Sunday, December 14, 2014

alt-J: 'This is All Yours'

In 2012 Alt-J took the much-coveted Mercury Prize for their debut album ‘An Awesome Wave’ and many critics eagerly awaited or quietly cringed to see what they would come up for their second effort.  I say cringe as artists who receive such staggering acclaim with their first album often never meet the subsequent high expectations.  Nonetheless, the English trio have released a solid collection of songs for their sophomore album. Perhaps not as intellectual as that of ‘Taro’ or ‘Bloodflood’ but they exhibit a playfulness that suggests that they are becoming used to their own skins as musicians and not taking themselves too seriously – plainly exhibited with their sampling of Miley Cyrus in ‘Hunger of the Pine’ and the nasally infectious ‘Left Hand Free’.  Recommended. (8 out of 10)

Various Authors, edited by Ross Lockhart: 'The Book of Cthulhu'

A series made up of two volumes, ‘The Book of Cthulhu’, edited by Ross Lockhart, is composed of short stories that pay homage to H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos. From classic tales of gothic horror set in decayed villages of New England, to modern interpretations of the Lovecraft’s work set in post 9/11 America, the collection offers readers a wide variety of deliciously creepy stories depicting arcane discovery, irrepressible madness, and, ultimately, cosmic dissolution. Wonderful stuff to put a spring in your step! (A few ups and down but still provides a solid 8 out of 10)