Monday, February 19, 2007

Does Size Matter?

The Coup - Pick A Bigger Weapon (buy)
If you were to take George Clinton's Parliament-Funkadelice and blend it with Public Enemy/Dead Prez the results would be The Coup. Blatantly politically, The Coup's Pick A Bigger Weapon takes aim at both the White House and corporate America. While the politics are not subtle by any means, it does hit the mark more often then not. The Coup are at their best on tracks like: “My Favorite Mutiny”, “Tiffany Hall”, “Laugh/ Love/Fuck”, and “We Are the Ones. On these tracks the group highlights not only the flaws with George Bush and major corporations, but also how they affect the inner cities. Yet, similar to the cartoon The Boondocks, there are times where their message comes off ridiculously juvenile. Such is the case with songs "Ass-breath Killers" and "Head (of State). The band often uses humour to help their overall message digest easier. Unfortunately it serves as a disadvantage on these tracks. The childish humour overshadows the deeper meaning; both songs would have work more effectively had they just played it straight. Another minor gripe I have with the album is the length. Running at just over an hour, you will most likely be too exhausted from all the messages to hit the replay right away. Pick A Bigger Weapon is a good album that will get you thinking; just don’t expect it to be subtle.

Video: The Coup – We Are The Ones

Sondre Lerche – Phantom Punch (buy)
So how do you follow up two melancholy pop albums and one jazz-influenced pop album? That’s easy, you make a rocking pop album with only the faintest elements of your previous efforts. At only 26, Sondre Lerche has just released his fourth album, The Phantom Punch, which will surely receive the same level of praise as his other efforts. Too be honest I was never a die-hard fan of Lerche. I have casually enjoyed his previous efforts but rarely felt the need to revisit them. I’m not quite sure why really; maybe they were just too melancholy for my taste. Phantom Punch could be the album that changes all that. I was quite shocked by how much I love this album. It by no means groundbreaking music, especially by Lerche standards, yet I cannot stop listening to it. At a brisk 39 minutes, the album provides enough substance yet still leaves you with room for more. Some of my favourite tracks at the moment include “Well Well Well”, “Airport Taxi Reception”, “Say it All”, and the seven minute sonic experiment “Happy Birthday Girl”. The latter is one of the few slower paced songs on the album (the other being “tragic mirror”). At first the inclusion of “Happy Birthday…” will seem out of place, yet now it is impossible to picture the album without it. The song consistently keeps your attention, and the many sublte nuances are a testament to how talented Lerche really is. If you enjoy upbeat music with intelligent wordplay, you cannot go wrong with the Phantom Punch.

Video: Sondre Lerche – Phantom Punch

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