Henry: Happy Hallowe’en. Get ready for an awkward segue: Don’t you think it’s scary how bad bands you love can turn out to be? Positively spooky.
Michael: I’m shivering at the thought of listening to the third Kooks album.
MGMT – Congratulations
H: On another listen, I don’t actually hate this. I’ve been listening to it for the last hour while working so it has its merits. But it’s still a huge disappointment because it doesn’t muster any of the magic that they managed to ignite on their first album. Look back at Oracular Spectacular and you’re going to be surprised at how many hits there were on that album. There weren’t supposed to be, I don’t think. It’s a weird sound, it’s jarring and disjointed. But magical at the same time. And something about their sound just clicked (like, obviously: Did you hear soundtracks that year? You could not escape MGMT). So all their subsequent efforts have sounded a bit trying. And tiring. Their third album did … not help matters.
The 1975 – The 1975
M: Seriously, I have loved these guys for a long time. Like a long, long, long time. I have been covering Drive Like I Do/Big Sleep/The Slowdown and Talk House (all the names of Matt Healy’s fourpiece before their new (stupid) name) and as Facedown, their first EP, blew up, so slowly did my affection for The 1975. First, Jamie at All on Red, made me take down all references to the The 1975 from their old songs; ummmmm why exactly!? Then, they bastardized their best song (Chocolate which their old version of, by the way, remains my favourite song). And now, they release an album built for the masses. I don’t begrudge them for doing this but I do begrudge them (when I say them, I mainly mean whoever manages them) for trying to disown everything they used to be. Like really, Girls is just a dreadful song and it’s their latest single. It also is nothing like The 1975 used to and should sound. And while I appreciate this has turned into just a big old rant from me and that M.O.N.E.Y is a quality album track, most songs on this record felt like one crushing disappointment after the other. What happened to Lost Boys and Ghosts you know!?
H: You’ve had such a storied affair with these guys that I’m surprised you feel okay enough to talk about them. They just sound like they’re ripping their own sound off on their album. And their original sound was kind of a rip off of brit-pop’s finest decades so, it’s all a bit stagnant here.
Bad Blood – Bastille
M: I’ve previously mentioned my discontent with the direction Bastille took this year on his debut album after I went to go see them live last Spring. Anyway, the fifteen track debut earned Bastille a number one album, massive radio play and a huge legion of tween fans. In many ways, Bastille’s story is the same as The 1975’s one. I adored both of these artists a couple of years ago but as they’ve found success and droves of followers, they’ve also found a less original sound and, most importantly, a lack of approval from me. You could literally listen to that album without noticing that it wasn’t just one really repetitive, hour-long, song. That said, the extended issue has put some of Other People Heartache onto the record and made it a much better debut record to look back upon.
H: Saturation point with these guys. Liking a band when their sound is raw, and their own is very different to having their streamlined, shallow reflections blaring at your from everyone at your college’s iPhones. In the words of Penny Harts, over it.
Arctic Monkeys – Favourite Worst Nightmare
H: Yeah, I know about ‘Fluorescent Adolescent.’ I knew all the words in prep school, too. But after their debut, everything was pretty downhill, next stop: Mediocre. But the best thing about their downward trajectory is that it hit a dead end with AM which is completely okay! There’s a little bit of hip-hop and a lot of lyrically experimentation (which sounds like something you’d do in college, but apparently is what bands save until their fifth album) and it all just works.