Archive for September, 2010

A Larum

September 16, 2010 - 8:13 am No Comments

is not a book.  It’s an album.

That’s right; having not been in the right mindset to talk about books (but reading so much letters might start flowing out of my ears), I’ve decided to finally introduce a new type of post I’ve been considering for a very long time: album reviews.  And we’re off.

If you put The Beatles, Glenn Miller, and 1900s bluegrass in a bag and shook it up really hard, you would probably a) be in possession of the world’s largest metaphorical bag and b) get Johnny Flynn.  A Larum is Johnny Flynn’s first full-length album, released in 2008 on Vertigo Records.  It’s a strange yet cohesive mix of UK folk, lively horns, and both naughty and elegant lyrics.

As previously mentioned, The Beatles influence is very heavy but not so much so that Flynn is a Beatles revival or wannabe.  Johnny’s voice is extremely Paul McCartney, but because so much of the album is heavy on the folk and easy on the pop, it’s not distracting (though at points, especially on the track “Tickle Me Pink,” you have to think that Flynn grew up listening to nothing but Yesterday and Today).

“Hong Cong Cemeteries” has an entirely different feel to it, much more bluesy with a sloppy drunken-sailoresque bridge and a much grittier sound.  If you’re a fan of Beirut, this smacks of “Nantes” and “Mount Wroclai.”  Indeed, the album swings from organ- and guitar-heavy ballads to string and banjo ditties, but does so tastefully and with good timing.  The only flaw seems to be that five or so of the songs sound very similar, sharing keys or time signatures, while one or two stand out entirely and make you stand up and notice them, which is not necessarily a bad thing but it can disrupt the flow of the album as a whole piece of work, making it sound more like a collection of songs thrown together.

Overall, this album has been competing with Mumford & Sons Sigh No More for my Most Played Album of the Summer.  Coincidentally, if you like that album, you’ll probably dig A Larum as well.

LISTEN! (Courtesy of Grooveshark; no this is not a paid advert.)

If you like The Beatles, Brit-pop, or absurd rhyming, try:  Tickle Me Pink (my favorite)

If you like more traditional folk/bluegrass, muted horns, or ballads, lend your ear to:  Brown Trout Blues

If you dig fiddles and innuendo, listen to:  Sally

.  .  .

I’m not going to use this space to apologise for being a crappy blogger the past month and a half (because I Am Getting Married and You Can Kiss My Butt) but I will say that if you have a) an album you would like me to review or b) a review of a book, album, or video game that you would like me to post, do go ahead and email me and I’ll see what I can do.