Thursday, 23 June 2011

Archive - Controlling Crowds [2009]

Is it possible to get completely knocked out by an album twice, like if it was the very first listen? I wouldn’t think so, but hearing Archive live made me discover their last album like if I never heard it before. And well, that’s the main reason for making yet another tale of them!

Controlling Crowds consists of four parts that all together last well over two hours – and got a few release options – limited edition of parts I-III, standard I-III and IV or the stunning The Complete Edition Parts I-IV (which I have the luck to own and recommend;)) The unusual cut – 3 parts and 1 last separate is caused by the length of part IV – 48 minutes and 11 songs.

But from the beginning. The album is opened by the title track - Controlling Crowds – slowly evolving piece with trancing instrumentals and an amazing vocal performance by Pollard Berrier singing about his fears of modern society. The song fluently changes to Bullets with even more anxious, almost rapped vocals and catchy chorus (personal responsibilty!) – no wonder this song was chosen as first single and rising guitar wall – you can literally feel the temperature rising;) Not for long though – Words On Sings is a sad tune with piano, hidden violins and Dave Pen on vocals crushing girls’ (boys’ too probably) hearts yelling: /There’s nobody here for me now/ and again coming back to low-voice small talk.

Dangervisit once again hosts Pollard and presents one of the finest, most complex compositions on the album, made even greater by really varied vocalises, changes of rhythm and direction of songs. Really spectacular, especially live with its culmination point and Pollard’s dance. Quiet Time concludes part first and introduces yet another vocalist – rapper Rosko John supported in the end by Pollard. Why is this song so stunning? mix of guys’ voices, amazing bass line and again strings mixing with Darius&Danny key effects? I can’t tell for sure, but the heavens cried while they played it and so did I.

Part II brings an end to Pollardomination – we get first piece - Collapse/Collide - filled with Maria Q's voice and gripping combination of electronics and guitar section. The following Clones keep the style and atmosphere, but we’re back to Pollard, now doing a childish sweet melody – yet something changes! The guitars get more aggressive and loop less trancy, more dynamic. Little cracks prophecy a break and indeed Bastardised Ink is a all-Rosko track backed up only by flat melodies of guitar, simple loop and cut, shaky Maria ‘aaa’, nice, but rather pale compared to other songs.

Kings of Speed closes the part and is probably the easiest and most charming part of it. Nice guitar, stunning bass (great Mr Noyce) and well suiting loops. All that creates a great atmosphere and amazing, growing bridges, but the song wouldn’t be that good without Dave once again showing that his a master of simple, but fresh and charming melodies (perfect for humming all day long without a shame ‘you hum Gaga!:o’).

Part III puts on simple beginning – piano, bass, drums and Maria with her despising /you’re just a whore! and nothing more/ (Whore). But don’t get offended! Chaos is the loveliest, saddest ballade – pure and really simple – just Pollard and piano rising to forte outburst of emotion, strengthened by strings and female whispers. Pure beauty! Razed to the Ground belongs to Rosko and thanks to nice rhythm and pulsating hm... something! seems quite interesting even to the rapping-foes like myself;) Pollard closes with Funeral in a really splendid style, although to me – a little too splendid and too little emotional, but we still have...

Part IV to go. Released a couple of months later, the most different from others. It begins with Maria backed up by Pollard – Pills – fast, aggressive guitar wall broken by industrial electronic bridges. The singers’ cooperation is much more present and following Lines are the best proof – Rosko’s verses and Maria&Pollard chorus (not very original though – /Lines, Lines, la la la la la la Lines, Lines/). Another charming thing about it is broken rhythm – from waltz to classic hip-hop and backwards.

The Empty Bottle is Dave’s song and has a delightful video picturing him making weird faces while running;) but it’s beautiful in a cheerful, happy way even without it – great guitars, great effects, loops and Dave. Enough to become my third favourite! Remove is a pretty, a bit chillout ballad with Pollard, but I must mention, that concert version (hi, it’s me, Pol and this is my acoustic guitar) makes a much bigger impression on me.

Come On Get High is a more I-III parts stylised song with its slow, electronic passages and Pollard floating on the oceans of sadness. And of course a lovely guitar+choir in the second part. In Thought Conditioning Rosko raps to ‘We will, we will, rock you!!” only without backing vocals and with slightly changed lyrics;) The Feeling of Losing Everything is a piercing sad song pretty much in their old style and Blood in Numbers is Pollard’s rhythmic, nice but not really appealing to me composition. To the End is a strong point, often played live and really admirable with its simple piano melody and choir from whole collective.

puts a sad dialogue between loops, strings and Pollard. Though is it really sad? A hard one to figure out, I’d say. And we come to an end – Lunar Bender – leading us to outer space. The spacey instrumental  trips and shadowed voice of Pollard always make me think he’s drifting somewhere between Moon and Venus...

Let me leave you drifting with him, free to decide whether or not they seduced you. Me? yes, thousand times. Now, please, give me another opportunity to see you. How I love the chaos in you.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Luxtorpeda - Luxtorpeda [2011]

Luxtorpeda was one of the most famous polish trains (120 per hour in 1930s!), but a couple of months ago a certain famous man decided to bring back the glory to this name – this time in the musical area. Here I should give a detailed biography of Robert ‘Litza’ Friedrich pointing out his highlights, but for those of you who don’t know him – let you just know that during past 20 years he was recorded almost 40 albums and got involved in the number of great bands – mainly most famous polish metal bands and later on specific christian projects.

Finally, Litza decided to have a project of his own and created Luxtorpeda. Created it – as he claims – out of pure love for the guitar sound. So, he took his old, great, (70s if I remember well) guitar and got to work! After gathering a few folks and recording 10 great pieces, he got another brilliant idea. Let’s invite another vocalist to make the album rock even harder! So, this spring the train got last passenger – Hans – a rapper known from 52 Dębiec (and one of the few rappers I admire). Yet since they all admired the instrumental versions of the songs so much – you can find them on album as well (a non-bonus standard version).

Only Intro didn’t get vocals but a variety of powerful riffs instead (did I already mention that Litza is said to be the best polish riff-writer?) distorted in a few complementing ways and the drums rising the epic atmosphere.
Niezalogowany (Not logged in) begins with intense music mess and a bit stonerish riffs + Litza and Hans screaming the names of... keyboard keys. The short song talks about being independent from media and now so popular social networks. 

The atmosphere of Od Zera (From Zero) is less angry, more of a metal waltz (yeah, I’d dance to this one and headbang in the middle;)) with a huge part of Hans – two types of vocals remind a chat – quite suitable, cause the lyrics talk about the relationship problems. Honestly, I can’t think of any other band saying straight that after arguments you need to start from the beginning, hope and keep fighting for common good. No moaning about broken hearts here!

Autystyczny (Autistic) continues the lyrical path – explaining that superficial lack of attention and care about somebody doesn’t mean love’s end – simply everybody needs time for themselves sometimes and men have trouble showing emotions. Music is once again rising, energetic and a bit punky with an outro rapped part by Hans brilliantly summarising the song. So far, most admired song for most of fans.

Jestem Głupcem (I’m a fool) has a great sludge/stoner base and raw guitar furious solo. Mainly rapped, but Litza’s swinging parts near end are just stunning and kind of hilarious. Lyrics – nonconformist, being faithful to our own opinions and ignoring/fighting world’s lies.

Trafiony Zatopiony (Hit, floated) enters with a dull drum and simple, cut guitar and whisper suggesting we are looking for somebody. The song burst in a slightly triumphant atmosphere – the text explains we’re winning the fight with an evil ghost who tries to bring conflicts. The chorus of this song is really catchy and I predict lots of action on the concerts despite the slower bridges.

7 razy (7 times) during a day I fall. That is: let’s talk about our daily needs, egoism, falling and rising. A little less catchy to me, but great instrumental + Hans parts – especially just after 1.40 and rhythmical, almost sensual bridge from 2.40 to 3.00.

W ciemności (In the darkness) has one of my favourite intros ever. Strong low guitar and trancing, broken rhythm plus lowly speaking Litza. I dance! Here it’s Hans who sings (!) the chorus. Talking about the difficulty of making choices in present world, easiness of addiction and lack of self-love. Simply – ever present darrrrhhhkness. 

Yet 3000 świń (3000 pigs) bring back the lighter, rock atmosphere. Oh yeah, the results of trusting fashion, governments and so on. The failure of mass that is, so they ask again: are you going your way? The tension of song changes but mainly gets tougher when vocals come in. Nice, mocking solo with lovely bass in the background.

My personal favourite and a great final – Za wolność (For freedom) introduced by an ascetic but melodic riff holds a great vocals’ talk again – quite classically hip-hop Hans and classically metal Litza together rise a patriotic atmosphere of a real hymn, slightly calmed by the guitar’s melody and – am I the only one hearing violin? Mmm, they could make me a freedom martyr as well;)

Honestly, I have no clue if it’s the lyrics or music, both or a coincidence, but I haven’t been that charmed with a polish album for a long time! /ok, I don’t count recently reviewed TfN and Blindead but these are long-time loves;)/ Now, just play somewhere near to me guys!