We take a look at the latest sounds on CD, including The Menzingers and Vangelis.
The Menzingers – After the Party: Philadelphia-based punk rockers The Menzingers return with their fifth studio album, After The Party. This is a record filled with songs that will make you reminiscence on past adventures, whilst singing and dancing along. On Lookers, the band recalls smoky diners and heartbreaking girls in New Jersey; whilst Bad Catholics turns a church picnic and a lost-love into one hell of a catchy track. Album opener, Tellin’ Lies, will resonate with those of a certain generation, asking: “Where are we gonna go, now that our twenties are over?” Fans of The Gaslight Anthem may be interested in checking these guys out. This is a return to the form of their third LP, On The Impossible Past, and they deserve to pick up plenty of new listeners. By Ryan Ward
Moon Duo – Occult Architecture Vol 1: The married team of guitarist Ripley Johnson and keyboardist Sanae Yamada have chosen to release their fourth album as a two volume “psychedelic opus” inspired by the Chinese theory of yin and yang. The first instalment represents the yin, or dark, side of the effort, with the band’s trademark thick noisy haze of drones, fuzzed guitar freak-outs and hushed vocals, all intact. The pounding footprints of their breakthrough krautrock track Sleepwalker can be found all over the record, which is a superior slice of psych noise. But the occasional lighter touch and starburst embellishments that marked that hit’s parent record, Circles, are absent as the duo strive to stick rigidly to the album’s dark concept. It certainly whets the appetite for Vol 2. By Arj Singh
Vangelis, Delectus (deluxe box set): The 73-year-old Greek composer is best known for his scores for films such as Blade Runner and Chariots of Fire, for which he won an Oscar. This 13-CD box set shows his visionary breadth in all of its glory. Including all of his albums for Vertigo and Polydor, it spans a period from 1973’s Earth to 1985’s dramatic choral work Mask. Highlights include L’Apocalypse des Animaux that contains some of his prettiest melodies and was composed while Vangelis was still a member of the Greek prog rock band Aphrodite’s Child. China, from 1979, indulges the composer’s fascination with Chinese culture and fuses electronic and acoustic instruments. The Friends of Mr Cairo, with Jon Anderson of Yes, yielded the pop hits I’ll Find My Way Home and State of Independence. By Duncan Seaman
The Naked and Famous – Simple Forms: So, 2010 was spent dancing frantically to The Naked And Famous’ breakout hits, Young Blood and Punching In A Dream - thumping, emotional electronica that screamed about summer and youth. They have never quite managed to replicate that zeitgeisty feel, however, the New Zealand five-piece certainly haven’t lost any of their electric magnetism. Their third record, Simple Forms makes the most of mega vocals from Alisa Xayalith whose reedy, ethereal voice flies on the anthemic Higher, and the wistful, melancholic Laid Low. Things get a bit punk-boyband on My Energy, thanks to guitarist Thom Powers stepping up to the mic, while the minimalist start to Falling fails to grab ears. A solid effort that doesn’t quite reach dizzying heights. By Ella Walker