Crush – Abe Vigoda (Review and Such)

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If one were to listen to Crush expecting Skeleton pt.2 he or she would be very confused. While traces of what Abe Vigoda once were are still apparent on this record, influences seem more akin to Manchester circa 78, than the tropics. It’s also a less squealy album that seem more clean. The most mind-blowing facet of this album is the consistency. From the first track to the last, nothing falls short of the standard that is set. Every element of the album coexists happily, which might seem like a weird notion to an older Abe Vigoda fan, but if one puts his or her prejudices aside and listens to this album with unbiased ears, there is a good chance it will rise to the their personal best of ’10 lists. The title track, “Crush”, is a good introduction to this new sound, displaying even cleaner vocals than Reviver and showing a new level of conciseness within a single track. This undoubtedly different stylistic direction seams to be fully realized across the album, and the first track, “Sequins” is a perfect example of this. The guitar intro is distinctly Abe Vigoda in it’s timbre and timing, but the vibe or the riff is much cleaner than previous works. The moment that took The Islander aback is when the synths come in. In short, they work perfectly. They add a sense of fullness to the song, and round out the instrumentation. “Pure Violence” is a bit washy, but the almost floating nature of the tune perfectly compliments the melody, and energy of the song. The vocals sound very new romantic, intertwined guitar parts make the backing track very thick. The most striking feature of this song is almost Psychedelic Fursy hook, which manages to be melancholy and bold at the same time.

The Islander’s two favorite tracks are “Beverly Slope” and “Dream of My Love (Chasing After You).” The former is song on the album that is the most different from anything the band has done before. The drum part is extremely interesting, and drives the song along. One guitar part adds an eerie atmospheric backdrop, and the other textures the song. The vocals are also very atmospheric, and it’s very easy to just zone out and get lost in the flowing energy of the track. When “Beverly Slope” dissolves into noise, it becomes apparent that no other ending would do the song justice. The latter song is extremely intense. The song starts with an almost helicopter like guitar riff, and immediately a simple synth part enters the mix. The two work together very well. The vocal melody sounds like early Roxy Music, and the harsher synth part is sounds Eno influenced. The vocals turn into a very Joy Division like part. The intensity builds and builds and then the song is over. The entire album is phenomenal, and amazingly, it translates into a live environment. The Islander absolutely recommends this album to anyone.
Crush – Abe Vigoda

Guest Post #1: Bill Gray (Former Mae Shi)

Nosferatu

My girlfriend came home with this record a couple years back (Nosferatu – Hugh Cornwell and Robert Williams) and i’ve been yammerin about it ever since. Spookysounds, quirky electronics and overall goofiness of this record make it perfect for your mid September Halloween pre parties. This whole project was an attempt to jump start Hugh Cornwell’s solo career just in case the stranglers broke up. Like most good things it failed to make the charts and the stranglers went on into the 80’s so this ended up getting buried and almost completely forgotten about . The best part of this record are the guest musicians who just pop up everywhere, Robert Williams (Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band) was Cornwell’s main collaborator on these songs but it also includes Ian Dury, Ian Underwood (Frank Zappa’s band) and on this track Mark and Bob Mothersbaugh with Mark taking the lead vocal and killin’ it. Its all very weird but essential to all the stranglers fans and devotee’s out there. Hoorah.

-Bill Gray

E-Rhythmic Itch – Hugh Cornwell and Robert Williams

Layered

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Thesaurus Club is kind of a mystery, and all The Islander knows about them is that they are British and joined myspace in late 2006. Despite the fact that there is a disappointing shortage of facts about the group, their music is still really able to connect with. Their harmonies are complex, but not convoluted. Everything about Thesaurus Club’s sound is very natural, nothing about their music sounds at all forced. “today tomorrow wednesday” is a really calm song that’s sort of, just, I guess, charming.

today tomorrow wednesday – Thesaurus Club

Serious-Face, Ps

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Traps, Ps are currently in their second incarnation. Initially the band was Andrew (guitar/vox), Debbie (bass), Mark (percussion), and Mike (drums), and currently their line-up is Andrew (guitar/vox), Miles of Moses Campbell (drums), and Danny of Rare Grooves (bass). The Islander has only seen the current band preform, but really enjoyed it. The show was well, danceable, which is sometimes the best quality a show can have. Everyone in the audience was having a good time, and it was clear that the band was having fun as well. Their sound makes The Islander feel like he is listening to Television covering Gang of Four, which is much weird in concept than it is in reality. On the track “Prove It To You” the band displays ridiculous amounts of potential. The song starts with drums, and then vocals and a bass part come in. In the last twenty seconds in when the song really picks up and the whole band comes in. This song was written and recorded by the former line-up and while it is quite fun, the newer material was a bit more developed and even more enjoyable. If one has a chance to see them, it is absolutely worth it.

Prove It To You – Traps, Ps