“Quick Takes” is a monthly feature on Faint Uproar where we play catch-up with a few albums that slipped through the cracks and didn’t get a full review on the blog.
Willis Earl Beal – Experiments in Time
Willis Earl Beal’s meditative album won’t be for everyone, and admittedly, the songwriting here is a little less dynamic than I would have liked based on preview tracks from the album like “Traveling Eyes”. However, Beal’s deep, weathered voice perfectly conveys the pain in his deceptively simple melodies. This album is a slow-burn, and if you can allow yourself to become immersed in Beal’s reverie, the results are fairly stunning.
The Rosebuds – Sand + Silence
The fact that Justin Vernon produced Sand + Silence certainly gave The Rosebuds a publicity boost but unfortunately, the album as a whole is a decent but completely expected slice of indie folk. Granted, the husband-wife duo have some slick melodies, and the LP is certainly pleasant. But beneath Vernon’s crisp production it doesn’t feel like there’s a whole lot to hold onto.
FKA Twigs – LP1
FKA Twigs became something of a sensation earlier this month as critics rushed to lavish praise on LP1. And indeed, Tahliah Debrett Barnett has a bewitching coo and some daring deconstructed R&B tracks to back it up on this LP. It’s certainly an intriguing full-length debut, yet I couldn’t help but feel a bit underwhelmed. It seems as though FKA Twigs is still cementing a sound. Perhaps “LP1” is a fitting title – to me, the album strikes me more as a first pass than a fully realized album.
Benjamin Booker – Benjamin Booker
Benjamin Booker managed to hit just about every major summer music festival this year, wooing critics and music fans along the way with his rollicking live show. And indeed, that energy comes across well on his self-titled debut. He’s got a youthful spirit (which makes sense, since he’s only 25) and he does the raspy blues-rock genre proud. Where he still has room to improve is in the actual songwriting, which, while solid, doesn’t have quite enough juice to propel an entire album.
The New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers
Canadian indie stalwarts the New Pornographers sound as lively as ever on their sixth studio album. They’re clearly influenced by an ‘80s dance sound (which can be heard most clearly here on “War on the East Coast”) and they certainly make the most of their penchant for sing-along pop hooks. From the pounding title track to the shuffling “Wide Eyes”, Brill Bruisers is an ace power pop album, proving that practice might actually make perfect when it comes to the New Pornographers.