The Sweet Sounds of Summer

Mount Analog,
New Skin
This album would be appropriate for the moment when you step out ofyour bomb shelter, see the charred remains of everyone you know andthen notice some maudlin fragment of humanity-say, a child’s toy-and allow an unwitting smile to creep over your face. Alternatelysparse and dense with harmonium and simplistic, gentle violin overatmospheric beats, eleven tracks of orchestral subtleties andpastoral noises are enough to last you through the nuclearwinter.

What Doesn’t Kill You, Will Only Make YouStronger
Although they occasionally manage a cool guitar texture orarpeggiated riff, on the whole there is little here to set Candiriaapart from your average heavy rock/nu-metal outfit. The same boringsoft-loud dynamic and uninspired screaming populates the Brooklynfour-piece’s latest long player. The vocalists seem to want toexplore melody and harmony but straddle the fence between blandyelling and wannabe arena-rock histrionics, ending up with anuninspired collection of unoriginal rock. The album’s hip-hopinfluenced tracks are more listenable, with “9mm Solution” beingthe standout, consisting of vaguely interesting raps laid over theoccasional watery surf guitar riff. On the whole, I had the feelingthat I’d heard all of it before.

Twelve Tribes,
The Rebirth of Tragedy

Don’t get me wrong- I really like metal and heavy guitar music ingeneral. I just don’t have the patience to listen to some guyscream in the same voice for the course of an entire album. WithTwelve Tribes’ Rebirth of Tragedy, I actually feel disappointed,since they seem to be interested in experimenting with differenttimings and really sound pretty good whenever their vocalist isn’tvocalizing. Songs like “Post Replica” begin promisingly enough,with powerful double bass drumming and guitar that manages to soundheavy and low, if not a little mathy. If they could just get pastthe super-clich� nu-metal scream, then they might be ontosomething good.

Hopes and Fears

A vaguely Rufus Wainwright-y nugget of piano-driven goodness,Keane’s debut offering is well crafted and creative. Between thetambourines, minor chords sneak their way into melancholy songswhose bouncy rhythms only make the malcontent lyrics more poignant.The lack of guitar fails to hinder their melodic ascents to heightsof maladjusted, intellectualized, orchestrated pop. One of the fewCDs I don’t regret having to listen to and review.

My Chemical Romance,
Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge

I think it’s a byproduct of my goth tendencies that, when a bandmakes a big deal out of death, darkness, and bloody cemeteryimagery, I expect them to actually be dark-sounding and not a bunchof whining emo, which unfortunately seems to be the forte of MyChemical Romance. That aside, they’re definitely at the cream oftheir particular crop, and they manage to make a pretty goodrecord, with flourishes of weird churchy organ backing up thestandard-fare screamo riffs. Songs like

“Hang ‘Em High” actually rock pretty well, the western-stylereverb and whistling of the intro sliced open by a heavy dose ofdistorted riffing. Still, the undeniable poppiness of the chorusesand the obvious intent to deliver hooks makes the “ooh-scary” vibesseem a little out of place. You could do a lot worse, though.