thoughts, opinions and responses to random occurrences

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

How to write an album review in the style of NME

  1. Find an odd piece of trivia concerning the artist and deploy it in such a way as to mock their fans.
  2. Mention a couple of the album's decent tracks, albeit in a slightly passive-aggressive tone.
  3. Summarise the album's overall aesthetic with an awkward comparison with one of the artist's peers, followed by a critique of what the album isn't rather than what it is.
  4. Conclude with two sentences, posed as a question and answer, that make little contextual sense.
  5. Rate the album 6 out of 10.
Here, I'll shuffle my mp3 player to a random album and apply the template described above.
Smoke City - "Flying Away"

In days gone by, Nina Miranda's striking visage would be enough to sell Smoke City's curious blend of smog-drenched London trip-hop and hi-tech Brazilian bossa nova, but gazing across the youthful throng at Brixton Academy, jumping and swaying, en masse, in their shrink-to-fit 501s, you can't help but wonder just how much influence Levi Strauss & Co had over Smoke City's rapid rise to stardom.

The dark, relentless drive of 'Devil Mood' allows us to briefly dismiss Smoke City's commercial pliability, even if Bjork's footprints already criss-cross their path in the once virginal snow. Things improve immeasurably once Miranda shows off her flair for lyrical Portuguese in the likes of 'Aguas de Marco (Joga Bossa)', although you can't help but wonder if Moloko are missing a backing singer.

There's no question that 'Flying Away' neatly fills a void, assuming that a samba-drenched Massive Attack tribute band-shaped hole is something that really needs to be filled. But one can't help but wonder to what heights the album could have soared had a more weathered soul such as Horace Andy contributed their talent.

Density and obfuscation masquerading as art? Not on my watch.

This stuff writes itself!

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Expat Brit, freelance writer and designer.