First of all, I would like to apologize to everyone who's music I've been neglecting over the past week. It's not my fault though, blame Mussels
. Ever since I acquired their new album, Little Voices
, everything else has been put on hold. This album is officially my #2 favorite album of 2007 so far, just behind LCD. I was nervous about whether or not I would like this album, after obsessing over their '05 Night Lights
EP all last year. I was hoping that it wouldn't be the Outgoing Behavior
to Crystal Skulls' Blocked Numbers
, and be good, but not quite live up to my hopes. (Quick side note - Have Crystal Skulls
broken up? Their Myspace hasn't been updated in eons, their website has vanished. No CMJ. No SXSW. No word about them from Suicide Squeeze in forever. Hmmmmm). Well fear not! This album has not only lived up to the EP, but has taken their sound to another level. Eeck. Sorry for all the cliches, but I really really dig this album.
Besides the usual positive elements: catchy songs, good song writing, the lack of weak songs, two themes that really stand out to me are the track order, which is very important with this style of music, and the production. So here we go. Pressing play.
1) Don't Leave Your Coffee On The Bar
Hooks me from the first riff. And builds and layers. Here come the vocals. So crisp. I can actually hear what they are saying! But wait. What's this. Pause. And there it is. That's what I love about this band. All of a sudden they hit you up side the head. This one is short. But now I'm pumped up and into it.
2) I Would Have Met You For Dinner (But I'm Fucking Crazy)
Crazy guitar opening. Rolling Drums. And now we are moving. Welcome to Musselsland. And then there's the organ. Wolf Parade fans rejoice!!! So much fun stuff happening in this song, but the lead guitar is the real hero on this one. Comes to a nice crash at the end.
3) Boat on Land
This is the first taste of what I was talking about with the track order. Needed a nice lil break after thrashing about with those first two. Now I can catch my breath. More delicious Wolforgan. And fuck. The vocals are amazing on this album. I need to get a lyric sheet from them. The break doesn't last long though, cause here comes that lead guitar again. And the vocals and guitar dance around together perfectly. Rise rise rise. Fall. Strum strum strum. I think I can keep her steady. If we never let it get to heavy. Heavy. Beautiful. Love the imagery. I'm rocking around in my chair listening to this. Repeat. Then the fun little whispers. Twin guitar stroll through the park. This one is an underdog.
4) Cannon On A Clothesline
First time I heard this I screamed "YES!!!" The production of this album is starting to really shine. What an opening. I passed the torch to you. AND I WANT IT BACK. never meant to.... So I want it back. can't get enough of that organ. And here come the first of the two great, and very obvious, homages. Madonna. Brilliant. So fun when they add those little Easter eggs. Great guitar riff before the morning. ORGAN ORGAN ORGAN. Might need to get up and dance around a little. This song is going to slay me live, now that I have really gotten a handle of it. How could you miss the morning. Have I mentioned the drumming yet? Well there ya go. I just did. Excellent little touches move this one along. Pace quickens. It all comes together. And gently washes back.
5) It's Coming Down
Very playful beginning. Tasty transition. But then smash. BANG. This is the hardest we have rocked so far. Very vintage Mussels here. SCREAM! Head is banging, bobbing. Close my eyes. Just for a little while. And this!!!!!! So much harder than the rest!!! Lead, rhythm, and bass are really fighting for attention on this one. Vocals get a lil drowned out, but in a good way? A tad short though. I would love for them to jam this one out just a touch longer when they play it live.
6) Little Voices
The single. At least IMHO. Drumssssss. LEAD. oh fuck it. Sparks the lighter, waves over head. This song is my new national anthem. OPEN MINDS ARE HARD TO ORGANIZE. The vocal back and forth is...so choice. What can i say. Doves are crying. homage #2. Now I am tearing a little. Also can't help but smirk a little. What a jam there in the middle. I'm going to stop typing for a little and just listen. Let the pros get down to the nitty with this one. EPIC. Fuck. That second lead guitar explosion is my fav riff of '07. A crashing end for a brutal song.
7) Power Drill
Phew. I needed this. THANK god this song is here. Anything else would have been completely overshadowed. It's pleasant. It's still taking us in the right direction. But it gives me a break and gets me ready for the next peak.
8) My Hands Your Heart
Ahhhh....c'est l'amore. Whoever this song was written for must feel pretty good right about now. At least I think. Right? Scissor guitars cut me. Drumming and bassssssss. This song is sing along. Need lyrics. Did I mention the drums and bass. The spotlight is on you guys. Those jammy sections are like EITS on crack. WOOOOOOAAAAAAhhhhh. Sooo much going on in this one. Demands repeat listens. Come to think of it. Repeat. mmmmmmm. 2nd best song on the album.
9) Wake Up Boy, LOOK ALIVE!
Another nice break. This is when you really begin to realize what a good job they did with the track order. Don't wear out your welcome. EXACTLY. This song would be perfect for an acoustic, in-store performance. HINT HINT. But it isn't a departure from their sound. It's gentle, but it still has their fingerprints all over the shiny parts. And still manages to find a way to rock. The fast paced end picks you right back up again. The highlight is that part where everything cuts out and the lead gets the spot light. VERY I Might Be Wrong (for the record, my favorite RH song, live and on record. And I always get pissed when the band doesn't just let jonny play when they do it live, but they have stopped doing that recently).
10) Everyone's Stealing My Ideas
Speaking of RH. hehe. The title of this songs is appropriate. And I don't mean that in a bad way. I have no problem at all with people taking a good idea and running with it. In this case, Arcade Fire's Haiti? maybe? This one kinda ventures into new territory. It's a grower. Wasn't crazy about it at first, but now it is really sinking it's teeth in me. Shake shake shake shake. I'm bringing a shaker to their next show, in case they play this song. A little bit of Weezer in there too. And I really like the steel drummish keys. The lyrics are so thoughtful here. Love the line about the camera eyes. The production is so solid and I think this song makes that clear. Why not push the vocals a little closer to the front row? Plant another seed. Crank shit out of me. We're approaching the end
11) Thank You, Goodnight.
What a fitting ending. This is Mussels' version of Late Greats, sort of. Wraps it all up. Gives you taste of everything you have just experienced. Sounds like it would be a fun way to end a great set too, before coming back for an encore. This one could have fitted in well on their EP, but was destined to summarize this fantastic album.
I'm embarrassed. I don't usually gush like this. Probably won't do something like this again for a while. And hey Mussels, I love this album and all, but don't think this gets you off the hook. You still better play some songs off the EP!!!
Previously:Mussels - Little Voices Finished, Record ReleaseDisclaimer - Yes, the band is playing my next show. And no, that had no effect on my opinion of this album. If you have a problem with that, well, whatever.