CD reviews: R.E.V.O., Kanye, Tegan and Sara
Tegan and Sara
Identical twins Tegan and Sara Quin turns up the pop gloss of their active pop-rock sound and in doing so, the Canadian twosome reprises the more accessible music of ‘80s icons Cyndi Lauper and Madonna for modern audiences. It’s exquisitely done so the twin’s synth pop should also appeal to fans of Katy Perry and Lady Gaga.
On a purely sonic level, the duo’s seventh album embraces the power of bright hooks to capture young and old listeners alike. Their lyrics, however, lean towards the sad and lonesome side of parting of ways such that it’s a bit odd hearing Sara sing “Go if you want, I can’t stop you…Please stay!” to the dazzling tunefulness of "Now I’m All Messed Up." Sour emotions expressed to the tune of hypnotic synths also provide the pulse that drives such dance-friendly tracks as “Drove Me Wild” and “I’m Not Your Hero.”
Tegan and Sara are shaping up to be the indie pop counterparts of Ann and Nancy Wilson of the ‘70s hard rocking Heart. There could be a line that connects these two Canadian acts but for now, let’s celebrate the provocative beauty of Tegan and Sara’s energized pop.
R. E. V. O.
"Walk Off The Earth"
They’re the four-man, one-woman group behind the sensational remake of a Gotye hit as seen on YouTube. Amazing visually would be a better description since the five members play around with a single guitar over the course of an acoustic version of “Somebody That I Used To Know.”
That said, it’s to be expected that there’s more to R. E. V. O. than a tricky performance on the Internet. On top of that, the title of their latest release alludes to some mysterious thing haunting the face of the planet.
Fortunately on "Walk Off The Earth," the band is one happy-go-lucky mongrel casting an eye on one neat trick and keeps the other on some nebulous recording ploy. Five songs into its 11 tracks, you get the feeling the band wants listeners to know they’ve got the chops to make memorable music. Their compositions fluidly shifts dynamics from the Bruno Mars-aping opening tracks to the “Lazy Song”-flavored “Gang of Rhythm” to the Mumford and Sons goes Latin shuffle of “Speeches.”
The tricked-up Gotye piece is song No. 7 and in the context of the album’s spot-the-influence aesthetics, it still sounds special. It can get you imagining a laidback singer-songwriter and his lady swooning by the beach.
They may look like another one-hit wonder on YouTube but on their recorded output, R. E. V. O. presents a multi-talented sound machine working out its common gift of gab and rhythm.
Rapper Kanye cannot and does not lay claim to his own sound. That much can be gleaned from the copious acknowledgements of samples from other artists in all of his solo albums.
Kanye’s latest record is no different. The credits roll up starting with the great Nina Simone and on to Daft Punk, TNGHT and Lords of the Underground
“Yeezus” isn’t throwback Sunday listening stuff because Kanye bitches about age-old injustices on the Black man, unholy matrimony, double-dealing ‘hos and being down with his niggers. Because of the gorgeous sampled music and the calmness of Kanye’s delivery, there’s no telling that he’s dealing with inflammatory issues.
The least worrisome is Kanye’s self-serving argument in “New Slaves” why only whiteys get the Grammys.
Funny, irreverent, and offensive (to Whitey sensibilities), Kanye’s new album is the punkiest funk album to come down the pike in a long while.