Lemon Memory – Menace Beach
From the opening track, it instantly becomes clear where Menace Beach is from — confirmed by a quick Google search — they’re UK-based. Leeds, if we really want to get picky. Even though this is their second full length album, it sounds more like a debut album assembled from demos that were recorded on the cheapest cassettes possible.
I’ve been told numerous times to never describe a sound as “crunchy,” but I’ve also been told that rules are meant to be broken for the right reasons. So I’m going to come out and say it: this album is crunchy. Not in a satisfying fresh potato chip way, it’s more the crunch of a potato chip that has been left out for just a little too long. A stale crunch, if you will.
And stale is the perfect way to describe this album. It sounds like it came from the mid-00s British Invasion, but not in a good way. I was hoping for the album to get better, but it never did. Instead, as I was listening to it I felt the lead in some angsty indie film that only speaks to 16 year-olds.
Low Colour – The April Fools Childrenhood
Normally I don’t get stumped with what to say in an album review. Usually there are multiple things I can say about an album — good or bad. But with Low Colour I have just one: YES.
Yes, there are strong vocals. Yes, the lyrics actually make sense. Yes, there is a progression of tracks. Yes, I did get goosebumps.
I will take a moment to realize that while the sad indie boy vibe might not work for everyone, it works for me. David Cowling — the heart soul, and lone member of The April Fools Childrenhood — pairs his strong vocal abilities with sparse backing tracks, making for an album that is at times reminiscent of a stripped down Andy Shauf.
This might only be a four-song EP with an intro, but these four songs have been the highlight of my week. I just wish there were more, because I’m hooked.
Mr. Optimist Blues – Jonathan Roy
This album is poppy as hell, but in the best possible way. It’s not electronic pop and, bless him, Jonathan Roy’s vocals actually carry the whole thing. He also draws from the more successful aspects of recent pop music, only sparingly, as a way to highlight the feeling of a song.
It’s more optimistic than blues, but with a title like Mr. Optimist Blues I wasn’t expecting there to be much of a bluesy sound. Although, if he wanted to go bluesy it’s well within his vocal range to do so. It’s also probably hard to be blue when your dad is legendary goalie Patrick Roy.
This album is closest in sound and style to Coleman Hell, and that’s not a bad thing. The album as a whole gives a glimpse as to where pop could have gone (with a stand out cover of “New Shoes”) and where it should go. It also doesn’t hurt that his biggest musical mentor is none other than “Sunglasses at Night” singer Corey Hart.
I also listened to the whole album, which is a pretty big deal.