Jillian Loe (14A14), Nathanael Clive Rajkumar (14S43), Keith Lau (14S63) and Jerome Lee (15S63)
Alt-V is for music lovers.
Specially curated by your dedicated columnists Jillian, Dante, Keith and Jerome, Alt-V is a regular instalment of album reviews, some written by the columnists themselves, and others based on the opinions of Victorians all around the school.
You’ve seen reviews in magazines and online about the latest and hippest music, fresh off the music press. You’ve seen Metacritic’s effort to grade every album upon 100 and decide exactly which of them are the most critically acclaimed. Here in the Alt-V labs (actually just the four of us losing sleep at our laptops lmao) we’ve decided that we don’t want to just keep up with the times, but rather come together to bring to Victorians the best blend of music possible.
That’s why our reviews aren’t arranged by date of release or even by rating.
Every week or so, we will feature several album reviews and all the albums will share one thing in common: all of the album art will be of the same colour.
The albums reviewed span a wide spectrum of genres, from electronic, hip hop, and alternative rock to mainstream pop tracks. We hope that by providing and reviewing vastly different albums you will learn about music completely foreign to you and come to appreciate the diversity in the music industry today. Every writer has brought their own personal opinions and writing style into the reviews and we hope this will showcase the many Victorians within our midsts who have unique tastes in music and culture.
This time around the albums featured are all RED and spans genres from hip hop to indie rock and country-pop.
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 ORANGE, feel free to contact any of the main writers of Alt-V.
The albums reviewed in this cycle:
- The Bones of What You Believe – Chvrches by Jerome
- El Pintor – Interpol by Keith
- My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy – Kanye West by Nathanael
- Red – Taylor Swift by Jillian
- Run the Jewels 2 – Run the Jewels by Nathanael feat. Sean Lim
- Matangi – M.I.A by Jillian feat. Lok Heng
The Bones of What You Believe – CHVRCHES
In a bid to minimise confusion with actual places of worship, the enigmatically-named synthpop trio CHVRCHES swapped the U in their name for a V. Since then, the group have lived up to their quirky origins, their first studio album The Bones Of What You Believe an alchemical combination of frontwoman Lauren Mayberry’s clear vocals layered over synths that wouldn’t sound out of place on an 80s arcade game. But make no mistakes, this album isn’t one for a single playthrough. Tumultuous, self-destructive relationships share space with sound that could pass for Depeche Mode or Purity Ring.
In “The Mother We Share”, the three craft a bittersweet pop anthem, juxtaposing bubbly synths with lines like “I’m in misery where you can seem as old as your omens”. Lauren’s lines in “Science and Visions” rise above murky, atmospheric synths and tumbling drum beats. “Gun” hurls threats like “I will be a gun, and it’s you I’ll come for” amid glittering electronica, before fading away in haunting echoes of Lauren’s voice. Normally working on instrumentals in the background, Martin Doherty rises to the occasion on two tracks on the album. While his singing lacks the immediacy and power of Lauren’s, his appearances on “You Saw The Light” and “Under The Tide” offer another dimension to the album. Don’t let their cute and fuzzy exteriors fool you. CHVRCHES has blended together a debut album with equal parts dysfunctional love, vulnerability and sugar-filled pop.
Overall Rating: 9/10
Fav Tracks: Lies, Science and Visions, The Mother We Share
Fav Lyric(s): Slow heart set free / a circuit of consciousness
Jerome Lee , 15S63
El Pintor – Interpol
Interpol began as a breath of fresh air in 2002 with their hit album, Turn on the Bright Lights, but quickly became stale. They began their legacy with a bang, starting with arguments with their public relations about artistic right and creativity, to having the courage to break out from the denim donning idols of rock at the time. Having personally enjoyed their debut, especially ‘Obstacle 1’, for its seemingly flawless guitar conversations and passionate lyrics of release and catharsis. It was quite disappointing that after 12 years and 3 full length albums later, El Pintor, was no different from what they started out with. El Pintor was a release that was most definitely enjoyable for me, a testament to their trademark passive yet urgent sound and mesmerizing bass riffs and melodic style. As much as I enjoyed it, it was admittedly uninspiring. El Pintor is the hallmark of a band riding off their past success. Followers of Interpol will be disappointed, but new listeners can look forward to tracks like ‘All the Rage Back Home’, ‘Breaker 1’, ‘Ancient Ways’ and ‘Tidal Wave’, which are reminiscent of their trademark dark and almost melodramatic progressive rock sound, similar to their big hits like ‘Obstacle 1’ and ‘Stella Was a Diver and She Was Always Down’.
Overall Rating: 7/10
Fav Tracks: All The Rage Back Home, Tidal Wave
“Be tame, you won’t need your maid inside / My faith won’t lie” – All the Rage Back Home
“Am I aping some old holiday / Some remnants of a wild side”
– Breaker 1
Keith Lau, 14S63