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Arts in Review

Soundbites: David Gilmour, Lana Del Rey, The Zolas, Beach House

Mini album reviews

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David Gilmour

Rattle that Lock

David Gilmour is primarily known for his work in the legendary experimental rock group Pink Floyd, but Gilmour has slowly amassed a stellar catalogue of solo releases. His latest, Rattle that Lock, contains some of the elements of experimental and ambient rock that were so crucial to Pink Floyd, but he also delves into funk, jazz, and soul influences. Though this complex balance provides some lush moments of sonic symmetry, it also contributes to the album’s weakness: its inconsistency. For every powerful riff and catchy rhythm there is a mundane and repetitive lull in the action, which ultimately leaves you wanting to skip ahead to the next instance where everything works. Fans of Pink Floyd will surely find some solace within Rattle that Lock, but unfortunately, Gilmour doesn’t give enough to allow the album to stand on its own.

Jeffrey Trainor

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Lana Del Rey

Honeymoon

Once again, Lana Del Rey has outdone herself. Her signature melancholic melodies leave your heart heavy in a good way. Honeymoon is filled with strings and a noir-influenced beat, while Lana effortlessly weaves her voice into perfection. The title track is a powerful ballad, where Lana ponders her love for a man with a history of violence. While the premise of the song is controversial, it’s nothing new to Del Rey, as her songs tend to tackle dark themes that many choose to ignore. Lana also pays homage to her idol David Bowie in show-stopping number “Terrence Loves You.” She expertly builds the song up musically, and peaks off quoting lyrics from David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” before floating back down into the final chorus. Honeymoon shows us that Lana Del Rey has grown up from her Born to Die ways, shocking us with a dark, emotional journey that leaves listeners reeling, and her alternative take on music is something to be celebrated.

Michael Chutskoff

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The Zolas

Wino Oracle EP

Vancouver’s own the Zolas recently dropped Wino Oracle EP, which is composed of only four tracks, and is a short, to-the-point update of what the Zolas have been up to.

“Fell in Love With New York” opens with a riff that’s reminiscent of 2012’s Ancient Mars. Synths and a more involved electronic production style sets this release apart from the more organic indie-pop of the Zolas’ past. Although Zachary Gray’s vocals manage to ground “Fell in Love With New York,” they stop short of doing the same for “Molotov Girls.” The song feels a bit too loose to make much of an impact. “Male Gaze,” in stark contrast, is poppy as hell and culminates in a 15-second guitar riff that takes command of the track.

“Island Life” is perhaps the least overly melodic track, but rhythmically, the song gets everything right. Gray’s restrained vocals get increasingly intenzse throughout the track, and by the three-minute mark, “Island Life” has built up so much energy that it sweeps the listener away with it.

As a prelude to Swooner, set to release at some point in 2015, Wino Oracle EP does a fine job of reminding those interested in Canadian indie that they are still very much around and kicking.

Martin Castro

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Beach House

Depression Cherry

The new shoegaze / pop album Depression Cherry by Beach House leaves a soothing impression with its use of relaxing music that doesn’t disrupt the voices of the singers. The transitions from song to song throughout the album are smooth and don’t end on harsh, strong notes, but rather with an ending that prepares the stage for the beginning of another song. The lyrics throughout Depression Cherry are very simple but they stay in the listener’s mind. For example, in “Space,” the lyrics, “Tender is the night / For a broken heart / Who will dry your eyes / When it falls apart?” are relatable to many people who ask themselves “who’s really there for me when everything starts falling apart?” I believe this album deserves a lot more recognition for its clever use of musical instrumentation that blends so well together. Definitely give it a listen!

Esra Al-Abduljabar

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