Noise 101: CD Reviews for September 5
Last year, Justin Vernon announced that he was going to take some time away from the incredibly successful Bon Iver. Instead, in between providing samples for Kanye West and working with Alicia Keys, he has been focusing his efforts on his other major act, Volcano Choir. Repave, the follow-up to 2009’s Unmap, shows that this group shouldn’t be written off as just a side project. The album delivers, and not as an avant-pop experiment like Unmap. For once, it feels as though Vernon is in a (post-) rock band that welcomes you to turn up and sing along without feelings of despair or heartbreak. All six members of the band are firing on every cylinder with songs “Comrade” and “Alaskans” showing that – for everything the group has learned between this and Bon Iver – they have cumulatively learned how to make the best album they could and have put that out in Repave.
– Nathan Ross
In a World Like This
Backstreet’s back? All right. And their latest album is just that – all right. Having just celebrated their 20th year of being a musical group, the Backstreet Boys have released their eighth studio album In A World Like This, a follow-up to 2009’s This is Us. But for BSB fans expecting upbeat pop songs akin to what we saw from the boys in the late 90s, this album will be a disappointment. This album is much more mellow, and the lyrics are not only riddled with poor metaphors, such as relating heartbreak to a “permanent stain” on the heart — but also demonstrates the aging boy band’s changing perspective. Dance party anthems like 1997’s “Everybody” are replaced by cozy love songs that detail a happily settled couple. Lyrics aside, however, In A World Like This is an album of catchy pop riffs that can’t help but stick in your head, making this album little more than a nostalgic guilty pleasure.
– Becca Paterson
Written and produced in a period of personal heartbreak, Lauren Malyon adopted Lyon as her moniker and teamed up with writer/producer Japeth Maw with the goal of creating a collection of songs that captured the sincerity and seriousness of loss without being “sappy” or too serious. Lyon’s debut, Indian Summer EP, does just that. From the dreamlike, mystical first track, “Indian Summer,” to the definitive final track, “Happy Alone,” this five-track EP explores the journey of loss from its darkest depths to moments of healing and everything in between, all while perfectly balancing lyrical themes and musicality.
– Becca Paterson