Review Round Up #58

PlugInMusic.com's Review Round Up feature provides five quick-fire music reviews on a weekly basis. This edition includes Tokyo Police Club's "Elephant Shell," Scotland Barr & The Slow Drags' "All the Great Aviators Agree," The Victors' "Days To Come," Billy Idol's "The Very Best Of Billy Idol: Idolize Yourself," and Cloverleaf's "Spectrum."

Elephant Shell

Tokyo Police Club
“Elephant Shell”
(Saddle Creek Records 2008)

Tokyo Police Club takes sleepy vocals and smooth, likable, soft keyboard melodies and infuses them with energetic drumbeats on their debut full-length, "Elephant Shell." What is more, they adopt a punk rock schedule, running through the album's eleven songs in just under a half hour. Short and sweet, Tokyo Police Club never outstay their welcome, but occasionally do not stay long enough for you to get to know them.

Sounds Like: Indie rock with a modesty and simplicity

Key Tracks: "Tessellate"

B
buy it!
All the Great Aviators Agree

Scotland Barr and the Slow Drags
“All the Great Aviators Agree”
(Monkey Barr Music 2008)

Down home style melodies will get your feet stamping on Scotland Barr & The Slow Drags' "All the Great Aviators Agree." With a voice affecting a vague Bob Dylan style slur, Barr leads his band in their roots and rock album as airy melodies are piped from keyboards and pianos while guitars offer riffs with a sweet twang. Barr also shows off his knack for telling a story and putting a quirky and often optimistic twist on things.

Sounds Like: Roots and Americana

Key Tracks: "Don't Get So Heavy," "Mexican Blanket"

B-
buy it!
Days to Come

Victors
“Days to Come”
(Follow Your Plan 2008)

Crisp synthesizer melodies are woven through the background of The Victors' opening track on their debut album "Days To Come" but the soaring rock that takes over the foreground does not last. A mix of poppy alt-rock with a touch of country, The Victors focus mainly on staying light and likable. "Days To Come" breezes by with a comfortable ease that is far too straightforward.

Sounds Like: Pop rock

Key Tracks: "To Believe"

C+
buy it!
The Very Best Of Billy Idol: Idolize Yourself

Billy Idol
“The Very Best Of Billy Idol: Idolize Yourself”
(Capitol Records/EMI 2008)

Whether it is an unadulterated or a guilty pleasure, Capitol's new Billy Idol "Best Of" packs quite a punch with eighteen of his most memorable rockers and somewhat forgettable, cheesy synthesizer-driven tunes. Add to that a DVD packed with a baker's dozen of videos featuring dancers writhing in cut-up black outfits. Both CD and DVD include a couple of unreleased tracks albeit nothing ground shattering. But lead off tracks like "Dancing With Myself" and "White Wedding (Part 1)" sound as rocking and edgy as ever.

Sounds Like: For fans who want β€œmore, more, more” or need some Idol for their collection

Key Tracks: "Rebel Yell"

B
buy it!
Spectrum

Cloverleaf
“Spectrum”
(Self-Released 2008)

Pittsburgh's Cloverleaf offer swelling, upbeat melodies on their EP "Spectrum." Full of heart and soul, the quartet focuses on piano-driven songs with instrumentation that blends seamlessly together for a sound that is more indie than emo. While "Spectrum" has no big hooks or choruses, Cloverleaf pound out soaring chords and bouncing rhythms. Not bad for an unsigned band who spent a week in the recording studio.

Sounds Like: Dynamic piano-driven indie rock

Key Tracks: "Dressed In Disguise"

B-