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Gentleman’s Dub Club FOURtyFOUR

It’s tough being a fan. After picking up FOURtyFOUR I was dubious as to whether Gentleman’s Dub Club could live up to their earlier album ‘Open Your Eyes’ which featured tracks such as ‘High Grade’, ‘Emergency’ and my personal favourite ‘Chronicles’. FOURtyFOUR sees Gentleman’s Dub Club going back to old reggae roots with a variety of classical reggae mixed with their trademark dub and 2 tone. As was to be expected, the album is ridden with social and political commentary, remaining in true reggae style. Tis eclectic selection of reggae styles adds dynamics to their new album, which at first listen, I was exceedingly sceptical of. Upon listening to the album again however, it definitely met the standard set by Open Your eyes, but is yet to surpass it. Gentleman’s Dub Club have definitely toned it down this time, although many tracks still retain the exuberant, energetic nature that encompassed the majority of their earlier tracks, many of their newer songs take a more relaxing approach, upholding the chilled, relaxing vibe that reggae started out as. Gentleman’s Dub Club smashed the ITunes Reggae charts this year with Open Your Eyes not having left the top 20 charts since its release. FOURtyFOUR has definitely exceeded my expectations. Tis is a band of brooding potential and I will definitely be keeping tabs on them.Hanna Huzel- Steele

Midlake Antiphon

What makes a band? Tose who feel the secret lies at the feet of the lead vocalist – especially those who are Midlake fans – will find themselves uneasy at the idea of a Midlake release after the news of the departure of vocalist, Tim Smith. What effect has it had on this, their fourth studio album? I have a certain affection for Tim Smith’s voice, which I find myself yearning a little for. I want to dial his number one more time, wait excitedly as the ringing tone does its job and put the phone down immediately after he answers, “Hello?” Yes I miss him, but in Eric Pulido, perhaps I have a partner for life. Tere’s a sympathy in Pulido’s voice towards how Smith sang, and it’s comforting, but there’s also a less flighty, earthy maturity to his vocals. Midake’s intricate harmonies won’t have the same dark and shade again, but there’s a positive to the shift. I think the songs have regained their strength in simplicity. Teir third album, ‘Te Courage of Others’ was slightly indulgent. Tey took their Pentangle-influenced, British folk loving homage to a slightly less accessible level. ‘Antiphon’ takes them back to their roots. Tey sound more American, more classic and there’s a feeling you’ve known the songs for years. ‘Antiphon’ is a perfect assertion to start with. It’s more impactful than ‘Te Courage of Others’, and it continues along that vein with the rolling drums of very 70s ‘Provider’. Te intention does trail off a little around half way, but it remains an enjoyable listen. In the realm of old folk stories, this is very much New Testament for Midlake, and I hope there’s chapters to come. Emma R. Garwood

Tey Might Be Giants Nanobots

Tey Might Be Giants have certainly evolved since creating the postmark for a generation, the Malcolm in the Middle theme tune in 2000 and ‘Nanobots’ being their 16th studio album, the progression of this American duo is evident. However, their signature alternative, happy-go-lucky songs are still present. Te album kicks off with ‘You’re on Fire!’, an explosive start that instantly hooks you to listen to the rest. Kooky sounds and seemingly trivial subject choices are how TMBG works, lives, breathes and creates their extremely unique but addictive sound and always have. Each song on the album seems to be influenced or inspired by every genre of music - from 50s surf Beach Boys-esque ‘Call you Mom’, pop punk skater ‘Circular Karate Chop’, that wouldn't be out of place on an early Blink 182 album - all the way to indefinable 40-second techno mess, ‘Sleep’. It’s like listening to a compilation album where none of the tracks relate... but it totally works. DEAR GOD it works. Nanobots is just classic TMBG with each song breaking all regular music conventions, such as 10- second long ‘Destroy the Past’ and ‘Tick’, 5-second ‘Hive Mind’ and 15-second long ‘Nouns’, ‘Decision Makers’ and ‘Tere’. Does it make sense? No! Do you think the CD is broken cause 5 songs in a row are so short? Yes! But it’s just brilliant. So if you're looking for a break from overplayed squeaky pop or still unsure what the difference between house and jungle is, Nanobots is for you. It’s simple, crazy but effective and will ALWAYS remind you of coming home and watching ‘Malcolm in the Middle’ after school.Freja Hoskins

40 /November 2013/

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