Dido Rides Success In Return While Royal Canoe, Broods Falter
Royal Canoe — ‘Waver’
THE GOOD: Canadian indie pop outfit Royal Canoe comes back with a textured fourth.
THE BAD: “Waver” works without breaking any particularly new ground; Royal Canoe embraces your standard combination of rock and electronic elements.
THE NITTY GRITTY: For the uninitiated, the band sounds like a more straight-forward MGMT crossed with a more interesting Foster the People. Sprinkle some vintage Beta Band over the top. Perhaps a little Beck, too. You end up with an album that doesn’t resemble anything completely fresh, yet doesn’t feel like a pointless retread either.
My favorite bits include punchy, crackling single “RAYZ” and the melodically hypnotic “77-76,” but none of the tracks necessarily falter (though some feel interchangeable). Moving forward, though, the band should avoid slipping into an all-too-comfortable rut. Its sound possesses room for expansion, and even the slightest future experimentation will make matters all the more colorful and interesting. We’ll see what happens. As for now, though, “Waver” isn’t bad at all.
BUY IT?: Your call.
Dido — ‘Still on My Mind’
THE GOOD: British singer/songwriter Dido returns with her fifth album (and first in six years).
THE BAD: No gripes.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Dido’s voice is soothing but can still penetrate a tough beat. She’s best suited for the softer stuff but holds her own when riding a trip-hop rhythm. Her music is worthy of your attention but also works as background fill. She’s whatever you need her to be.
Dido has been away. Did we miss her? Honestly, I’m not sure, but the new album made me glad she returned. A few forceful tracks aside (“Take You Home” and “Mad Love” are both seamless bangers), much of “Mind” is more sweeping and delicate. Dido works with her brother and Faithless founder Rollo Armstrong throughout most of the album, and that collaboration brings about an agreeable mix of electronic music and more organic modern pop.
Nothing earth-shattering here. But with Dido, even the potentially mundane can be thrilling. Again, whatever you need her to be.
BUY IT?: Sure.
Broods — ‘Don’t Feed the Pop Monster’
THE GOOD: New Zealand sister-brother duo Broods returns with its third.
THE BAD: If the album’s title is a rallying cry against the formulaic, well ... OOPS!
THE NITTY GRITTY: There’s nothing disagreeable on the record, but there’s nothing all that memorable either. “Pop Monster” simply is a pleasant collection of electronic-leaning indie pop featuring little sister Georgia Nott on lead vocals and older brother Caleb Nott doing everything else.
Better parts include slick opener “Sucker”; the melancholy, melodic “Why Do You Believe Me”; and the spunky, street-savvy “Old Dog.” The Notts collaborate with a bunch of outside producers and songwriters, so there’s a “hit factory” vibe to the whole thing. “Pop Monster” sometimes feels less like a proper album and more like a singles compilation. But when dealing with this polished aesthetic, that’s not a bad thing.
This one’s custom-made for sunny morning commutes, a jog through the park or, later this year, a day at the beach. It’s good, somewhat disposable stuff you shouldn’t overthink.
BUY IT?: Do what you feel.
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