Jillian Loe (14A14), Nathanael Clive Rajkumar (14S43), Keith Lau (14S63) and Jerome Lee (15S63)
Alt-V is back again with another set of album reviews for the discerning VJ reader. Our previous cycle presented six albums in total, all with red album covers. In keeping with the rainbow theme, this time all the albums selected have ORANGE coloured artwork, and once again we hope that by providing and reviewing our selection you will learn about music completely foreign to you and come to appreciate the mad diversity in the music industry today.
Once again, each of the four main writers has brought their own personal opinions and writing style into the reviews and as much as possible we try to keep it varied and exciting, and we hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed writing them!
In addition, we also encourage Victorians to be open and share about their own individual music tastes too. For example, the red cycle included reviews featuring VJ students Sean Lim from 14S43 and Leung Lok Heng from 14S33, and we hope that more Victorians will add to this community.
If your curiosity has been piqued after reading any of the reviews, don’t be afraid to approach any of the writers or interviewees to find out more about the albums and artists. And if you would like to contribute to the next article (which will be centred around the colour YELLOW), feel free to contact any of the main writers of Alt-V because we are more than willing to get in touch with you guys!
Albums reviewed in this cycle:
- Mogwai, Rock Action by Keith
- dead prez, Let’s Get Free by Nat
- OneRepublic, Native by Nat
- The Smiths, Louder Than Bombs by Keith
Mogwai, Rock Action
Rock Action is a statement from Mogwai. To give some context Mogwai is a post rock instrumental band that specialises in apocalyptic sounding melodies mainly consisting of guitar plucking and sonic noise. Their claim to fame came with their extraordinary debut album Young Team produced in 1997. Many praised the album for its production quality as well as its energy and apocalyptic, dark, noise-heavy tracks such as ‘Mogwai Fear Satan’. The following album in 1999 ‘Come on Die Young’ turned out to be quite a disappointing follow up as the band proceeded to ease on the noise and the dark urgent sound, opting for a more melodic and calm theme in general. From Mogwai’s tracks, one can easily tell that they are not a band of words, they are a band of action. Rock Action, Produced in 2001 was a response to the critics of their previous album. The band went back to producing sonic terror immediately. To say that Rock Action is a replica of Young Team is admittedly, partially true. However, Rock Action is a much more moderately paced album, and held a good balance between the soundtrack of nuclear fallout and the lullaby of a gentle mid-afternoon nap. One of my favourite tracks from Rock Action, ‘Take Me Somewhere Nice’ is the optimal example balance in this album. It is a beautiful midpoint between the overwhelming sounds of violent guitar plucking, as well as their immaculate and artful yet sparse piano work. Perhaps their standout track from this album would be ‘You Don’t Know Jesus’. A comforting throwback to 4 years ago, showing the world that Mogwai still haven’t lost their terrorizing guitar riffs, sharp and clean drums and signature noise manipulation. Rock Action to me is an amazing and personal album as their track ‘Take Me Somewhere Nice’ was my gateway into the tranquil yet discomforting world of noise and post rock, leading onto many artists such as Explosions in the Sky and Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
To sum up this album in a couple of sentences, the mumbled vocals and quiet nuances of noise put one into a rather existential mood, allowing us to feel the truncate embrace of humanity, a calm and careful sericulturist, tending to the silken folk of our mental fibres. Listening to Rock Action in sequence gaplessly is like watching a withering process, like a flare reaching its hottest point halfway through its burning cycle, only to dim and cease. Besides the band itself, their producer, Dave Friddman, has contributed greatly to this artfully executed record with its astounding balance of guitar picking, dark noise, hushed vocals. Albeit not as well structured as their debut, it is extremely commendable as not many bands can brag on putting out an album of such high calibre while making a statement against their detractors and slowly shifting their music direction.
Favourite lyrics: (There are no lyrics).