Office Party - Peaking Lights, NEW BUILD & Marconi Union

This week we listened to New Build, Peaking Lights and Marconi Union...

Office Party - Peaking Lights, NEW BUILD & Marconi Union

This week we listened to New Build, Peaking Lights and Marconi Union...

So as we all sit in the office staring at our screens, chowing down on the latest um cha, um cha we've decided we should address some of the 'larger' as well as the more obscure releases of recent weeks via the medium of a few words from each of those who care to contribute each week. 

Think we've got it wrong? By all means sling us abuse in the comments below... 

Peaking Lights - Cosmic Logic

Ian says...

This one opens real strong, it’s taken the naïf discordant vocals that flavoured a horde of 80s and 90s US indie titans (think B-52s/ Tom Tom Club/ Sonic Youth/ Le Tigre) and bundled it off to a candy coloured dance world. There’s a kinda J-Pop jerkiness to the cutesy beats – less PC Music style art-students-wanking-over-ironic-EDM cutesiness, more imagined 80s synth plink plonk cutesiness, which turns out to be quite charming. If we’re being critical, there’s not many dimensions on offer – disco bass lines and badly sung vocals are pretty much par for the course. Still, in this age of artists cranking out albums that contain more genres than chord changes, it’s hard to find fault with a band wanting to stay coherent. And whilst there’s nothing that immediately reaches the heartbroken balladry of their modern classic, Hey Sparrow, it still feels like a great post punk record to me, equal parts playful, weird, and fresh. Definitely my pick of the week.

Wil says… 

I was a bit like “yeah nothing’s as good on the album as the single” but after a 3rd listen I’m all over this. I love the fact she can’t really sing. Reminiscent of all the best post-punk-isms. If Tom Tom Club had been born today… or at least got their hands round more electronics. I’m a fan is what I'm trying to say. 

Neto says...

“calling all, calling all the human race” warbles the insipid vocalist on Telephone call. If I could respond to her in real time I might say something along the lines of “fuck off with your anodyne intergalactic schtick”. But I can’t, so I’ll reserve my vitriolic comments for a probably non-existant encounter. 

Ciaran says…

Wow. I mean, I knew it would be good but I didn't expect this. Having only had brief experiences with his work before, I was stunned to see such versatility - particularly in terms of vocal approach. I mean, the only thing I could relate him to in the past was when he played The Scarecrow in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. Hearing the thick Brummie accent and seeing a wonderful acting turn from Cillian Murphy made the show well worth watching.

What?

Who are Peaking Lights? I thought we were watching Peaky Blinders?

New Build - Pour It On

Neto says...

I have to make an admission: the majority of Hot Chip’s - and their various side projects- releases have for some reason never particularly ‘grabbed’ me. They lacked that inexplicable element that cements certain pieces of music in your head as something profoundly intimate that you wanted to share with everyone you knew. This is odd considering their music often has the interlinked ingredients I find crucial in good pop music (great production, well written, catchy, emotive and alternately sincere and playful). New Build’s LP however is a case of all these elements entering into a coalition with that mystery element to establish an incredible landscape of anthemic choruses, lush synth motifs and searing electronics. Pure fucking alchemy. The fact that certain tracks on Pour It On move with House’s driving rhythms only deepens my wide eyed love of this record, though it’s Al Doyle’s  earnest vocal delivery that pretty much cinches this for me.  

On a side note, what gives with the name? Given the liveliness and character of the music, I can only guess that New Build is some ironic in-joke. How postmodern. 

Ian says…

Does anyone remember when the two in New Order that weren’t Hookie or Bernard Sumner went off and started their own New Order-lite outfit called, with true pathos, ‘The Other Two’? 
I’d completely forgotten about them until I listened to this New Build record earnestly striving to be a Hot Chip record. Not working for me. 

Wil Says… 

It does sound a bit like a cut price Hot Chip at times… but Pour It On as a closer is without doubt a massive emotive banger. Peter Gabriel seems to be all over the place with his influences at the moment. That one’ll definitely stay in the itunes library! 

Ciaran says…

Ah I love these guys! (Strap yourselves in, I'm taking this one seriously!) There are some absolutely cracking tracks on this album, not least the epic Pour It On which is one of the strongest album closers I've heard in quite some time. Seeing them a few weeks back and watching steel pans accompany electronic efficiency was a sheer delight. There's the occasional sound that might not agree with everyone's ears but it's no surprise that 6Music have been giving them loads of love as this a belter of an album.

(Written by Ciaran Steward, Social Media Manager for Spun Out Agency, conveniently Hot Chip-related…)

Marconi Union - Weightless (Ambient Transmissions Vol.2 )

Ian says...

In the early 90s my mum went through a radical crystal healing phase. She started buying new age synth albums from a yellowing indoor market that catered to hippies, comic book readers and people who wanted to buy furniture that smelt of dead strangers. One time, whilst having my mates stay for a sleep-over, I played one of these same new age albums. My friend Nobby, a Guns n Roses fan, mercilessly took the piss. Now Axl Rose is a fat hasbeen joke and the same drifting new age bollocks is totally hip. Who’s laughing now HUH!!

Neto says...

I’m deeply ambivalent about drone. On certain occasions some pieces have invoked what I can only clumsily describe as a quasi-spiritual happening, where for the duration of the track the world appears boundless; most of the time I find myself bored shitless after the first timbral wash drifts languidly in and quickly change track. Rather tellingly most of my favourite drone tracks have been made by Techno producers (see Sigha’s Aokigahara & Something Between Us) who generally have an intimate understanding of what appeals to slightly delirious, hypersensitive minds. Unfortunately, Weightless falls into the latter boring camp:  87 minutes of pacified monotony for New Age spiritualists and SSRI chewing neurotics.

Don’t waste your time. 

Wil Says...

"Take all the boring bits for The Orb and stretch em out."  "Sometimes it's good to have an album you can have on and drift away to and not think about at work." A. Whittaker (office)
Personally I can do with this sort of shit every now and again in the week. Takes the anxiety out of the doof, doof. 
Right, now where's that flotation tank...

Ciaran says…

Weightless is a rather apt title for this as I feel like I'm drifting away on a cloud. As I soar high through the skies I…

Sorry, must have fallen asleep there, what was I saying? Oh yes, like a soft, soothing medicine for your ears this will have you out like a light as if you were preparing for a massage with the beautiful…

Christ, it happened again. Third time lucky… Is this the spiritual land of Nirvana? Not quite, I'd like to think that there's more to do and see there than there is on this…

Nope, not going to be able to keep my eyes open for this one. NEXT!


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