Tomi Milos
The Silhouette

My heart dropped when I took a look at the tracklist of Haim’s debut record, Days Are Gone, before listening last week. After harbouring high hopes for their major label coming out party, noticing that not one but four songs from their previous EPs had been thrown into the mix took the wind straight out of my sails.

Don’t fret if the name (pronounced high-im) doesn’t immediately ring a bell; you’ve probably seen the stylish L.A. trio on Tumblr. Este, Danielle, and Alana Haim are sisters who’ve been playing music together since forming a childhood band with their parents. Through a “stroke” of luck, Danielle managed to nab a spot in Julian Casablancas’ backing band and brought her sisters along so they could open for the eccentric musician on his solo tour. In a recent interview with the Guardian, the sisters mentioned that his advice to them was to “disappear, come back in a year with stronger songs and hit the ground running."

Listening to the record ahead of its Oct. 1 release, it’s easy to wonder if they paid any heed to this sage advice. Perhaps their only smart decision was bringing in veteran producer Ariel Reichstadt in a failed bid to rekindle earlier magic. Along with receiving a co-production credit on Vampire Weekend’s stunning Modern Vampires of The City, Reichstadt helped craft one of the trio’s strongest songs yet, “Falling.” “Haim” is Hebrew for “life,” which is funny, because after stripping away terrific old tracks like “Don’t Save Me” and “Forever,” their record is utterly devoid of any sign of it and plays more like a subpar EP with plenty of filler.

The fact that the band cancelled a slew of opening dates for Vampire Weekend in order to finish up work on Days Are Gone is ironic, because it sounds like it was composed at whim on a laptop during odd moments on a tour bus. “The Wire” and its accompanying video are hopelessly corny, but will probably be all over soft-rock radio stations in the upcoming months. “My Song 5” is an unlistenable attempt to mirror the grating sound that Justin Timberlake captured on FutureSex/LoveSounds that splutters to an end that couldn’t come soon enough.

To the sisters’ merit, not all of their new output deserves a spot in your computer’s trash bin. Songs like “If I Could Change Your Mind” and “Honey & I” capture the buoyancy that made them so fun in the first place. On the latter, Danielle sings about turning away a lover with a husky voice that’ll break your heart.

Despite being heavily hyped, the record will fail to win over fans expecting something groundbreaking. That said, the Haim sisters are too talented to be releasing a half-assed effort like this. Here’s to hoping they can regroup before their days are really gone and another horde of “it-girls” in high-waisted jean shorts are fighting to take their place in an increasingly dull and over-saturated music industry.

2/5

Shane Madill
The Silhouette

People who dislike Drake tend to be very vocal about their opinion. People disagree with him being the face of contemporary hip-hop and people disagree with his credibility given his background. Yet, to deny that there is a lack of talent present in all of his records and to deny that he is constantly developing is simply incorrect.

Nothing Was the Same represents two of Drake’s personas. One side is the man who wants to brag about his newfound success and believes that this success is warranted. The other side is the man who knows this is stupid to do and still struggles with issues of isolation and abandonment, leading to oversensitive sentiments about women who do commit.

His interpretation of his success does not concern how a successful actor who was raised in Forest Hill managed to get his foot in the music industry’s door, but rather how a Jewish Canadian high school dropout from a broken family managed to climb to the top of the music world.

He embraces and writes about very personal, but very common issues, and brings this to the forefront constantly in his songs. Most tend to be turned off by the subject matter of “Drake,” as shown by the typical complaints about him. But moving past this reveals a more sensitive and internally conflicted side of hip-hop that is rarely explored, and rarely to this quality.

Drake’s flow and his ear for beats are two of the most noticeable improvements over his previous studio albums, Take Care and Thank Me Later. On the highlights of Nothing Was the Same his delivery is sharp, quick, and accented by brilliant production from long-time collaborator Noah “40” Shebib. Even on lyrically unsubstantial songs, like “Started From The Bottom” and the majority of “Worst Behaviour,” the beat is instantly recognizable and enjoyable every time it cycles through your playlist.

However, Drake’s lyricism is a lot more inconsistent relative to Take Care. For every, “After hours of II Mulino/Or Sotto Sotto, just talking to women and vino/The contract like ’91 Dan Marino/I swear this got Michael Rapinos boosting my ego” there is an equal and opposite “Girl don’t treat me like a stranger/Girl you know I seen ya naked.” Though understanding and respecting his perspective and intent helps one to gloss over this, these sorts of lines are just sloppy in comparison and stop the album from reaching greatness. You may remember Nothing Was the Same for the beats or for some interesting wordplay, but there is no doubt that you will also remember these unfortunate low points.

3/5

Review of Untogether by Blue Hawaii.

It’s crazy to think that at one point in time there were only really a handful of viable and appreciated genres of music. It’s even more absurd that these genres became so versatile at some point in the last decade that bands like Blue Hawaii have made a name for themselves without having to subscribe to any particular style. Untogether is the Canadian band’s first official album, a careful blend of dreampop, dance music, and spacey, reverb-laden beats. Although the female vocals are breathy and sparse, they work well with the minimalistic production. If the beat were more demanding I would have found the vocalist to be underwhelming, but the genre (whatever it may be) does not call for Ellie Goulding-style powerhouse melodies.

If you’ve never strayed far from your musical safe zone, start by listening to the song “Try To Be,” as it is one of a select few tracks that does have some sense of order. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing; “Sweet Tooth” and “Flammarion” bring beauty out of disarray by shifting the focus to the very impressive and unique sampling rather than the structure of the song.

This is not an album for everybody. In fact, the target audience for this album is probably smaller than most of your tutorials. Personally, I’m filing this one under “interesting.”

3/5

By: Brody Weld

Review of Bankrupt! by Phoenix

On Bankrupt!, the highly-anticipated follow-up to 2009's Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, Phoenix delivers an album that does not disappoint. Although Bankrupt! sees Phoenix reducing the role of their trademark guitars to expand upon the keyboard-heavy sound first introduced on Wolfgang, the transition, for the most part, seems natural. Songs like "The Real Thing" and "Oblique City" justify the progression, displaying an infectious combination of keyboard riffs and driving rhythms. However, what cements the agreeableness of this keyboard-driven style is its synergy with Thomas Mars' voice. This is done best on "Bourgeois", a song with a backing track that would sound right at home on a Daft Punk album. Mars' voice perfectly accentuates the music, captivating the listener.

Although keyboards compliment many of the songs, the title track sees an excessive use of programming, creating a forgettable seven-minute interlude.  “Bankrupt!”, however, is an exception, and for the majority of this ten-track album the programming does not overwhelm the listener.

Keyboards may be the most prominent instrument on the album, but when Phoenix returns to guitar-driven music like on lead single "Entertainment," the result is satisfying.  "Entertainment" shows Phoenix experimenting with an East-Asian sound, and when combined with the song's strong hooks, the end result should remind us why we first paid attention to this band when they released “1901.”

4/5

By: Spencer Jones

Review of Reach Beyond the Sun by Shai Hulud

Eleven hardcore anthems comprise Shai Hulud's newest full-length Reach Beyond the Sun — and what a fantastic eleven they are. The album is an exercise in consistency, with its first half being a particularly rock-solid collection of frantic guitar playing, breakneck drumming, and aggressive shouted vocals. And while this is certainly a heavy and intense record, it never fails to be catchy as well. Many of the album's leads and vocal melodies will be stuck in your head for days.

At only 34 minutes, Reach Beyond the Sun is not a long album, but it doesn't need to be. There is not a second wasted here, and while the record's pissed off demeanor never really changes, there is enough variation in terms of songwriting and tempo to keep things from getting boring.

As of right now, this is my album of the year, and it's going to take something pretty incredible to change that. Recommended for fans of Converge, Refused, Gaza, and the hardcore/progressive metal genres.

4.5/5

By: Alex Sallas

Review of Comeback Machine by The Strokes

For detractors of the Strokes — yes, they seem to come out of the woodwork whenever a new album is released — the jabs about the New York rockers’ latest offering write themselves (i.e. Comedown Machine isn’t a Comeback Machine). But what is perplexing is the number of reviews that turned into savage ad hominem attacks of the Fab Five. It’s been a while since Julian Casablanca, Nick Valensi, Albert Hammond Jr., Nikolai Fraiture, and Fab Moretti released what were arguably their best works in Is This It and Room On Fire. The first of the two defined a generation who oozed antipathy towards an increasingly neoliberal society and vented their frustration, some of it sexual, on tracks like “New York City Cops” and “Take It Or Leave It." The latter album saw them expound on their raw, unfiltered sound but with more finesse and wherewithal, cementing them as the music world’s darlings.

Suddenly, it became “uncool” to like the Strokes. Perhaps it was due to something inconsequential — maybe Julian snubbed Ryan Schrieber at a bar — but “tastemakers” (cough, cough) like Pitchfork have turned their backs on the Strokes, or rather have gotten off their knees and tried to dust their pride off.

Sure, the Strokes may have suffered some soap opera-like problems of late (Angles was made with Julian emailing vocals to the rest of the band, who worked without him in the studio). But it seems like the boys have let bygones be bygones and agreed to keep things professional. “Tap Out” is rousing piece of funk that challenges the media’s authoritative tone — “Decide my past, Define my life, Don’t ask questions, Cause I don’t know why” — and manages to sound inviting and foreboding at the same time. “All The Time” seems like a laboured attempt to reproduce the magic of their early heyday and appease naysayers, but it falls flat. The song is interesting enough, with clever chord changes, a tight solo and a vintage Casablancas verse, but the band seems better off with their new sound.

Speaking of fresh sounds, “One Way Trigger” befuddled listeners when it was released earlier this year. It finds Casablancas indulging in his passion for retro synths and even features the frontman singing in falsetto. The track wouldn’t appear at odds with the lead singer’s solo work, but Fraiture’s distinctive bass acts as a constant reminder that this is indeed a Strokes song, and a good one, even if it does demand an acquired taste.

“Welcome To Japan” is a standout that captures the rawness of the band’s old days with its loose rendition. Even though Casablancas has a fairly limited vocal range, the same can’t be said for his creative lyrics and the manner in which he manages to alter the inflection of his voice to evoke emotion. And how can you not nod in agreement when Casablancas at his sardonic best ponders, “what kind of asshole drives a Lotus?”

The Strokes don’t need to be making music, but the laughter that punctuates the end of “Slow Animals” reveals that at least they’re having fun doing it. The same can’t be said for some of these miserable, sadistic music critics whose writing perspective has been jaded by what seems like a hatred of the world. Besides, maybe we should all take a cue from Julian, who sings “we don’t have to know each other’s names” on “Tapout” and just listen to what we like without judging its makers’ personality (except for Chris Brown - be ruthless with that scum).

4/5

By: Tomi Milos

Album: Black on Blonde

Artist: k-os

Impressive is the only way I can describe the latest k-os album. Black on Blonde is the fifth studio album by the Canadian rapper since his last release in 2010. The album comes as a double disc with the different types of music on each. The Black album is his rap and hip hop side, while Blonde is his rock side. The two sides are distinct but unite so well. They compliment each other perfectly.

The Black side of the album is what we’re used to. It’s what made us fall in love with k-os in the first place and features great Canadian artists like Saukrates and Shad. The Roots’ Black Thought and Travie McCoy are also featured. The Black side shows us that he can still be a great rapper while introducing elements of rock to perfect his sound.

A rock influence finds its way to the Blonde side as k-os plays his guitar on some of the tracks. The side also features great Canadian artists like Emily Haines from Metric and Sam Roberts. Even though we aren’t used to hearing just rock music from k-os, you can hear the dedication that was put into the Blonde side of the album. I’ve never been an active rock listener, but I can appreciate what k-os does.

The album as a whole is refreshing and well performed. The creative sound incorporates genres of rap, hip-hop, rock and a little bit of pop, which shows off the many talents of k-os. Instead of falling into a mainstream view of what a hip hop artist looks like, k-os has deviated from that identity with this great album. Black on Blonde deserves a listen.

4/5

Sonya Kahlon 

 

Album: Laid Out 

Artist: Shlomo

In the two years since the release of his debut LP, 2011’s Bad Vibes, Shlohmo (a.k.a. Henry Laufer) has strayed broadly from that album’s abstract hip-hop sound collages. Last year’s Vacation EP ditched field recordings in favor of mangled vocals and a more polished, emotional spin on his chilled-out sonic palette. Meanwhile, a series of remixes found him experimenting with dance, screwed, and trap, the last of which is the focus of his latest effort.

No one’s going to mistake Laid Out for, like, Flosstradamus, but trap’s signature note repeats unmistakably dominate the EP. Shlohmo’s take on trap is, of course, distinctly more mellow than those of his EDM contemporaries, all lush synths and soaring R&B melodies. The EP’s centrepiece, “Later,” pits one such vocal performance against a stuttering duet between a snare and a hat, while “Out of Hand” soulfully disfigures a more ethereal sample.

Most of the hype surrounding the EP, though, centers on opener “Don’t Say No,” a collaboration with guest vocalist How to Dress Well, which builds its frozen synths and melismatic falsetto into an anaesthetic climax. All the while, trap hats provide the perfect rhythmic counterpoint to the sepulchral tempo. The brooding latter half of the EP is a bit of a letdown in comparison, but all in all, Laid Out is an atmospheric, R&B-heavy slice of hip hop that proves Shlohmo is just as adept with a MPC as he is with a field recorder.

3.5/5

Michael Skinnider

 

Album: Classified

Artist: Classified

From the very beginning Classified’s self-titled album sounds like a work of art and different from everything else. It’s refreshing, upbeat and looks at the positives instead of the negatives.

Classified is Nova Scotia-born and doesn’t sound like your average rapper, avoiding degrading women or bragging about his money. Instead he delivers positive messages, excellent beats and talks about what it feels like to raise a daughter and all the struggles he faced during high school. His messages are relatable, which is what I think makes him a great rapper.

Classified features a lot of great Canadian artists like David Myles, Saukrates, Skratch Bastid and Kardinal Offishall. It also features the legendary Raekwon, one of the original members of Wu Tang Clan. With so many talented people on one album, it has to be a hit, and in Canada it went to number one on the Canadian Album Charts.

Classified’s message is inspirational and this album should make any Canadian proud.

3.5/5

Sonya Kahlo


Album: Beta Love 

Artist: Ra Ra Riot

It took a month of listening to Ra Ra Riot’s new album, Beta Love, to realize that the faint hopes I have entertained since 2008 will linger in limbo for eternity; the band will never make another record like The Rhumb Line. The melancholic cello and violin backdrops that defined that album are a thing of the past. Having been closely affiliated with Vampire Weekend (lead singer Wes Miles formed a band called The Sophisticuffs with Ezra Koenig in grade school), the group now seems to be doing all they can to distance themselves from the Ivy League-influenced chamber pop roots that first drew critics to compare the two.

For what it’s worth, Ra Ra Riot has done an admirable job of adjusting to life without departed cellist Alexandra Lawn. This time around, Miles may have drawn inspiration from Discovery, his side-project with Rostam Batmanglij (Vampire Weekend’s keyboardist/producer). Beta Love is rife with fluttering keyboards and futuristic synths, and inspired lyrically by the band’s reading of Ray Kurzweil’s novel The Singularity Is Near. The title track is an embrace of the band’s newfound affinity for technology, and is one of the strongest moments on the album with Miles showcasing his high vocal range. “Is It Too Much” finds bassist Mathieu Santos repurposed as a keyboard player and coyly toying with fans of the old baroque style. But just when one is tempted to start reminiscing about Rhumb Line, Miles interjects with cacophonic, distorted vocals.

Other tracks struggle with the band’s ambiguous desire to use every production tool at their disposal as the instruments are placed in a bitter fight to shine through the convoluted mess. When Rebecca Zeller’s violin is heard, it couldn’t sound more dissonant. But that isn’t always the case, as her impassioned playing on “Angel, Please” lends Miles’ playful pleas of “please stay with me” a light-hearted, airy quality that brings to mind the earnest pursuit of a first love.

The album’s flaw lies in its top-heavy nature; the last five tracks are slow to build and far from gratifying. Barring those exceptions, Beta Love’s first six songs would be a great addition to any party’s playlist.

3/5

Tomi Milos

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Album: Tempest

Artist: Bob Dylan

Writer: Spencer Nestico-Semianiw

Rating: 4.5/5

Bob Dylan’s 1997 album Time Out of Mind marked his return to the musical innovation that hasn’t been heard since the late 1970s. With the creation of his 2000s masterpieces Love and Theft and Modern Times, Bob Dylan sought to invigorate his career by reinventing himself as an artist. In this gathering momentum Dylan has released the appropriately named Tempest.

Bob Dylan has always felt the need to write about the social barriers within his time, but here he's looking more to the past. Instead of rambling about the present, songs like “Roll on John” reminisce. Perhaps Dylan is just living the life of his contemporaries, who see the past as an escape from today. He doesn’t adapt to the times because he knows they’ll adapt to him.  But these sentiments may not mean much to young people who want music grounded in the present, just as the youth of yesterday did.

The title Tempest sparked anxious rumors that this would be Dylan’s last album. Although Dylan has refuted the claims, if this is indeed his last effort it would do an appropriate justice to his career. That’s saying quite a lot.

Album: Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!

Artist: Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Writer: Alexander Sallas   

Rating: 4.5/5

A few weeks ago, the music world collectively orgasmed as famed

Canadian post-rock band Godspeed You! Black Emperor announced out of nowhere that they would be releasing their fourth album after a ten-year hiatus. Now, one might be inclined to believe that such a long break would have affected the band in some way. One would be wrong. GY!BE are just as good as they ever were.

On Allejuah! Don't Bend! Ascend! the songs are still paced perfectly, the crescendos are still just as mighty, and the instrumentation still comes together to form one living, breathing organism in a way that only GY!BE can do.

The record consists of two longer, more "traditional" songs and two ambient drones. In typical GY!BE fashion, the songs are about twenty minutes apiece, and the drone tracks clock in around six and eight minutes, respectively. Each second of the album is carefully constructed; every sound, every cerebral sample and every bit of feedback has its place.

The album doesn't quite get a perfect score mainly because the final drone track is a little underwhelming. But this is an excellent album nonetheless, and firmly cements GY!BE's place as one of, if not the, greatest post-rock band of all time.

Album: Dead End Kings

Artist: Katatonia

Writer: Alexander Sallas 

Rating: 4/5

Katatonia’s latest release doesn’t really change the band’s formula of depressive, proggy metal. Instead of change, the band expands their sound. Keyboards and violins are more prominent than ever on "The Racing Heart" and closer "Dead Letters" and female vocals are utilized to great effect on "The One You Are Looking For Is Not Here."

The record has a strong sense of flow, and instrumentally the band puts on a solid performance. The drumming is particularly great, with lots of tasty, creative cymbal hits. David Castillo's production is also fantastic; every instrument is clear and the levels are perfectly balanced.

The previously mentioned lack of change is slightly disappointing, but nonetheless, Katatonia have crafted a great album with Dead End Kings. It may not reinvent the wheel, but when the wheel is this well-oiled, why bother changing it?

Album: Lightning 

Artist:Matt & Kim

Writer: Brody Weld

Rating: 2.5/5

Heavy kick drums, over-the-top synth layering, shout-y vocals, catchy melodies…sound familiar? If you’re already a Matt & Kim fan, you’ll recognize this formula. It hasn’t changed, and they intend to keep it that way.
To be fair, Matt & Kim’s consistency could be seen as either a talent or a crutch. Most bands have a difficult time getting to their fourth album without trying a new direction. Not Matt & Kim. They still pepper their upbeat songs with simple piano lines, the keyboards still sound like early ‘90s Casios, and Matt is still belting the same vocal lines (seriously, some tracks have nearly identical vocal melodies to previous recordings; compare “Let’s Go” and “Good For Great” from the previous album).
The strengths: they’re still great at what they do. “I Said” and “I Wonder” are masterfully produced. “Let’s Go” is an echo of their first big hit, “Daylight,” and “It’s Alright” features one of the catchiest brass lines ever.  The flaws: it’s a disappointingly small album, and if you played it back-to-back with their self-titled debut, most people couldn’t say which came first.

Album: Mirage Rock

Artist: Band of Horses

Author:  Tina Cody

Rating: 2/5

 

Mirage Rock marks Band of Horses’ fourth studio album, and sadly continues the decline that began with their previous record, Infinite Arms. With Mirage Rock, Band of Horses tries to forage into the realm of pop music. Unfortunately, their distinct twang does not seem to fit this genre as the group attempts to create catchy tunes, which infuse a medley of musical styles.

Band of Horses find themselves unsuccessfully straddling the borders of rock, country, and pop. In many instances it appears as if they are floundering, attempting to assert their musical style while also confused about their exact stance. Their songs no longer seem to ebb and flow, instead they remain still and monotonous, lacking a certain degree of intimacy.

By the end of the album, Birdwell’s honeyed vocals and meticulous strumming grow tiring, and the record’s tunes seem to follow some generic formula. “Electric Music” and “Everything’s Gonna Be Undone” offer some respite, proving to be unique songs among the mess of sameness. In no way can Mirage Rock hold a candle to the group’s previous work. In my opinion, Band of Horses fans should treat this album as a mirage, a mere figment of their imagination.

 

Album: The 2nd Law 

Artist: Muse

Author:  Brody Weld

Rating: 2/5

 

Shortly after they hit the studio in September of 2011 to begin working on The 2nd Law (the sixth Muse album to date), they warned us that it would be “radically different.”  That’s a hell of an understatement.

Don’t get me wrong; this is a solid album, but if you’ve been onboard the Muse train from the moment it left the station, you’re going to be baffled by the eclectic collage of styles.  They’ve easily covered three decades of genres with this release.  The first track, “Supremacy,” is one huge crescendo of gorgeous distorted falsettos and orchestra strikes.  Don’t get comfortable with the thickly textured atmosphere though, it isn’t consistent throughout the album.  Tracks like “Explorers,” “Animals,” and “Madness” are more traditionally minimalistic, while the groovy funk sound of “Panic Station” (slightly reminiscent of “Undisclosed Desires” from the last album) will have you wondering if you’re listening to the same band.

 

 

Album: Will Happiness Find Me?

Artist: Maria Minerva

Author:  Justin Baird

Rating: 3.5/5

 

Maria Minerva’s sophomore LP Will Happiness Find Me? is not the most usual listen, although not particularly abstract.

Songs sometimes break up to change pace or overall sound and direction. Vocals are often processed with delay and reverb, creating a dizzying vocal track. Looping samples create the entire beat for one track, which is perhaps the best of the LP. However, the album has a structure that supports this sort of dissociative style without being too conceptual.

Not easily described as the most exciting music, the overall tone is quite pleasant. Although not exactly a notable change in style from her first album (which is a good thing), she’s certainly developed, as she incorporates bits of various themes to construct more of an eclectic sound. If you don’t like one song, that doesn’t necessarily mean you wont like the next, as there’s rarely a similar theme in two songs, without straying too far from her own style. Overall, it’s truly a creative album that deserves a listen for it’s strange lack of press coverage and it’s ability to cover a lot of musical bases without being a novelty.

 

Album: Shields

Artist: Grizzly Bear

Author: Michael Skinnider

Rating: 4.5/5

 

Grizzly Bear has always had a tendency to get stuck: on a particular instrument, as with "Two Weeks"' piano or on a lyrical motif, as in "Colorado"'s eponymous refrain. Shields, in this context, feels propulsive: even its poppiest songs make a concerted effort to avoid embracing a particular atmosphere. "Yet Again," the album's lushest song, closes with a minute of strident guitar squalls, and choruses have a tendency to drop out into nothingness midway through.

The band itself has emphasized the influence of democracy in the recording process, and indeed, Shields explores subtleties of tone and texture, combinations of each member's musical vocabulary that stand in contrast to Veckatimest's vocal-centric baroque pop. Perhaps this is why Shields is also the most grandiose record in Grizzly Bear's canon. Nothing in their discography comes close to the aggressive, orchestral tension of "Half-Gate," whose strings are sheer, Sun Ra-esque blasts of sound.

Shields doesn't really have an obvious entry point, and as a result, is a more challenging record than anything they've put out since Ed Droste's debut, quasi-solo album Horn of Plenty, but its intimacy and intricacy are just as rewarding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Album: Babel

Artist: Mumford and Sons

Author: Michael Skinnider

Rating: 3/5

 

Following up a hit album can be difficult. Just ask Mumford and Sons, whose album Sigh No More was both commercially successful and critically acclaimed. Perhaps wisely then, they chose not to fix what wasn’t broken. Babel features many of the same qualities that made Sigh No More so successful. Folky song structures, lovely harmonies, lively banjo, and of course Marcus Mumford’s distinctive growl, are all alive and well on the album. There is a familiar balance between jaunty, up tempo blasts, and more intimate moments.

The album does come up short in a few areas however.  Fans looking for serious stylistic progression will come away disappointed. That being said, there is a lot to like about Babel. It may not break the mould, but there is no doubt that the sound is distinctly, and uniquely, their own.

It proves that their first album was no fluke, and it affirms that Mumford and Sons will continue to be serious players in today’s folk rock scene for a very long time to come.

 

 

Game: World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria

Author: Jason Scherer

Rating: 4.75/5

 

Countless hours - bloodshot eyes - one more red bull - must reach max level! This expansion has put the breath of life back into World of Warcraft. Here are some new features that make Pandaria truly epic.

Cross realm servers solve low population server issues as well as shine a new light on PVP for those ready to get back to the roots of faction warfare. Now you can group up with friends from any server. However, there will be fewer enemies to kill for quests, more crowded areas, and less resources to ore. This is compensated for with fast re-spawn times.

Keeping true to the new eastern theme of Mists of Pandaria, a new playable race of characters has been made available to players. In MoP you will be able to crush enemies on either faction with the neutral Pandarens. For the first time, World of Warcraft has introduced a race which can be played as alliance or horde.

After countless hours of playing the new expansion, I can confidently say that gamers are in for a sick experience. It feels good to explore new areas and participate in the annihilation of the alliance. See you all in Pandaria!

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