Friday, August 19, 2022

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Sound Check


CD Ben Folds FiveBen Folds Five

‘Ben Folds Five Live’


After a hiatus of 13 years, Ben Folds Five made its triumphant return to music with 2012’s “The Sound of the Life of the Mind.” It was during the tour in support of said album that the idea for BFF’s first live album came to fruition. Recorded between October 2012 and February ’13, “Ben Folds Five Live” is nothing but highlights: The band has chosen to play it relatively safe with the song selection, with none of the 15 songs going particularly deep into the band’s catalogue. But hipster cred isn’t really what this live album is for. These are all high-energy versions of all the tracks you already know, and the album manages to remain accessible to even the most casual BFF fan, while giving the most ardent followers something fun to chew on while taking a fresh look at a quality band. CV


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CD Alice_In_Chains-The_Devil_Put_Dinosaurs_Here-FrontalAlice in Chains

‘The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here’


There are some (many) for whom Alice in Chains stopped existing when Layne Staley died. I’m not going to tell any of those people that their wrong, but when removed from its past catalogue and made to stand on its own merits, this new incarnation of Alice in Chains actually ain’t half bad. The Seattle metal-heads are walking a tricky line. The new album stays close to that vintage Chains sound — see tracks like “Stone” — with growling, driving guitar riffs and two-part harmonies, but the band is also pushing just hard enough to make it clear that it didn’t sign DuVall up for Layne Staley Karaoke Hour. The results are mixed, because at the end of the day it’s hard for a band that’s spent 20 years establishing its sound to suddenly say, “We’re different!” The album doesn’t feel like growth, so much as a retcon. CV

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