Night Moves — ‘Can You Really Find Me’
THE GOOD: Minneapolis indie outfit Night Moves gives us its third.
THE BAD: “Find Me” is more about the mood than individual songs. Take it in as a whole if possible.
THE NITTY GRITTY: These guys are difficult to pigeonhole (always a strength). Combining indie rock with a splash of blue-eyed soul and a big dose of classic Nashville twang, Night Moves has always blurred the lines between open-minded experimentation and straight pop. You can take a song such as “Mexico” or “Strands Align” and pull apart the layers or simply embrace the surface melody. “Find Me” definitely is a dusk or after-dark album — hazy and slow-burning. It’s a record where whirling keyboards and echo-heavy pedal steels are equally important while weaving in and out of the more traditional electric guitars. Vocalist/guitarist John Pelant also is the perfect front man for this band. His voice, while still a commanding presence, does a fine job blending in with all the background elements.
BUY IT?: Yes.
Temples — ‘Hot Motion’
THE GOOD: British indie rock outfit Temples delivers more neo-psychedelic bombast on its third.
THE BAD: The band has a hard time holding onto a permanent drummer, but that doesn’t seem to hinder its creative process.
THE NITTY GRITTY: How much you enjoy “Hot Motion” completely depends upon what you crave. If you want something with a big sound, recalling “Be Here Now” Oasis at its fullest or Mew at its most pretentious, you’ll have a blast with this new record. If it’s actual SUBSTANCE you desire, we have a problem. Temples always has leaned toward melody, flash and style. Its songs may “sound” deep, but a lot of it is prog-rock posturing.
Still, there’s nothing inherently unpleasant about any of that. Tracks such as “You’re Either on Something” and “The Beam” flirt with bold pop melodies, dedicated beats, echoes of classic glam and even a splash of the baroque. You can “switch on” and get lost in the loud but lovely swirling sounds.
BUY IT?: Sure.
Keane — ‘Cause and Effect’
THE GOOD: British indie pop band Keane returns from hiatus with its first album in seven years (and fifth overall).
THE BAD: Keane will never be a trailblazing outfit. It makes pleasant pop/rock records. That’s it. But that’s not necessarily bad.
THE NITTY GRITTY: In the beginning, the band’s big gimmick was “no guitars.” However, that piano-fronted sound went out the window (or was at least enhanced with SOME guitars) by its third album.
Now Keane is perfectly content to make music for the predictable camps already inhabited by Coldplay and Ed Sheeran fans. If producers on the “Ellen” show need a British band to fill a Wednesday gap, call Keane.
I actually LIKE some of its stuff. On “Cause and Effect,” my favorites are the instantly infectious “Love Too Much,” dramatic “Put the Radio On” and slightly frenetic “Stupid Things.” After a while though, the music sounds too calculated and slightly uninspired. This particular record gets bogged down by ballads toward its conclusion. So adjust expectations accordingly.
BUY IT?: Your choice.