“Truant Wave EP”
(Nervous Breakdance Media)
Stump’s solo attempt is similar to Fall Out Boy’s last album, “Folie ? Deux,” in its catchy hooks and production. This is to be expected as Stump was Fall Out Boy’s primary composer. The EP explores FOB’s favorite topics – fame and drinking – with lyrics like, “depression is a little like happy hour” and “you look better famous.” What is largely lacking, though, is the harsh and powerful drumming of FOB’s Andy Hurly, which may be the only reason the band should get back together. But Stump’s voice is as smooth as ever and will keep the listener interested even through milder tracks.
As a self-admitted successor of The XX, James Blake seems to be trivializing his recent self-titled album. While they both construct their music within minimalist confinements, Blake adds the piano and a singular imprint much more akin to Radiohead. This album epitomizes post-dubstep, as Blake rips up the beats to form beautiful symphonies. And he is a true testament to the instrumental power of vocals, incorporating his hypnotic voice into the rhythm as much as the beats. An ear accustomed to Kanye West will likely hear his trademark vocal synthesizers in Blake’s album; however, where Kanye uses auto-tune to masquerade his lack of pitch, Blake tweaks the vocals to enhance his seductive voice. For those novices in electronic music, I recommend giving the album some time. What at first sounds like a cacophony of inconsistent synths transforms – in true minimalist fashion – into a coherent masterpiece. Highlights are: “The Wilhelm Scream” and “Limit to Your Love.”
“The King’s Speech Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”
Alexandre Desplat doesn’t fail to succeed in creating yet another brilliant score, adding just one more soundtrack to an already impressive resumé. Desplat, known for his work in films such as “The Painted Veil” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I,” employs creativity and warmth in his score for “The King’s Speech.” Tracks such as “Lionel and Bertie” and the title track are light-hearted, yet still full of emotion and perfect for the film. Perhaps the most discussed track is “Speaking Unto Nations,” a slight re-working of Beethoven Symphony No. 7-II, which plays during the climax of the film. For anyone who enjoyed the music of the Academy Award-winning film, or anyone who simply enjoys instrumental scores, certainly give this album a listen.
Dum Dum Girls
“He Gets Me High EP”
Formed in 2008, the California band returns with its first release after its 2010 full-length album, “I Will Be.” The four-track EP is a little softer than the girls’ previous releases, offering a more watered-down sound with a little less noise and a little more pop. While the title track offers an almost siren-esque sound that draws at the senses, the EP is a rather soft alternative to the band’s previous releases. Settling on closing the album with a nod toward the alternative post-punk love child, The Smiths, with a cover of “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out,” the Dum Dum Girls offer a sound that’s nice to listen to before bed but isn’t nearly as empowering as the band’s previous tracks.