Review Roundup: Gorillaz, Coheed, Dan Black, The Heavy, Switchfoot, Papercut Massacre

Coheed & CambriaThe Broken
Claudio Sanchez is arguably one of the best personalities to break into alternative radio in the past decade. No one else possesses his falsetto and mammoth guitar abilities in one person, nor the hair. As Coheed & Cambria supposedly winds down its epic storyline, he continues to churn out stadium prog rock that even marble monuments couldn’t contain. Though darker than prior singles, it’s tough to discern what makes “The Broken” distinctive when you place them on the podiums set by “A Favor House Atlantic” and “Welcome Home.” Truthfully, can Claudio give us a breather?
7.0

Dan BlackSymphonies
The Brits are exporting music left and right, even though Canary Wharf is absent of trading ships and full of stock traders these days. Dan Black achieved notable success in the UK and “Symphonies” is our first taste before the album gets the U.S. release treatment. The electronic infusion is a blend between Owl Cities and Oasis, but holds far more thought in the lyrics of the former and less anthemic rock of the latter. Holds more hooks than your closet, soars higher in the skies than those fireflies.
8.0

Flogging MollyPunch Drunk Grinning Soul
It’s taken too long for the other half of Irish punk songs to make it to radio. The first wave, of course, was those drunken ditties. They fit the format with rip roaring rowdy choruses, yet ignored the other half that gave the likes of Flogging Molly, The Tossers and Dropkick Murphys their soul. Exuding fierce pride, the latest off of Float courts the fraternal “Individual against the world” side of this Irish subset.
7.0

GorillazStylo (feat. Mos Def & Bobby Womack)
Leave it to cartoons to push mainstream music more than actual, physical people. After a four year wait following “El Manaña” brings retro disco Stylo, a single that polarized upon first listen. The early leak lacked Mos Def, and Bobby Womack’s ’70s dancefloor soaring vocals do not belong in 2010. However, the song is meant for the dancefloor, given the fantastic key and beat production. It’s a harsh introduction to Plastic Beach, but no one expected “Clint Eastwood” when it appeared. This single will grow on you, whether you intend it to or not.
8.2

The Heavy – How You Like Me Now?
Meet Jack White’s competition. It may lack the mastered guitarwork and the forceful blues rock of “Fell In Love With A Girl”, but Noid, England’s first U.S. single takes soul-infused rock à la Stevie Wonder, layered with garage vocals and funk horns. I can see them building as any horn section would, but also blasting out if the next single doesn’t change it up.
8.5

Papercut MassacreLose My Life
Papercut Massacre released their debut to less fanfare than I would have hoped. Before separating with the rest of the band, singer Joey Culver fronted Atomship and their stellar Southern Mississippi single “Pencil Fight.” The 2004 single spanned the nation in a spattering, despite a sound that reinvigorated the hard rock genre. Today he’s fronting Papercut Massacre, which allows his versatile voice to ride the airwaves. The music behind it, however, doesn’t have that unpredictability that the prior Atomship astonished years ago.
6.3

SwitchfootMess of Me
Fuzzy guitars are new to Switchfoot, and it works well to differentiate the single from the rest of their singleography. They are sonically similar to “Meant to Live” while the edge leans against “Oh! Gravity”. The San Diegoans, you have to admit, can craft singles that prod and experiment with the formulaic mold without becoming stale. While it doesn’t breach boundaries, Switchfoot is back doing what they do very well.
6.9

Thoughts?