ALBUM REVIEWS


Joakim
MONSTERS AND SILLY SONGS
VERSATILE RECORDS 19.02.07
@www.vanguard-online.co.uk



OK, I’ll put my hands up. I tried my hardest to keep focussed on this album, but I just couldn’t. It had that magical ability to make me tune out within about 20 seconds of tuning in.

I blame the genre. The press release makes it abundantly clear that Joakim cut his teeth in electro before forming a ‘rock’ band, and it shows. For, while there is a strong element of guitar-based rock in “Monsters And Silly Songs”, there is an equal measure of electro-squiggles, waves and other odd sound effects.

Please don’t take this as a criticism: the album makes an excellent ‘in-the-background-filling-any-quiet-moments’ device, and some of the tunes are enjoyable, it’s just that others – including Monsters #1, 2, 3 and 4 – have an in-built migraine, especially when listened to through headphones.

So, the similarities. Well, in Joakim’s favour, he doesn’t have many peers that come to my mind. To describe him in layman’s terms is difficult, but, if I was pushed, I’d say he was a mixture of Beck and Daft Punk. Well, he is French.

Being the Indie boy that I am, “Rocket Pearl” is by far the highlight, as it is an oasis of anthemic Indie in turbulent waters (once you bypass the beeping in your right ear at the start). In the electro vein, “Drumtrax” has a good beat and would do well with a suitable audience.

“Palo Alto”, one of two tracks submitted by Joakim’s band (the other being “Rocket Pearl”) is a surprise, sounding like Chris Martin doing a ballad, but does not really fit into the album. It’s another of those ‘should be a bonus track’ tracks. And there we have it. More of the “Monsters” than the “Silly Songs”. But at least it’s different.

www.versatilerecords.com


Simon Middleyard