Maybe Today Should Have Been Record Store Day

Dan Gibson | April 29, 2008 12:00 pm

More frequently these days, we like to round up the all-important, all-summarizing last sentences of the biggest new-music reviews. Under consideration today are three other notable releases hitting stores today: The Roots’ Rising Down, Portishead’s Third, and Santogold’s self-titled debut.

The Roots – Rising Down: • “Concerns that the Roots would compromise its eclectic style when it moved to Def Jam were laid to rest by Game Theory. Rising Down makes clear that compromise was never even an option.” [Boston Globe] • “Without even listening to the lyrics, the majority of the tracks on Rising Down–their 10th album–have an urgent, twitchy feel to them. Their sound is still brilliantly organic–no drum machines or computers here. But it is several shades darker than their last album, Game Theory, making it less fun to listen to, unfortunately….Rising Down is not the Roots at their beat-driven, rhyming best, but it’s still solid.” [Vancouver Sun]

Portishead – Third • “Though several doses of this languid, tension-filled music get a tad draining, taken altogether it is a suitable sound for our troubling times, and there’s an invigorating mysteriousness. Its blaring electronic peals are a wake-up call.” [LA Times] • “There are very few moments that cry out for the single treatment –as is probably obvious from the decision to offer the metronomic harshness of ‘Machine Gun’ as first introductory piece after their lengthy hiatus–as the trio fight back against the cut-and-paste-playlist iPod age. Composing a singular piece of work, 50-minute experience free of era and commercial restraints that’ll shed the fare-weather fans from the devout followers, as a creative stretch Third isn’t likely to be surpassed anytime soon.” [Manchester Evening News]

Santogold – Santogold • “Still, Santogold’s strength lies more in her musical inclusiveness than her cynicism. She flits from dubby bliss of ‘Shove It’ and the stop-start, bleep-synths of ‘Starstruck’ to the space-agey sound effects and echo chambers of ‘My Superman’ and the bubbly pop-rock of ‘Lights Out’ and ‘I’m A Lady.’ The genre jumping is not for the close-minded, but it’s obvious Santogold’s not here to adhere to any one pop sensibility. On the glitchy-twitchy disc standout, ‘Creator,’ she’s not afraid to express her sense of self-worth. Over the gargantuan bass drops, she chants: ‘Me, I’m a Creator/ Thrill is to make it up/ The rules I break got me a place/ Up on the radar.’ She’s definitely got our attention.” [San Francisco Chronicle] • “‘You’ll Find a Way’ and ‘Creator’ are near-instant dance-floor gems, while the haunting downtown lullaby ‘L.E.S. Artistes’ is perhaps the best indie anthem since the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ ‘Maps.’ The album is hardly flawless, but in an era that retro-fetishizes rock and whitewashed pop, Santogold feels both raw and real.” [Entertainment Weekly]