A Thought On Some Bad Reviews

A few weeks ago, I was amazed by Pitchfork’s bad review of the brilliant debut by Freelance Whales. I’ve been listening to it for months and think it’s going to be one of the best albums of the year, so when P4K called it derivative and gave it a measly 4.2I was dumbfounded. Especially since they’ve also reviewed albums by The Morning Benders and Local Natives positively, pointing out their similarities to recent great bands. In other words, that they are derivative.

Now, Pitchfork, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t celebrate two records because they sound like other bands you like, and then slag another off because they, well, sound like other bands you like. It’s not the first time that Pitchfork has got it horribly wrong. Midlake’s breakthrough album “The Trials Of Van Occupanther” was booed offstage, despite it being, frankly, great. Jumping the shark, as that old saying goes?

Which leads me onto The Kissaway Trail. This may not come as much of a shock to regular readers, but I have an enormous pile of unread newspapers in my living room which I’m slowly working my way through. Last night I got to a Sunday Times Culture section (which, UK readers, you really should get – it’s great), and they reviewed The Kissaway Trails new album, likening it to The Flaming Lips and Grandaddy, both bands I am somewhat fond of. “I’ll give them I try”, I think, and I do. And I like them.

But guess what? Pitchfork can’t stand them. Derivative, they say. Sounds like Arcade Fire, they moan. Well, possibly, but they sound much more like Mew, which, being Danish, isn’t exactly a huge shock. So, in a reversal of what reviews are meant to do, I’m buying “Sleep Mountain” on the basis of a bad review.

In other news, I’m away for a few days, so without much further comment, here’s new songs by Band Of Horses and Stars. They have new albums out in May and June, respectively, so will write more about them closer to the time. Huzzah!

MP3: SDP by The Kissaway Trail

MP3: Fixed by Stars

MP3: Compliments by Band Of Horses

Note: this track has been removed as the hosters of this blog had a DMCA notice.

Buy “Sleep Mountain” by The Kissaway Trail (CD/MP3)

Buy “Set Yourself on Fire” by Stars (CD/MP3)

Note: Link to pre-order Band Of Horses removed.

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  1. Pat

     /  April 9, 2010

    So happy to see the that there are others out there that don’t fall in line with whatever Pitchfork says because its the ‘smart’ thing to do. They have been off so often on their reviews lately that I think your idea of using their negative reviews as an indicator that it might be good is probably right on the money.

  2. Scott

     /  April 9, 2010

    Hey there,

    Another peeve about pitchfork; their constant use of the term ‘guitar noodling’. Charles Spearin released and album called ‘The Happiness Project’. Amazon had a free sampler containing a song from that called ‘Mr. Gowrie’. I actually love the guitar work; how it leads into the next phase of the song. It is really quite well structured. Of course, to pitchfork, this is once again “noodly guitars” (!). You should give this one a listen, even though it’s slightly derivative of people talking.

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