Friday, February 22, 2013

Naked Lunch's All Is Fever

I liked pretty much everything but the single ("The Sun") on this old-style, anthemic rock album, which would be Brit Pop if it weren't from Austria. (Cautionary note: I sort of like U2 and Oasis, too.) My review ran today at Blurt.

All Is Fever

Naked Lunch has been through the wringer, over the last 20-some years moving up one side of the musical industry rollercoaster and down the other, along the way losing label contracts, band members and perhaps, intermittently, hope. All Is Fever, the Austrian band's seventh album, is large in scale and ambition, full of giant, Brit-pop choruses and hyper-clean studio production. Yet it's also tempered with experience, exhibiting a not quite bitter but more than wry acceptance that multi-platinum is no longer an option, no matter how stadium-ready some of the songs appear to be.

Take, for instance, the first single, "Sun" with its Abba-like chimes of keyboards, its timpani flourishes, its synthesized swells of strings. It's got "big" written all over it, the drama building inexorably as it strides through echoing halls of super-clean anthemry. It's the kind of song that Oasis might have shied from, even in mid-Morning Glory pomp. Main man Oliver Welter is apparently enamored enough choose it as a calling card. Far better "Shine On" comes two songs later, not exactly modest, but shadowed with palpable melancholy, at least at first. It's that sad beginning that makes the triumph work, a hint of vulnerability that makes us all root for resolution.


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