The Bedlam in Goliath
The Mars Volta
Not only have the guys created the missing link between Yes and Donna Summer with their fourth album, they’ve somehow thought up a concept even more ridiculous than usual, one guaranteed to ruin your pants. If the vague idea of a cursed Ouija board doesn’t scare you to the point of soiling yourself, the story about how the band buried the board in an undisclosed location to appease the spirits will make you laugh until you pee your pants. And the Alvin and the Chipmunks studio effects applied to Cedric Bixler-Zavala’s voice will probably make you do both simultaneously.
The Portrait is
Finished, and I Have Failed to
Capture Your Beauty
Hello, Blue Roses
It should be common knowledge by now, but Dan Bejar doesn’t bring his A-game to his side projects. Sadly this holds true even for Hello, Blue Roses, his collaboration with girlfriend Sydney Vermont. Vermont, primarily a visual artist, sings lead on vocals she’s penned herself and does a decent enough job, considering her main musical résumé entry is listed as the Toronto Children’s Choir. Bejar quite obviously provides the musical arrangements for the album — mostly full of the offbeat percussion and rambling verses he probably plays in his sleep by now, and the lazy backup vocals he provides sound like he was actually woken up to do them. Apparently, even true love won't make Dan hustle.
The Mountain Goats
There’s nothing wrong with the Mountain Goats’ approximately 2,057th release other than the stinky French smell of déjà vu. I’m almost positive John Darnielle and Co. have released this album before, or at least several almost exactly like it. Darnielle is still writing those cleverly bitter lines — and even delivering them in that same glorious nasal drone — but nothing of much significance has changed since 2002's Tallahassee, when Darnielle swapped his Talkboy for a full band. Like most of the albums since then, Heretic Pride won’t disappoint true fans, but there’s not much to truly excite them here, either.
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