|New Build — Yesterday Was Lived and Lost (2012)|
New Build – Yesterday Was Lived and Lost
Location: London, Britain, UK
Album release: April 17, 2012
Record Label: Redeye Label
01.) Introduction 1:09
02.) Medication 2:50
03.) Misery Loves Company 5:08
04.) Miranda, Be My Guide 4:16
05.) Behind the Shutter 4:43
06.) Schism of the Mind 3:53
07.) Do You Not Feel Loved? 5:56
08.) The Third One 3:43
09.) Mercy 5:03
10.) Finding Reasons 5:20
11.) Last Gasp 4:04
12.) Silence and the Muttering 5:13
Members: Tom Hopkins, Felix Martin (Hot Chip), Al Doyle (Hot Chip, LCD Soundsystem)
¶ New Build are a fresh alternative pop band from London formed by Al Doyle (Hot Chip, LCD Soundsystem), Felix Martin (Hot Chip) and Tom Hopkins. They beautifully meld the world of dance music with subtle, soulful pop. Yesterday Was Loved and Lostis their debut album after a series of limited edition vinyl EPs.
By David Wolfson; April 2, 2012
¶ New Build is a project by Al Doyle, Felix Martin, and Tom Hopkins, all members or affiliates of the band Hot Chip. On the heels of releases from side projects by two other members of Hot Chip (About Group and The 2 Bears), and with a new album on the way from their main band, it seems like it would be easy to dismiss New Build as merely another lesser distillation of Hot Chip’s sound. While such a classification is not unwarranted, as there are few ideas on Yesterday Was Lived And Lost that you won’t find on a Hot Chip release, New Build do show us why these projects are still worth listening to by sticking to their strengths and getting solid results.
¶ To be fair, there are a few elements that differentiate this from a Hot Chip album. Obviously, neither of Hot Chip’s vocalists (Alexis Taylor and Joe Goddard) are present. Without Taylor, New Build doesn’t venture far into the kind of blue-eyed soul that Hot Chip is so good at integrating into their music. Without Goddard’s deep, robotic voice and additional contributions on synth, the album tends to sound a bit more organic. Instead, Al Doyle steps up to the plate, and while his voice doesn’t dominate the songs quite like those two vocalists do, it can be surprisingly affecting. Leadoff track “Medication” is the best showcase of this.
¶ In lieu of having a more distinctive and magnetic voice behind the songs, taking a more prominent role is the rhythm section. Funky bass lines and extra percussion abound brings to mind Remain In Light-era Talking Heads, especially on the clever, upbeat “Misery Loves Company” and the dark urban vibe of “Finding Reasons.” The rhythm section isn’t as shifty as Hot Chip’s can be, and the songs on top of it aren’t as whimsical either, but it lays a solid foundation for the tracks to groove along to. The result is something that sounds more deliberate than spastic; the work of professionals that know what they’re good at and don’t try anything more.
¶ The album is front-loaded, as the album starts out with three of its best songs (not counting the introduction): “Medication,” “Misery Loves Company,” and “Miranda, Be My Guide.” The second side of the album is hardly a weak one though, featuring highlights like the pulsing “Do You Not Feel Loved?” the urgent “Mercy,” and the intimate “Last Gasp.”
¶ Yesterday Was Lived And Lost isn’t a record that blows the roof off. It is a very even, consistent dance album that has no major missteps, making it a fun listen, but the songs don’t tend to venture far from where they started, and none of the sounds are surprising for what it is. It’s just a Hot Chip side project that sounds like a Hot Chip side project, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but nothing terribly exciting either.
¶ Pitchfork: by Eric Grandy; March 20, 2012 // 7.7
¶ The genius of Hot Chip has always been their ability to alchemize disparate musical elements-- indie, electro, R&B, even the cadences and slang of hip-hop-- into a unique whole. So maybe it's no surprise that the individual band members' splinter projects over the past couple of years have tended to home in on one sound or another-- the 2 Bears' big, cuddly house and club pop, About Group's trad blue-eyed soul, etc.-- though not always with thrilling results. New Build is the trio of guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Al Doyle, synth/drum machine man Felix Martin, and studio engineer Tom Hopkins, and despite having neither of Hot Chip's distinctive lead vocalists, they seem to have walked away with the band's winning sense of dancefloor melancholy. More than any spin-off so far, New Build recaptures that rare alchemy-- of moods, of music-- that first made Hot Chip so appealing.
¶ Much of New Build's charm is that they've dialed things back from the high-gloss consistency of Hot Chip's last album, One Life Stand, arriving at something reminiscent of an earlier era. Yesterday Was Lived and Lost is on all fronts a smaller, more intimate-sounding record than these players have made in years. It cycles through modes rather than seeking a single unified style, and in leaving its hodge-podge edges visible and the occasional acoustic space unfilled, it reopens a certain sense of room and possibility.
¶ The band splits its time between electro-funk, synth-pop, house jams, and balladry, all done with a mannered but never stiff-limbed style. It's a particularly British sound, one warmly indebted to onetime Hot Chip collaborator Peter Gabriel. This influence is especially felt on lead track "Medication", with its wobbly funk bass and indulgently soulful background vocals (courtesy of Annalie Wilson and Planningtorock's Janine Rostron, who appears throughout), as well as on "Miranda, Be My Guide", whose vocal updrafts and smooth-gliding, sparkling synths are stirred by some subtly muscular drum rolls.
¶ Equally affecting, and perhaps more clearly the band's own, are the house-pop hybrids "Behind the Shutter" and "Do You Not Feel Loved?", each of which is propelled by rising synth chords and steady-pumping 4/4 kicks, but to opposite ends. The former is all giddy and light, the latter one of those gorgeous saddo-at-the-rave numbers that this extended family does so well, as hands-in-the-air as it is heart-sunk-to-the-floor. As its muted chords rev into full-on synth buzz, accented by steel drums, Doyle tenderly sings, "and as the party's shutting down, do you not feel loved?" and the effect is like a friend checking in on you as your E's wearing off: You want the song not to end but to swell up one more time, even though you know it's time to go home.
¶ New Build's arrangements are impressive and uncomplicated throughout, from the faint tinkling cowbells and squirming, fibrillating synths of "Schism of the Mind" to "Mercy", with its hyperventilating flute-like synths, flurries of steel drum and percussion, and coda of chicken-scratch guitar. The album closes with a trio of padding, gently drifting ballads, which, while perhaps not the record's main attraction, are sweetly done and even a hair less ponderous than some of Hot Chip's similar offerings. Where New Build lack is in their turns of phrase; "Do You Not Feel Loved?" aside, there's nothing here with quite the emotional punch of a "Boy From School" or a "No Fit State", and the album's most whimsical turns, "Medication" or "Misery Loves Company" don't quite measure up to the clever fun of Hot Chip's best lines.
¶ It feels like a slight to keep circling around to that comparison, but the truth is that none of Yesterday's songs would sound out of place amongst that band's work. Doyle has neither Alexis Taylor's high falsetto nor Joe Goddard's bass rumble, but his voice, which has provided backing vocals for Hot Chip and LCD Soundsystem, proves a happy medium, supple but understated, well up to the task of singing lead and not without its own personality. Maybe at the next band meeting, the guys should invite Doyle to lend a few songs to the upcoming album. Otherwise, New Build look set to be that rarest of spin-offs: the one that lives up to the original.
¶ Fortaken: http://pitchfork.com/
|New Build ≡ Yesterday Was Lived and Lost (2012)|