Archive for August, 2008

Going for the One

August 20, 2008

A recent discussion about this patchy platter on a progressive forum inspired the following insights from yours truly:

Yes Going for the One (1977): Side one redeems it till side two sinks it, with the cluttered, monotonous murk of “Awaken” only showing that Yes‘ oblique and convoluted approach – which began with “Heart of the Sunrise”, peaked on Close to the Edge and sustained itself haphazardly through Tales from Topographic Oceans – had indeed exhausted itself with the shrill and jarring sonic mind field that was Relayer.

As for the three adequate cuts which comprise side one, the title track is merely a cosmified ditty that sustains itself through exuberance, dizzying counterpoint and some witty turn of phrase (“moments in flight, travel twilight.. tender timing, rockeen, rolleen.. turn on to love, turnstile as one”). Much the same can be said for Squire’s “Parallels”, a mundanely chorded rocker which breezes through purely a gusto. And while I often love poignant lyrics set to ‘pretty’ backdrops in a song, I find that they don’t bear repeated visits when they step into tear-jerker territory, poetic as “Turn of the Century” may be.

In summary, Going for the One revealed a band who was so anxious to be recording again after a lengthy break that their hyperactive performances managed to overcompensate for the half-formed, hastily cobbled-together material, resulting in a fine but by no means ‘great’ record.

Advertisements

Fashion Rant

August 12, 2008

The writing is on the wall: straight-legged jeans are in, and that’s how it’s gonna’ be for a looong, long time!

So now let’s all rejoice as The Worst Deca[y]de In Human History (the ’90s) dies out forever, and all of its eye-rotting excuses for “fashion” get blown in a burning rocket to the far side of Pluto.

The Cure

August 2, 2008

I actually spent some time on the topic of the Cure… who would’ve ever thought?

Head On the Door (1985) is excellent, Three Imaginary Boys (1979) is really good and The Top (1984) is alright too. Amazingly, I also enjoy Seventeen Seconds (1980) despite that album’s similarity to one of my least favorite bands ever (hint: a dreary group of martyr-led Mancunians). The difference between The Cure and those other fog-mopers is that Smith and Co. played with sufficient tactility and didn’t sound as if they were suffering from carpel tunnel syndrome.

Back to the brilliant Head On the Door, the thing I really like with this one is how they jettisoned all their boring sub-Joy Divisionisms and instead re-embraced their hearty ’70s art rock lineage, paying due respect to The Stranglers on the fuzzy bass romp “Screw” (echoes of the classic Black and White LP), Gentle Giant on the xylophonic choppiness of “Six Different Ways” (think: “Give It Back”) and Dizrythmia-era Split Enz on “In Between Days” and “Sinking”, which respectively recall the likes of the strummy “Bold as Brass” and the submersibly key-soaked “Without a Doubt”.

A friend of yore once asserted, upon viewing my collection of Split Enz videos, that their 1977 clip for “Bold as Brass” was totally cribbed by The Cure for the latter’s 1985 clip of “In Between Days”. I can’t say I necessarily concur on that matter, but those were nonetheless pointed observations coming from such a die-hard Cure fan as himself.

(Originally posted on progressiveears.com)