Albums of Note... It looks as though Bruno Mars has stepped things up a gear on Unorthodox Jukebox. From straight-up pop songs, to disco and funk stylings, and a nod to reggae in there too, Mars very rarely fails to hit the mark with these new tracks. “Unorthodox Jukebox is a rich pick and mix of different and colourful elements. His lyrics sometime fall short, but a likeably mischievous personality shines through nonetheless, and so on the whole this is a real step up even from the songs that broke him so hugely two years ago.”
Adding a fresh slant to the out-dated genre of twee-duets, Adam Green & Binki Shapiro release a self-titled album of brief ditties, which may appear cutesy at first glance but soon reveal their darker side, with lyrics such as “I can't be the first to say you're the worst, surely there's one or two? / I care more if you act as though you like me than if you really do.” Adam Green is probably the better known of the two, from his work as part of Moldy Peaches and of course his solo work, too. Binki Shapiro already has indie cred from her other band, Little Joy. “Like everything the pair have done individually, together they have made a record that's short, sweet, and maturely macabre; a late contender for an album of the year.”
Adam Green is undoubtedly most recognisable as one half of The Moldy Peaches, but it's his solo career that's been the most interesting to watch as he's taken himself from jumper wearing anti-folk king and given us record after record of wildly different yet always compelling tunes. His latest sees him join forces with singer and multi-instrumentalist Binki Shapiro, the female third of Indie darlings Little Joy. In keeping with this transformation, together they offer us a record of pristinely coiffed 60s throwbacks.
Injected with Green's traditionally bleak humour and Shapiro's sultry vocals, their debut duet is at once endearingly sentimental and charmingly knackered in that sentiment. The his and hers thing has been done to death so much that there's now a twee as f*** couple using the moniker to release crass Christmas singles upon us, but here as the pair trade witticisms and digs it breathes fresh life into a tired trope: "I can't be the first to say you're the worst, surely there's one or two? // I care more if you act as though you like me than if you really do." The fact that all these songs are quick little ditties makes them all the more appealing and is proof that you don't need three sing along choruses to show people a good time. It's amazing what this pair can do in such a short space of time; 'What's The Reward' is under three minutes and slams through more styles than you can dare to name, clearly making haste of Shapiro's skills.
This instrumental nature runs throughout the ten tracks here and while it can come across as bizarre, when they get it right 'Nighttime Stopped Bleeding' they create a sound that's bigger and braver than the majority of artists will dare to try. The aforementioned track is a terrifying lover's lament where the music bubbles up into swells of nightmarish howling then, just like that and with a quick sigh, it's over. With a running time of under 30 minutes, you won't get bored of playing this time after time because it always leaves you wanting more which, far from feeling short changed, is one of its finest qualities.
Continue reading: Adam Green & Binki Shapiro - Adam Green & Binki Shapiro Album Review