10/11/2007

When It Rains: Radiohead, Café Tacuba reviews

And our record review deluge continues…



RADIOHEAD
In Rainbows
[official dow
nload-2007]

With the skittish, electronic Aphex Twin-influenced intro of “15 Step” and the krautrock-meets-Sonic Youth drive of “Bodysnatchers”, Radiohead’s heavily anticipated seventh studio album kicks off at a satisfying intensity level with more of what has become their post-OK Computer sound. However, this is an album that revels in moods and more often than not fails to return to the driving pulse which it starts off with. But sometimes it does both. And the breathtaking, “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi” is a wonderful example. Further on, the haunting “All I Need”, with its hints of Massive Attack-like flourishes is probably the most straightforward Radiohead song since “Karma Police”. And yes, it’s a love song.

As we mentioned before the band seem to have settled into the musical blueprint that has characterized their music over the last few albums. So no surprises there. As for the rather uncharacteristic album title,
In Rainbows, we have no official word on its origins but the music certainly evokes the mood and peacefulness that comes with that calming celestial bridge of colors.

Highlights: The a
forementioned “15 Step”, “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi”, “All I Need” and “House of Cards”

[Thanks to "5"er Fico Lazzaro for his asssistance with this one. Album cover art courtesy of Stereogum.]











CAFÉ TACUBA

Sino

[Universal Latino-2007]


Rumors of an impending breakup surrounding the Mexico City pop experimentalists after the highly-lauded
Cuatro Caminos (Universal Latino-2003) have proven to be false, despite numerous solo albums, side projects and other outside collaborations. The boys are back, marking their 15th anniversary as a recording unit; so is producer Gustavo Santaolalla, who has since become an Academy Award and Grammy winner; and the welcome decision to incorporate a live drummer to flesh out their songs is still bearing fruit. All is well with the world, right? Well…

Perhaps it’s a sign of the members of Tacuba entering middle age, but regardless, Sino—which opens with a piano ballad motif (!)—is probably the most conventional and undemanding album the band has ever made. This is not necessarily a bad thing—although the rather bland nature of a few songs make one wonder who it is we’re actually listening to—but it doesn’t save the album from dragging. At 17 tracks Sino is a bout half a dozen too long, which has the unwanted effect of taking away momentum from a few stellar tracks. Not a bad album by any stretch of the imagination—these guys are way too talented to roll over and play dead—just not a very satisfying one.

Highlights: “53100”, “Arrullo”, “Cierto O Falso”, “Volver A Comenzar”

2 comments:

Caro said...

Weird to see reference to "15th anniversary as recording unit" when I saw them live in 1990. By the time the first record came out, they'd been a band for quite some time.

Kiko Jones said...

Yes, I'm sure they were together for a few years before the release of their 1992 debut album.