The Concretes C/D

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I like this album. Don't know much about them though. Reminds me a lot of that band Slum who released a single on Warp once.

dog latin (dog latin), Wednesday, 11 August 2004 07:04 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

It's lovely. (Its fizzy ribena pop at its best!) Best use of the 'Be My Baby' drum intro thing this year.

flowersdie (flowersdie), Wednesday, 11 August 2004 08:47 (thirteen years ago) Permalink


Mil (Mil), Wednesday, 11 August 2004 11:00 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Is this a recent album? Or a re-release?

dog latin (dog latin), Wednesday, 11 August 2004 11:04 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

It was originally released on their own label last year.

Johnny Fever (johnny fever), Wednesday, 11 August 2004 11:46 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Pretty good - bit samey in places, but works very well in the good bits.

William Bloody Swygart (mrswygart), Wednesday, 11 August 2004 11:48 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I can't stand the vocals, they're so off-pitch. Totally ruins the band for me.

The guitarist's side-project Heikki with producer/Bear Quartet guitarist Jari Haapalainen is excellent, though.

Avi (Avi), Wednesday, 11 August 2004 15:02 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

The vocals are no problem; they are a nicely distinguishing trait. "Warm Night" is my very favourite: really enveloping mounds of sound. There are rather many good melodies on the album too, mind.

Tom May (Tom May), Wednesday, 11 August 2004 15:17 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Have to agree with Avi, the vocals are awful in that "I wanna sound like Hope Sandoval but actually have no texture to my voice" way. If she sang in her native language it might work a little better, but in English it's more than awkward.

zaxxon25 (zaxxon25), Wednesday, 11 August 2004 16:23 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

nine months pass...
my mom's visiting me here in L.A. and she wanted to go to Amoeba because "I really want to get that Concretes CD!" She also picked up an Ornette Coleman album, Dancing In Your Head. I think my mom lurks on ILM.

Gear! (can Jung shill it, Mu?) (Gear!), Monday, 16 May 2005 16:33 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

five years pass...

Can we talk about Matthew Perpetua's review of WYWH on Pitchfork? It's been bugging me all day long, even to the point of irrational madness.

In some ways it's very easy to understand why a band would keep its name after their very distinct lead singer has departed. Name recognition will ensure a certain number of people will pay attention to your new music and come out to shows. Hell, some bands, such as Pink Floyd and Genesis, became only more successful after their charismatic original singer left the group. So there's that. Mostly, however, it's a terrible idea. You run the risk of alienating your audience and tarnishing your legacy. Your new music never gets a fair chance, since it's always going to be compared unfavorably to your past glories. It's hard to grasp why the remaining members of the Concretes ever made this foolish gamble.

Maybe the band kept their name because they realized, and rightfully so, that Victoria Bergsman wasn't as important to their identity as you seem to think she is. They were a band consisting of nine people, and now they consist of eight people. Because a singer you very transparently have a boner for leaves, THE WHOLE BAND SHOULD ABANDON THEIR IDENTITY? Fuck you. Seriously. The only reason their new music isn't getting a fair chance is because you aren't giving it one. That's on you, buddy.

WYWH is the second Concretes album without singer Victoria Bergsman, who left to follow her own muse with Taken By Trees. Though the Concretes were always a large band, and current singers Lisa Milberg and Maria Eriksson have been in the group all along, there is no getting around the reality that Bergsman's unmistakable voice was the most attractive and interesting thing about their music. On their brilliant self-titled debut, her heavily accented, painfully introverted presence clicked with the band's Velvet Underground-meets-Motown sound in a way that was unique and magical. Without Bergsman as an anchor, the Concretes have no particular identity. Milberg and Eriksson are good vocalists but are lacking in character, and the songwriting has become rather generic, at least in terms of icy Scandinavian indie music. It may be mostly the same musicians, but it's just not the same band that produced gems like "You Can't Hurry Love" and "Diana Ross". Carrying on as the Concretes is at least somewhat dishonest, like an artistic bait-and-switch.

Right, this is their SECOND album without the same singer you spent the first paragraph writing a love letter to. They didn't bring in an outsider. Everyone there is still and has in the past been a Concrete. Victoria had a nice voice, sure, but it wasn't what kept me coming back to their earlier records time after time. It was the songs. This is a BAND who write great SONGS and continue to do so, despite them falling on your deaf ear.

In an alternate reality in which WYWH was released under a band name other than the Concretes, it would still be a mediocre effort, but it would at least be easier to appreciate it on its own terms. The group's attempts at a more danceable sound on "Good Evening" and "All Day" are modestly successful and flatter Milberg's understated vocal style. Despite solid musicianship, however, their grooves are often rather limp, and many of their disco moves are only theoretically conducive to actual dancing. The album maintains a pleasing and mellow atmosphere, but the tone isn't very evocative. Whereas their earliest work brought to mind a surreal winter wonderland, this music seems oddly blank. It feels like being nowhere, and not in an interesting sort of way. The problem here isn't to do with craft-- these are reasonably okay compositions performed by a band of talented professionals-- but it could be a matter of passion and commitment. There's no sense of emotional stakes on the album, and there isn't any strong feeling to connect with either way. To some extent, WYWH can get by on vibe, but really, a listener can do much better, even without going further back into the Concretes catalog.

— Matthew Perpetua, November 9, 2010

No sense of emotional stakes? This is an album that took a long time to make. They essentially went on an extended vacation after Hey Trouble and came back together two years later to start fresh. How could there NOT be any emotional stakes? I think they should be applauded rather than derided for engaging a different songwriting style, one that's far more nuanced than you're apparently capable of handling. WYWH is a mood record in the most literal sense. I say the problem lies with you, wanting the band to consistently repeat themselves in ways that they no longer can or wish to do, just because you liked what they were doing seven years ago. Again, fuck you.

I've known Matthew for twelve years, and I've seen him write a lot of great things and a lot of stupid things, but this absolutely the dumbest thing he's ever concocted.

Johnny Fever, Tuesday, 9 November 2010 21:07 (seven years ago) Permalink

I mean, even if I didn't like this record, I'd still think this is a completely disingenuous way to approach a review.

Johnny Fever, Tuesday, 9 November 2010 21:13 (seven years ago) Permalink

six years pass...

first album's classic

Week of Wonders (Ross), Friday, 8 September 2017 03:38 (eight months ago) Permalink

lol I'd forgotten about the pfork WYWH review. Now I'm angry again.

Ⓓⓡ. (Johnny Fever), Friday, 8 September 2017 03:42 (eight months ago) Permalink

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