Some of my friends and I share music with one another to listen to at work. We’re supposed to review/rate whatever’s shared with us, but that doesn’t always happen.
This week I’m sharing an album I haven’t listened to from an artist I haven’t even really heard of before, so I reviewed it in addition to what my friend shared. First, here’s what my friends shared:
Three Trapped Tigers – Silent Earthling (2016)
Spencer’s only introduction to these guys was “they were listed as related to Alpha Male Tea Party, and I describe them as a synth version of that.”
It’s been awhile since I listened to Alpha Male Tea Party, but this feels like a prog band who was influenced by some of the Vince DiCola tracks from last week. AMTP came across as a little disjointed, whereas this is pure electronic psychedelia and heavy grooves. Being instrumental, I expected it to drift into the background, but it’s just aggressive enough to not be ignored. Until it mellows out, and then you notice that. Point is: it has good balance and diversity of between the tracks, and within the tracks themselves, that I didn’t get bored.
Mostly. Engrams kind of lost me. The drums seemed a more complicated than the rest of the song called for. Hemisphere wasn’t boring, but I didn’t love the melodic structure. This is neither here nor there, but the bass and drums reminded me of Orgy. I liked the song once the lead took over more, but it was still kind of repetitive and directionless. Rainbow Road was ok until the end, too.
I’m not sure I could put a genre to this album. Psychedelic Synth Prog Rock? Spencer offered up some: Death-Improv., Intelligent Dance Music, Noise-Rock, electro-dub-rock, or perhaps: classical-math-prog-electronica-pop? I feel like all of those are either misleading or cumbersome, but Spencer said it best: “The only thing you can call it for sure is Three Trapped Tigers.”
This may not become a staple, but it will probably join the ranks of things I listened to when mountain biking or snowboarding. 3.3/5
The Chainsmokers – Memories…Do Not Open (2017)
Tim picked up my “theme,” and shared a band whose name he heard from SNL. Also, he said that the album “is marked “explicit” and the first three tracks are marked “explicit” so if this album is both inappropriate and sucks, I apologize now.”
This was okay. The things I didn’t like, as well as the things I did like, were all little things. It just seems like what I didn’t like added up more than what I did like.
I didn’t like Don’t Say, but couldn’t tell exactly why until I listened to My Type and didn’t like that one either. It might be Emily Warren’s voice. I also didn’t really enjoy It Won’t Kill Ya, mostly because of the Katy-Perry–Dark-Horse-esque synth-noise they used on the chorus. Maybe it isn’t the chorus, but you know what I’m talking about. The rest of the song was really good. I especially liked the end, unlike Wake Up Alone where I think the end was the worst part. There were also moments in that song which I felt like I would have written in high school. It’s not really a bad thing, but it wasn’t really impressive either, you know? Paris and Young both seemed pretty juvenile as well.
My favorite tune was Break Up Every Night, and I can’t even tell you exactly why.
Generally, I felt like (based on their lyrics) they think they’re a big deal. And they might be in certain circles, but I wasn’t really impressed. 2.63/5
I also looked up the bonus singles, and they were more of the same. If you liked the album, you’ll probably like the bonus tracks. If you didn’t, you’re probably not missing out.
From my friends:
“Its probably unsurprising that I found this whole thing rather uninteresting. I actually didn’t really want to finish it after the first half, but I did. I just don’t care for the sound, the lyrics seemed bland, the explicit language didn’t seem to fit in and turned me off further. I’d seen ads for the chainsmokers on spotify and was slightly curious, but lets just say that curiosity is now very satisfied.” 2.2/5 – Spencer
Gillwire – Silver Streak (2016)
An old coworker who knows I’m into music, and that I regularly share/review music suggested I look up a guy/band (I’m not really sure if it is a group effort, or just a frontman with a backing band) he saw in Arizona. Maybe this is a friend, I wasn’t clear on that point either. Anyway, He/They released this album last summer, and it’s his/their first full album. And that’s all I knew before I started listening.
This album feels pretty unassuming. It sounds like it was inspired by ’60s pop-rock and maybe with a little They Might Be Giants, Fastball and ’90s Beck sprinkled in. It’s not mind-blowing, but it’s apparent simplicity is enjoyable, even though I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s actually pretty mature from a music theory stand point. Sweet Blue is a good example: it sounds simple, but the chord progressions are more complicated than your basic pop song. It’s done in a way that doesn’t come across as overly complicated.
The lowlight of the album for me was Nothing at All. I didn’t really like the vocals. Or maybe the melody. Hard to say which. I also didn’t really connect with the lyrics of Lost for Words. I get the whole “Like you like something non-sequitor” but I would have loved to have those comparisons explained, you know? Maybe it’s too much to ask for a song. If I were to do a similar thing in a song, I might have less of a list and have each verse tackle just one or two. But that’s just me.
I thought this was a decently strong album. Better than average, especially for a first album. He/they put out a single this past January, which I’ll check out, and I’ll be keeping my ear to the ground (or computer) for more from him/them. 3.25/5
Here’s what my friends had to say:
“Maybe it was just the juxtaposition with the chainsmokers, but this seemed really fresh, quirky and interesting. The vocal boxiness on Nothing at All was annoying, made it sound like they were going for lo-fi, but the rest of the album didn’t have this issue. Lyrics like in Find me a Movie and Tragedy Sells felt so much like they aren’t trying to make music just to sell, they’re just telling the stories they want. There was a wide pallette of sounds and each song seems quite unique. Good grooves, this was a good listen. I’m halfway through a second go now. I could see myself really getting into this with a few listens. MMM, that groove in rye! But it could just be I hated the chainsmokers that much… I’ll have to listen again after some favs, but for now I’m going 4.0/5” – Spencer
Feel free to post your own comments on any of these three albums down below.