Sunday, August 1, 2010

Album Briefs: Delorean, Ween, R.E.M.

Delorean: Subiza
[Mushroom Pillow 2010]


There's not a single cloud in the sky when Subiza is spinning.  Full of club-ready beats but sun-drenched with airy Mediterranean charm, Delorean's third but indisputably breakthrough LP is a dreamy summer dance record living on nothing but good vibes.  A focus on rich atmospherics and recognizable pop structures makes Subiza too smart for the standard night club, but the strong Balearic influences keep intact the warm ecstasy of beachside dance parties.  While the formula becomes a bit repetitive, with many of the tracks filling similar four-and-a-half minute frames, the music suggests that you're not meant to be fully conscious, but rather blissfully lost in the haze.

Ween: The Mollusk
[Elektra 1997]


Ween is Ween. Despite this being the first Ween album I've gotten into, it's clear that for almost 25 years the experimental Pennsylvania duo have established a legacy of charting their own ultra-quirky, often hilarious brand of alt-rock. Considered by many to be their pinnacle, The Mollusk is a scatterbrained gem unified by a whimsical nautical theme. It's categorically all over the map, skipping from showtune ("I'm Dancing in the Show Tonight") to faux prog-rock (the uproariously satirical title track) to sea shanty ("The Blarney Stone") to fast-paced riff-rock ("Waving My Dick in the Wind").  The Mollusk is full to the brim with side-splitting one-liners, but the songs themselves are thoughtfully crafted and convincing (particularly "Ocean Man" of Spongebob Squarepants fame).  Still, The Mollusk is for a rather silly mood, and I haven't been able to get over this album as a (however accomplished) joke record that's disjointed enough for me to simply pick and choose songs of the moment.

 R.E.M.: Accelerate
[Warner Bros. 2008]


I've accepted that the R.E.M. that I most adore is not coming back (Murmur and Reckoning era, that is), but so it goes.  More propulsive alt-rock has been their angle for a while since then with some still fantastic hits... and a good number of misses.  And at this point, Accelerate was needed to stop the bleeding, and it did. Most of the tracks are melodic frazzled-edge rockers for the masses that don't have the endurance of R.E.M.'s best, but Accelerate is still competent and enjoyable, which signals the band on a modest rebound.  Judging from the excellent "Horse to Water", you could even say that, while perhaps not on the surface, deep down, they still got it.

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