By Aaron Calvin, Editor of Arts & Entertainment
Real Estate – Days
It would be easy to remark on "Days" by noting the shimmering guitars, washed out vocals and generally ambiguous aesthetic that they manage to maintain despite successful bursts of catchiness. The underlying content of this album, however, is what demands a second look. The work is built upon a meandering nostalgia. This would be sort of laughable in most circumstances, given the youth of this band. But the whole concept is so fully committed to both sonically and lyrically that you can't help, but take it seriously. The nostalgia is there, but not entirely certain what that nostalgia is for.
Jack's Mannequin – People and Things
This album title may be one of the laziest and blandest album titles I've seen in a long time. And the actual content of the album pretty well reflects the album title. The music of Andrew McMohan (songwriter mid 00's pop/punk band Something Corporate, Jack's Mannequin being his solo project) is surely no longer in vogue, but this album shows that it is indeed for a lack of trying. The elements that made J.M.'s first album, "Everything in Transit," so good like the ethos and songwriting behind the music are total absent from this album.
Patrick Stump – Soul Punk
Grade – C+
It is admirable, to some degree, that Patrick Stump (formerly lead singer of the band Fall Out Boy) decided to consciously move in such a fresh direction after the dissolution of his old band, but this comes with its own problems. After several songs into the album, the cheese of the throwback soul begins to seem not so different from FOB's sound. The whole "soul" sound of this album seems to more of characterization derived from the pop music of newly bygone eras.