Stimulus: Justice – Audio, Video, Disco
This is an album with a hot single that doesn’t do much to back it up. “Civilization” is a towering work of synthpop that is easily one of my favorite songs of the year, but most of its support on Audio, Video, Disco is subdued and listless. “Horsepower” is a wicked orchestral lead-in to the greater single, but it doesn’t stand by itself. The concluding trilogy of “New Lands,” “Helix,” and “Audio, Video, Disco” are decently exciting dance tracks, but they blow off no doors. In contrast, more conceptual electronic pieces like “Ohio” and “Parade” just come off as overproduced and jaded. I’d recommend “Civilization” without a second’s hesitation, but as for the rest, it’s kind of hit or miss.
Stimulus: Camille Bloom and the Recovery – Never out of Time
Never out of Time is the sort of introspective yet occasionally aggressive acoustic rock album that fills out a conventional band’s sound with some bowed strings for added depth. It’s a very practical entry in the field. The lyrics and vocals, while pretty typical angry anguished solitary fare, work well with the surrounding music and make a listenable whole.
I’m rarely in the mood for songs with acoustic guitars in full rock out mode, so I gravitated towards the quieter songs on this album, in particular “All of These Stains,” which is a pretty little sad song full of that added depth. But the louder stuff isn’t exactly abrasive; “Just Because I’m a Friend” and “Why?” are the best examples of a canny sensibility that doesn’t throw architecture to the wind once the tempo picks up. The only odd moment on the album is the bonus track “Teeny Car,” in which Camille Bloom raps alongside some vintage 80s electro. It’s obviously not meant to fit in with the rest of the songs, which eliminates none of its strangeness.
The strength here comes more from the background than the front, and in supporting Camille Bloom, the Recovery excels.
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