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Old 09-12-2010, 11:01 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Feb 2009
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Default Reviews of Lesser Known Albums

Hey everyone! So I haven't posted on here for quite some time, but that doesn't mean I've stopped listening to music. I've found quite a few gems that for whatever reasons have gone overlooked, and instead of posting multiple threads I thought I'd just make this one. Anyway, I thought since the last (and only) album I reviewed was Emilie Simon's Vegetal that I'd start with her newest release:

Emilie Simon - The Big Machine

If you've heard any of Emilie Simon's previous albums, you're going to be a little bit overwhelmed at first. After Vegetal, Emilie packed up her things and moved to New York, where she'd write songs during the day and perform them the same night to see how people responded. The resulting sound is a lot less fairytale and a whole lot more pop, which caused more than a little fans distress. But artists evolve and this is an album that showcases that.

Rainbow - This song opens the album with a hard hitting horn section and really sets the mood. It takes a while to grow on you, but once that happens it's easily the best song on the album. The first half is very poppy before it transforms into a haunting piece of music, including a great horn melody, that builds to a climax before it slowly fades away to the sound of only Emilie and a Tenori-on.

Dreamland - The first single from the album. It's a dark lullaby, with some great lyrics. It's probably the most electronic of her songs, as most others have quite a bit of brass and choir.

Nothing to Do With You
- This song is extremely Kate Bush, and her singing voice which already sounds like Kate's adds to that effect. That doesn't take away how beautiful the song is, and the ending with the choir is perfect.

Chinatown - It's here where Emilie recalls her first day in New York, moving in, and the thoughts she's having. She brings in some Chinese instrumentation which she uses for some of the other songs as well. Lyrics like, "I have this impression walking all alone. Anything can happen, though will I ever feel at home?" really bring the whole song together.

The Ballad of the Big Machine - This song slows things down a bit while keeping the energy the other songs have brought. It's a beautiful song with it's bouncing brass and melody.

The Cycle - A great 80s/90s mix of a pop song, bringing in some of the instrumentation from Chinatown while feeling completely different. One of the highlights with it's dark and melodic sound.

Closer - A good song on it's own, it has the feel of the first half of the album, but this is where things start to lose a bit of energy.I've heard this live and it sounds a lot better.

The Devil At My Door - If before there were only slight references to a big band sound, this is one of the times it takes center stage. It's a good song, but at 5 minutes long, with the second half being basically the same as the first half, it could have been shortened.

Rocket to the Moon - Another brilliant song, this takes the big band feel and gets it right. It's a lot of fun and keeps adding layers until the last minute when the horns and keyboard come to steal the show. One of my favorites.

Fools Like Us
- This is a good song, if a little slow. It's got a bit of a gospel feel to it. It's a little out of place, but it's enjoyable and even has her singing in french, which is missing from most of the album.

The Way I See You - This is a fun song that may take a couple listens to really enjoy. It again has the Chinese influence and uses the choir to make some great electronic sounds.

This is Your World - The only thing wrong with this track is how short it is. It was clearly meant to be an epic and the ending is spectacular. It uses a children's choir to great effect and is the perfect ending. I'd call this the pseudo-title track of the album, as it references The Big Machine more than any other song.

Out of all of Emilie's albums this is the one I listen to most often. It's fun, it's unique, and it's still all Emilie. Though there are some flaws and it's not quite the masterpiece that Vegetal was, it's a perfect pop album where almost any song could conceivably be released as a single.

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