Zach Hill and Andy Morin are back again with another album under their project ‘The I.L.Y’.s’ titled ‘Bodyguard’. After the release of their 2016 sophomore album ‘Scum With Boundaries’, many fans began to speculate that this was more than just a Death Grips side project. The I.L.Y.’s make that clear on this third album. Along with the promise of a future physical release (marking the first physical release of any I.L.Y. music) the band has also announced that they will be playing live shows in the future, taking the I.L.Y.’s on their own journey and separating them from Death Grips. Of course Zach and Andy plan to continue working with Death Grips but it is clear that they are ready to attempt their own separate project. If ‘Bodyguard’ achieves anything, it is only that. The album just lacks that classic Zach and Andy feeling that their prior albums held. A few of the songs such as ‘Wash My Hands Shorty’, ‘49er Lighter’, and ‘This Is How It Is Now’, stay true to the identity of the I.L.Y.’s but the rest just seem to fall short of that. Upon a first listen I wouldn’t have been able to figure out that Zach and Andy had anything to do with the album if I hadn’t been told. Some of the songs just feel like strange indie rock songs with little to no spice to them, ‘I Love You Man’ being the most notable. The album is much more accessible than their previous two albums which could be what the band was aiming for. I can see this album serving as an appetizer to the rest of the bands menu for newcomers. Accessibility and quality are two very different ways of judging an album and a really good album maintains its accessibility while remaining original and true to the artist. You will lose potential fans if an album is much to accessible to the point of being completely different from your other work. Maybe The I.L.Y’s are trying to reform their image and move into a different direction than they first set out on, but until they are back with more music it is hard to say. Bodyguard lacks that whack vibe that the band had on Scum With Boundaries. This album is a step forward for the band but a step in the wrong direction.
Written by- Joe Collins
For the first time in 22 years, the shoegaze heavyweights in ‘Slowdive’, are back with another album. Their second album “Souvlaki” debuted in 1992 after their 1991 album “Just For A Day”. “Souvlaki” essentially established the band with the reputation they have today in the underground music scene, gaining acclaim from critics and music fans alike. The dreamy sounds on this album evolved to become a benchmark in the genre of shoegaze. Their follow up album “Pygmalion” was a decent album but it lacked the progression in sound and passion that “Souvlaki” presented. Now the year is 2017 and the band is back riding their wave of underground success in the recent years do to the rise of more modern shoegaze acts. The band’s first single from the new self titled album, “Star Roving”, was uninspired. The droning guitars at the beginning of the song pretty much continue in the background of the track throughout its entirety, minus two breaks in the middle and end of the song. The first break was refreshing but short lived, followed by the same exact same melody and progression as the beginning of the song. It was far too repetitive. Riding the wave of nostalgia and denial a good amount of people seemed to ignore the looming problems that would only grow to be more apparent on the self titled album’s entirety, in hope that the band would deliver a refreshing blast from the past in a genre where the majority of the band’s lack any distinct sound.
At first listen “Slowdive” wasn’t as bad as I first thought, but after revisiting their previous works it became clear how little the album brought to the table. Minus the vocals of Rachel Goswell and Neil Halstead, the band just sounds like one of the many copy and paste shoegaze acts of today. Nothing distinctly says “this is Slowdive”. If I heard this music in the background of the room I probably wouldn’t have guessed that it was Slowdive’s comeback album. It feels like less of a comeback for the band and more of a reminder that they still exist. Most of the tracks on the album are repetitive, indistinct, and lacking passion. It became more painfully obvious the more I listened to it that Slowdive wasn’t bringing anything new to the table for the band or for the genre. Anything that could be considered different for the band compared to their previous works has already been done in the last 22 years by pretty much every shoegaze band since. Slowdive relied far too much on their name and reputation for the release of this album. The first track “Slomo” is my personal favorite but I can’t say the band is pushing any boundaries or delivering their full passion in it. The echoed, hardly distinct vocals are easy on the ears but remind me too much of other acts such as “Cold Cave.” The low point on the album is definitely “Sugar For The Pill.” This is probably Slowdive’s most uninspired and repetitive track in their discography. That being said the rest of the album is pretty forgettable. I can see it serving as a good intro for new fans of the genre or the band but as soon as they get a taste of the bands older works, and other artists, the album will probably be quickly forgotten. Slowdive demonstrates that they still haven’t lost their talent as musicians but fails to deliver a cohesive vision as artists. “Slowdive” is available on CD, vinyl, and all digital formats thanks to Dead Oceans.
Written by- Joe Collins.
At The Drive In shattered the underground seventeen years ago with “Relationship of Command.” Which shaped modern post hardcore and allowing bands such as Thursday, Thrice, and mewithoutYou to exist. It’s hard to imagine any sort of modern underground scene without the band. Shortly after the release of “Relationship of Command” the group split and went their separate ways with the occasional live show across varying music festivals. The legendary group is back, and “in-ter-a-li-a” sounds as though the group hasn’t been gone at all, with exception to Jim Ward. “In-ter-a-li-a” packs just as much energy as the recordings that came out seventeen plus years ago. It’s raw and stays true to the early 2000’s post hardcore sound, while bands like mewithoutYou and Thrice have strayed from this path over the past couple years. At The Drive in maintains to be political in their own right, and it’s almost impossible not currently be. Singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala has never been hesitant to be upfront about political climates as well as other issues that he’s faced in life. Cedric manages to keep his very poetic style of writing and explicit statements which have always been the forefront of the band. The production on this record is pretty good, it’s not anything amazing but it sounds nice and even. But I don’t think Omar Rodriguez Lopez is showing off what he is capable of on this record, I’ve enjoyed the work on the eight solo records he’s put out this year more than what I’m hearing on this record. I do think Paul Hiojos and Tony Hajjar sound amazing and help bring this record to life. As for Keeley Davis I don’t really know what to say, I don’t know anything about his previous work, and this being his first project with At The Drive In. He is no Jim Ward though. At The Drive in have made an amazing comeback with “in-ter-a-li-a” and I hope they stick around for a bit. “In-ter-a-li-a” is out through Rise Records on CD, vinyl, and all digital formats.
Written by- Zander Velleca.