Music of the Week
By Lauren Harris
Brooklyn-by-way-of-Missouri group White Rabbits are guilty of a little false advertising with their latest album: It isn't frightening -- it's good. On the strength of their brilliant debut, 2007's Fort Nightly, Spoon frontman Britt Daniel signed on as chief knob-twiddler. While their first record epitomized tense pop (and some of the best oh-oh-ohs ever recorded), this album charts new territory for the group ' with intricate, layered arrangements and strained, notes-away-from-hoarse vocals, much like their de facto mentor Daniel. There's still a tautness ' underlined mostly by their two drummers ' but it seems the band is venturing deeper into the stacks of records that must be at their disposal, away from the sugary pop of their first album.
Au Revoir Simone
Still Night, Still Light
Banged triumvirate Au Revoir Simone are back with more of their lovely brand of sweet synth pop, only this time the sucrose is mixed with sadness. Thematically, the ladies are dealing with the distance their success has put between themselves and the things they love. The Brooklyn-based trio's third album is quite a feat; all the attributes that might make them easily dismissed as too cute have been mined thoroughly, and there's a much-appreciated darkness and depth to their tunes. 'With their latest, the ladies of Au Revoir Simone have struck the perfect balance between the precious warmth of their vocals and the chilly disconnection born of their instruments. Like some bevy of sirens, the group draws you in with dulcet tones, all the while expressing the gravity of the human condition.
As might be expected at this stage in the game, you're sick of Eminem's brand new record before it's even been released. While Em's obnoxious skewering of celebs was a neat posture back when he was Detroit trash, second single 'We Made You' seems more like a dearth of self-awareness than a clever critique. That's not to say that the rapper doesn't have plenty to be pissed about, only that fame shouldn't be his target. Since last we heard from Slim, his best friend died, he got remarried and divorced (to the same woman), and battled a massive pill addiction ' which means there's plenty of fodder for Em's comeback. Apart from the off-the-mark single, Mr. Mathers return is a welcome one, with his schoolyard whine and rat-a-tat delivery.