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Review Round-Up 9/13/12

By Andrew McNally Columnist

David Byrne & St. Vincent – “Love This Giant” Fans of David Byrne and St. Vincent knew to expect nothing, and expect everything possible from their duet. And, if it makes sense at all, they delivered. “Love This Giant” is twelve original tracks, nearly all of which are groovy, genre-bending songs resembling Roxy Music, but more entertaining. Synth beats and a predominant horn section lead most of the tracks and, although the combination borders on repetitive by the album’s end, it never drags. An artsy collaboration with healthy instrumentation, there’s something for everyone. Both danceable and deep, look for “Love This Giant” to be on 2012 Best Of lists. Grade: A If You Like: Talking Heads, TV on the Radio

Bob Dylan – “Tempest” Although Dylan’s vocals have hit the point of no return, “Tempest” is one of the best albums he’s released, ever. “Tempest” – his thirty-fifth studio album – has glimpses of Dylan at all his best points. Equally bluesy and country, each track is centered on a repeated rhythm that ends right on the verge of boring, but just before. Lyrically, Dylan is at his referential peak, darkly referencing everyone from Lennon to James Cameron, in a fourteen minute song about the Titanic. The album’s only downfall is the unintentional anti-smoking ad that is Dylan’s voice. But “Tempest” is a vast improvement over his previous two disappointments. Grade: A- If You Like: Lou Reed, 1960’s Dylan

Two Door Cinema Club – “Beacon” What TDCC intended with “Beacon” is never really discernible. It’s different than 2010’s “Tourist History” in that it is more consistent, and with better songwriting in general, while still maintaining a completely radio-friendly feel. It’s both danceable and background music. But it is achingly repetitive in its desire for progression. It resembles a band with big ideas, but one that knows they can’t pull them off so they meet a halfway point. In the end, it’s a fine collection of fun, throwaway indie-pop songs, but you’ve already heard each track on any We Are Scientists album. Grade: C+ If You Like: We Are Scientists, M83

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