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Fun: Some Nights
For energised tracks that set a listener on an inspired road, the American indie-pop band Fun hits the spot with a genre of upbeat music accompanied by the gifted vocals of Nate Ruess that, in the right moment, resemble Freddie Mercury’s vocal flexibility. The positive vibes on the band’s second album, Some Nights, is doubled with an undeniable enthusiastic theme matched with memorable melodies.
One example of such memorable tunes is the successful collaboration with soul musician Janelle Monáe. ‘We Are Young’, which might be considered the band’s introductory single for some, has a tempo change that complements the already unique rhythm belonging to the motivating lyrics. The first track of the album, titled ‘Intro’, offers a sneak peak to what the rest of the album holds.
Once the album kicks in with ‘Some Nights’, the drum line and marching beats that listeners have been waiting for surface. It goes a bit overboard in ‘It Gets Better’ with exaggerated 90’s pop keyboard tricks, but luckily it calms down in ‘Why Am I the One’; which has a soft guitar intro and allows Ruess’s voice to stand out in a swaying melody that is simple and capturing at the same time.
Even though some lyrics are depressing, such as ‘I feel so all alone’, the band manages to express them in a bubbly manner that doesn’t leave a sad impression. However Some Nights falls in a pit with ‘Stars’; which is by far the worst track on the album. It’s difficult to understand why a band that has a great vocalist would resort to using an annoying auto-tune technique that just ruins the song.
With the exception of ‘Stars’, the good thing about Some Nights is its lack of cheesy and predictable lyrics; and while the songs are moving and lyrically deep, they come out clean of any repetition or exaggerated drama.
It doesn’t feel like Some Nights has any filler tracks that are just there for the sake of quantity; each song has a life and a character of its own. Maybe there are some weaker links when compared to the stronger tracks of the album, but still, the album overall is definitely a good mood-setter that shouldn’t be missed out on.
Album opener ‘San Angeles’ will get feet moving and booties shaking, but the rest of the album is decidedly more post-rock oriented. The influences of Pink Floyd only really make a grand appearance on psychedelic tune ‘Lunar Drift’, with its spooky synths and echoing bass line.
‘The Eliminator’ takes the listener back to the eighties again, as the repetitive electronic beat that is used sounds a lot like the 8-bit sounds that were the backdrop for many early eighties video games. Imagine the aforementioned desert wasteland turning 8-bit coloured.
The eighties also dominate in the strummed intro to ‘Martin Rev’, evoking memories of Survivor’s ‘Eye of the Tiger’. You’d almost think the guys of Maserati had wished they were making music a few decades ago.
Divisive British indie-rock band, the Kooks, are is back at it with their fourth studio album, Listen. The band’s previous album, Junk of the Heart, was ill-received by both fans and critics, and the pressure has very much been on.
'Around Town' opens the album with a ridiculously upbeat, retro tone that you will almost certainly find your feet tapping away to; a quite surprising start that signals an even more surprising pattern for the rest of the album.
Though the distinctively different sound is explicit, the band still manages to retain a degree of familiarity, as to not alienate fans. Said retro vibe is very much present throughout the rest of the album, with 'Forgive & Forget' following through with a 70s/80s influence.
'West Side' comes along and changes up the sound of the album to something a bit mellower with a sleeker beat, allowing Luke Pritchard’s utterly distinctive vocals to shine. Just as you start to settle get into the nostalgic influences, 'See Me Now' slaps you out of that comfort, with Pritchard’s vocals taking a more melancholic tone as he laments about adolescent mistakes to his late father; a touchingly soulful tribute.
It Was London, however, sets the album back on the same track and the influences of yesteryear colour the track with the electric guitar dominating its sound, fuelled by political muses as it narrates riots and mayhem. Saying 'Bad Habit' is catchy would be an understatement; it's a typically infesting Kooks sing-along that is likely to follow you for days - whether you like it or not.
The catchy tunes continue from here, with 'Down and Electric Heart', while 'Sunrise' sees Pritchard seductively makes an entrance chanting “I want you, to show me the way to your heart.”
The album closes off with 'Sweet Emotion' - the album's closest encounter with romance whose piano solo provides a fitting finale.
While this is far from being a revolutionary album, Listen does signal the Kooks' return to form for fans, offering a clean-cut, freshly rejuvenated twist on their usual sound. Detractors, however, will find plenty to pick at.