The Korea Herald



By Korea Herald

Published : Aug. 24, 2012 - 20:07

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Terrific debut by World Famous Headliners

World Famous Headliners
“World Famous Headliners”
(Big Yellow Dog Music)

Three singers. Three songwriters. Three guitarists. That should be three strikes against the World Famous Headliners.

Instead, the chemistry created in this collaboration is captivating. Big Al Anderson, Shawn Camp and Pat McLaughlin -- with plenty of help from bassist Michael Rhodes and drummer Greg Morrow -- have made an album that justifies the band‘s hyperbolic, tongue-in-cheek name.

The group, Anderson’s first since NRBQ, employs an unusual approach to song arrangements: Anderson, Camp and McLaughlin often sing in unison. That may have helped avert a clash of egos, and it definitely gives the record a distinctive stamp. And when the trio transitions from unison to three-part harmony, it‘s goose-bump good.

There’s tasty guitar throughout, and the composer cooperative -- with every song credited as a three-way effort -- produces first-rate material with plenty of variety. “Give Your Love To Me” is loose, ZZ Top-style boogie, “Can I” soars over a Tom Petty-esque guitar bed, the slow waltz “Take Me Back” recalls The Everly Brothers and the closer “Ding Dong” is ’50s rock worthy of Leiber and Stoller.

These Headliners deserve boldface type.

Check this track out: The swampy country blues “Too Fast For You” benefits from scooped vocals and ragged but joyous three-part harmony, which give way to a couple of LOL guitar solos.


British rapper Plan B shines on 3rd album

Plan B
“ill Manors”
(Atlantic Records)

On his third album, “ill Manors,” Plan B is bold and blunt, telling it like it is with gritty lyrics that sound like beautiful poetry.

“There‘s no such thing as broken Britain, we’re just broke in bloody Britain,” he protests on the opening and title track.

The album serves as a soundtrack to the rapper‘s directorial debut of the same name, which was released this summer. The film depicts eight characters struggling to survive in Forest Gate, the East London neighborhood where Plan B was born and raised.

Each track is vivid, as Plan B raps about drugs, poverty and prostitution. The album was mainly produced by Al Shux, best known for producing Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind.” Highlights on “ill Manors” include “Playing With Fire,” ‘‘Pity the Plight” and “Falling Down.” Some of the lyrics will send chills, like on “Lost My Way,” where Plan B raps: “That’s why these kids ain‘t got no hope, walking round their estates thinking ‘this is it,’ they ain‘t ever getting out and it’s no joke, probably is the best of life they‘re ever gonna get.”

David Cameron, are you listening? We are.

Check this track out: “Playing With Fire” -- a disturbing tale of little Jake’s initiation into a gang -- is full-on and intense, and a great story behind a broken Britain.


France’s Solveig dances to US with ‘Smash’

Martin Solveig
(Big Beat Records)

With his boyish looks and catchy tunes, it was just a matter of time before Martin Solveig made it to the big leagues, aka the United States. The French-born electronic DJ-producer has been toiling at the decks for almost two decades before catching both America’s ear with his outgoing “Hello” and Madonna’s, for whom he produced three tracks on her latest album, “MDNA,” including the hit “Give Me All Your Luvin.’" Solveig also worked as the house DJ at this year’s MTV Movie Awards.

With the U.S. release of his fifth studio album, “Smash,” Solveig wins the award for the longest crossing of the Atlantic Ocean: The album has been out in Europe for more than a year. Although it starts out as largely homogenous and nerve-dulling with its unrelenting beats, the album manages to smash through the blood-brain barrier and infect the listener with its optimistic vibe and fun lyrics.

Canadian electro-pop band Dragonette snaps up most of the dance-inducing collaborations. You cannot stop listening to “Can’t Stop,” and the playful “Boys and Girls,” where Solveig and Dragonette’s frontwoman court one another, is the most fun they’ll ever have without stripping off their nuance.

Overall, “Smash” is likable, but the 13-track record is disappointingly one-quarter remixes of Solveig’s bigger hits. The successful “Big in Japan” and the international jam “Hello” are gung-ho harmless, but not the best listings on the sleeve. And “Get Away From You” is a strange throwback to 1990s British punk rock, though Solveig imbues it with appealing synth.

Check this track out: “Ready to Go” kicks you in high gear right from the get-go.