Paragraph Reviews 6/22/11

Music, Movies, Television, etc. Pop culture reviews for the short-attention-span Internet age.

Battles – Gloss Drop

While not nearly as interesting overall as the breakthrough Mirrored, the follow-up is a solid, energetic, easy progression from Battles’ previous work.  Now without their standout member Tyondai Braxton, the group has started from scratch, rising to the challenge of delivering a strong follow-up to one of the most acclaimed albums of the past ten years, and without the guy who was considered the bread and butter.  Battles have created a more accessible album, albeit not without a bit of filler here and there, but one that pairs up nicely, incorporating older Battles sounds with the driving punch of their breakout material.

Rating: 7

Ford & Lopatin – Channel Pressure

The duo formerly known as Games shell out some hooks straight from the 80’s so convincingly you’d think you’d just added the Miami Vice soundtrack to your iTunes library.  And that’s no accident; Channel Pressure was tracked at Jan Hammer’s home studio, the very individual who penned that legendary theme song.  As far as a get-to-know-you debut, the album sounds slick and glossy, appropriate for the duo’s finished product.  But the effort also shows initial strengths and glaring weaknesses; Ford & Lopatin are best upbeat, and a bit tired during the slow bits.

Rating: 7

Hooray For Earth – True Loves

I’ve been waiting quite a while now for the debut from this upbeat Brooklyn group, but I didn’t expect it required repeated listens to fully digest.  Beguiling leaked tracks like “Sails,” “No Love,” and the title track, while revealing Hooray For Earth’s keen sense of composing smart synth pop, didn’t give the full story – these cats are subdued.  The rest of the album is surprisingly more mid-tempo, while keeping consistent with the band’s knack for writing impossibly grand compositions to accompany their sharp hooks.  It feels like they aren’t showing us all the tricks up their sleeves just yet – seems to me like this is one group to watch for many years.

Rating: 8

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