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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » 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.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

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
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Delgados
Hate
Mantra/Beggars Group

Rating: 8/10 ?


October 1, 2004
By all accounts I should love this album. When you examine it on paper, it would seem that Hate has almost everything going for it. The follow up to 2000's charming The Great Eastern boasts even more dense orchestration than its predecessor, not to mention a mixing job by the renowned Dave Fridmann - though you would be hard pressed to convince any of the fans of recent Flaming Lips or Mercury Rev albums that he didn't also head up the engineering and production. All signs point to Hate being a record to be quite excited about, and to some degree it is, still after many repeated listens, I find myself a bit under- whelmed.

When the gentle string melody of album opener "The Light Before We Land" gives way to the distorted percussive bombast that kicks the song into gear old fans and the uninitiated alike can't help but feel a surge of excitement. Emma Pollock's delicate voice guides the somber, spacey chorus of voices that accompanies her through the verse before Alun Woodward joins her in harmony for the chorus. The Beatle-scar baring pop manifesto "All You Need Is Hate" provides the perfect one-two punch behind "The Light Before We Land's" expanse. Woodward, who plays the lyrical thief through much of the record, takes up the lead vocal duties as the string section plays in delicate balance to the piano, bass, drums, and digital effects that litter the albums sound field. The majestic hook that the listener can feel coming in the marrow of his bones gets delayed by four bars; just enough to make it that much more sublime when it hits.

All is not well in the land of Hate though. The latter half of the record finds the band lazily rhyming lyrics while mired in a production over substance formula. The songs take to a pattern of triple meter dirges like a pregnant woman turned loose in a pickle factory. By the time the transcendental chorus of "All Rise" arrives the slow intro to string crescendo climax progression, not to mention playful rhymes like "If I had confessions / I'd have concessions" have become more overused than an eighth grade geometry student's alternate interior angle theorem, and the inherent drama fails to stave off the induction of a comatose lull. Though the new-age midi-pizzicato of "Child Killers" - in which Woodward cops Morrison's "no one here gets out alive" line - provides a pleasant change in tonal characteristics, the songs tend to lack a sense of counterpoint in the orchestration, especially when the strings mimic the vocal melody, or vice versa, as on "Never Look At The Sun".

Hate succeeds best where it hangs onto its pop music roots. The aforementioned "All You Need Is Hate" is trumped by the acoustic guitar balladry of "Coming In From The Cold". Featuring the catchiest melody and arrangement on the album, it employs drum machine transitions and all the atmospherics that a track like "Child Killers" - whose ending coda lasts almost two minutes without ever really developing any new material - does, while - along with "All You Need Is Hate" - managing to clock in under four minutes. Even though vocals that alternate between direct aural injections and reverb so thick that they sound as if it were piped in from outer space as on "If This Is A Plan" make for a great sounding record, a little more focus, and a little trimming could have saved Hate from facing the hardest critical hurdle for a band to leap: indifference. To top all this off the American release of the album comes with two extra songs. There's a plethora of things to like, and even love about Hate, and while The Delgados have run a fine race, they knocked over a few too many hurdles along the way, coming up just short of a blue ribbon with this one.

Reviewed by Mark Skipper
Mark Skipper currently resides in Nashville, TN where he can be found skipping shows, drinking Guinness, making bad home recordings, and complaining about how much music sucks these days.

See other reviews by Mark Skipper

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