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Aug 24, 2016







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STWO, D.T.S.N.T. (Huh What & Where Records)

For your hit-or-miss pleasure, we have this French producer, who’s made beats for Drake (“Haunted,” from the Views album being one) and a ton of others, out to make a name for himself as a song craftsman. Toward this he’s thrown together a who’s-who of similarly rising cronies to help him out and has been maybe a little too generous in the process, creating a resumé rather than a coherent collection, perhaps on purpose. Here’s what I mean: the guy is trying to get past the thousand-seat threshold, which would definitely require a lot of syrupy preteen-anthems, and I can dig all that, but why bother putting muffled gloom-boppers Badbadnotgood on the same track as Rihanna wannabe Shay Lia unless you’re trying to guarantee that your next borough bash is going to be so hip that even Iggy would feel like a loser? “Far From Home” tries to make its backward-masked synth-gloop something more important than the alien transmissions from Jodie Foster’s Contact movie, but, well, eh, it’s a beat, maybe write it off as an intro to “Haunted,” but no, even that song, “helped out” by Bjork-ish Iranian Sevdaliza’s half-asleep lollygagging, is just canned afterparty fare. More shiny objects please! B — Eric W. Saeger





Wild Beasts, Boy King (Domino Records)
CD Reviews: August 18, 2016

08/18/16



Wild Beasts, Boy King (Domino Records)

This British art-rock critic’s-darling has been building a head of steam over the course of several albums now, culminating with 2014’s Present Tense, which threw Animal Collective, krautrock, Radiohead and Roxy Music into a blender for maximum snowy indie-chill effect. There was a sort of Seal-ness to it also, not that it was a giant pile of easy-listening melody, but singer Hayden Thorpe channeled Brian Ferry and Thom Yorke with equal enthusiasm, always aiming for dramatic effect. For that matter, he’s now also emulating Yorke’s full-of-it jawboning, for instance referring to the guitar-centricity of this new LP in terms of phallic symbolism — come on, it’s just rawk, dude. Thing is, there’s not all that much guitar on Boy King, but there’s plenty of Moby-inflected downtempo stillness and soul-tech, like Chromeo trying to come up with a sequel to OK Computer. This may be just what the doctor ordered in your world, so I’ll simply wrap this up with an adamant “meh.” B- 





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