These are my latest album reviews for AP's website. Click the titles to buy them from Amazon.
THE NAKED AND FAMOUS
Passive Me, Aggressive You (Universal Republic)
On some tracks, like “Eyes” and “Young Blood,” the band up the emotional content a little in an attempt to get ’80s-style epic and modernize the weeping-androids sound the Human League perfected back then. They never quite make it, though, and just wind up sounding like some half-forgotten song from midway through the second side of the Breakfast Club soundtrack. A few others overstay their welcome, like the nearly six-minute “No Way,” which transitions from sub-Coldplay piano pounding to fuzzy acoustic guitar strumming, all with gently shimmery female vocals (part shoegaze, part Primal Scream circa 1991) on top. It’s nice, but would have been nicer at three minutes. But when the Naked And Famous get noisy, as on “Spank,” “Jilted Lovers” and “A Wolf In Geek’s Clothing,” they successfully meld the Ting Tings and Sleigh Bells.
Love & War (Hellcat)