your choice.
ALBERT HAMMOND JR.—‘Francis Trouble’
THE GOOD: Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. releases his fourth solo outing.
THE BAD: Nope.
THE NITTY GRITTY: With every solo release, Hammond gets better, more focused and more confident. With “Trouble,” he finally completely steps OUT of the Strokes’ shadow. Seriously. If that band called it quits for good tomorrow, Hammond’s records could ease the pain to the point of any long-time Strokes fan not caring about the dissolution in the least bit. “Trouble” is THAT good. It’s a concept album of sorts, inspired by Hammond’s twin brother, a sibling lost in utero before Albert was even born. Some songs address “what could have been” while others explore different facets of the man’s own personality.
Just about every track is exquisitely constructed with the guy’s reserved yet powerful guitar prowess, soaring melodies (some of them reminiscent of the son’s brilliant father) and, now more than ever, Hammond’s emotional abilities as a front man. Mentioning individual tracks isn’t necessary. The entire record sparkles.
BUY IT?: You must.
FIELD MUSIC—‘Open Here’
THE GOOD: British indie progrockers Field Music come back with their sixth album (B-side comps and soundtracks NOT included).
THE BAD: Every Field Music record can be TOO clever. You warm up to these albums. It’s not necessarily bad, you just have to keep on your toes.
THE NITTY GRITTY: The band has always been made up of brothers David and Peter Brewis (the only permanent members) and an ever-changing roster of guests. And there have been some major changes in both men’s lives since 2016’s “Commontime”— personally (fatherhood) and globally (Brexit).
So there are political themes coursing through the album, as the guys attempt to make sense of what’s going on not only for their own piece of mind but also that of their young children. Musically, “Open Here” is that easily identified mix of jittery indie rock, modern soul, classical bits, postpunk overtones and unpredictable arrangements. Stylistic partners with contemporaries Wild Beasts and British Sea Power or the second coming of formative 10cc? Could be both.
BUY IT?: Your call.