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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Ideal Lives

Rating: 6/10 ?

April 6, 2006
Though you will see the Frenchkiss stamp on Rahim's newest full length, this band's work is different from their label mates'; Ideal Lives is far more pleasant than the driving, angular instrumentation would have you believe. The album shows Rahim with a softer, more astute side than their counterparts, but its lack of cohesion and immediacy often fails to connect to its core audience. All this said, it makes for an interesting ride.

"Klangklangklang" is far less noisy than its onomatopoetic title would suggest; it is a sideways amalgam of serpentine vocals and puffing horns. While "Something From An Amputee" picks up more predictably from there - sounding like two Jawbox vocal tracks layered over one another with minimal instrumentation - it is in no way indicative of a patent sound as Rahim continually bends over backwards to peer at new angles.

"Only Pure" and "10,000 Horses" are arguably the best cuts on the album because of their complexity. The marginally poppy tinges of the former give way to sedated, slow resolve and the pinched, punky nerves of the latter are shelved by a cool, straight face. "Forever Love" might be the most surprising cut on Ideal Lives if only because its fairly conventional nature comes completely out of the blue: it protects a sweet, Beatlish melody from intermittent, twitching guitars and keeps the lovely illusion safe from attack.

Between these highlights, jilting hiccups, scattered off-notes and hushed, weird wakes can be disorienting in light of the disc's sensitive core. Everything ends in "In the Kitchen"'s low, disturbed buzz, which builds in tension and abruptly ceases. Once through, we realize Ideal Lives does not feel unified, which is exactly what makes it so interesting but also so difficult to fully embrace. It shifts between ardor and clamor without notice, and if you are willing to take the album apart piece by piece, its struggle can be increasingly rewarding. Give it time and space and Ideal Lives can become an album to explore and respect.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters



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