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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
UNKLE
War Stories
Surrender All

Rating: 4.5/10 ?


August 3, 2007
A few years ago, UNKLE released Psyence Fiction, a great album that wound up becoming one of those releases everybody owns. You go to your friend's house and there it is, you go to your granny's house, there it is. With Psyence Fiction, collaborators DJ Shadow and James Lavelle had created something new and groundbreaking, an album almost on par with Shadow's seminal Endtroducing a few years earlier. To flesh out that album's soundscapes, the two borrowed vocals from all over the place; Thom Yorke, Mike D, and Richard Ashcroft to mention a few. Things were looking good for UNKLE, not to mention sounding awesome.

With a solo album, a clothing line, and numerous other collaborations in the works, DJ Shadow parted ways with Lavelle after Psyence Fiction, and with his absence Shadow's mastermind role in UNKLE is more apparent than ever. Since the split Lavelle has released a slew of remixes, two additional albums, and now War Stories with a laundry list of other collaborators, but UNKLE has thus fair been unable to regain the footing it held with Psyence Fiction.

Following in that pattern, War Stories is a major disappointment. Having been replaced by a much rockier sound, long gone are the infectious trip-hop sounds of Psyence Fiction, a development which need not be a bad thing if UNKLE were able to change directions and move forward. Unfortunately the pace is nearly stationary, as there are no strong songs whatsoever on War Stories; not even after repeat listens does anything stick. This monochromatic blasť is sad coming from the name that wrote "Rabbit in Your Headlights," a great song with great lyrics, a catchy melody, and an inventive sound. Hope as one might for another of those gems, War Stories just doesn't have one. It falls flat, offering little hope for the listener; after a few disappointing rounds of thinking that the next track simply HAS to be solid, the album exits as if it were never really there. Without a doubt, War Stories is the weakest and most disappointing UNKLE release to date.

Reviewed by Daniel Svanberg
A contributing writer for LAS, Daniel Svanberg now lives in Boston, far far away from Sweden, where he once lived, although the weather is the same.

See other reviews by Daniel Svanberg

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