Agree with the score, which in my book is still considerably high (after all, 7.5's exactly halfway between mediocre and the best albums of all time).
Given the emotional impact songs like "Prostitute", "Made to Disappear" and "The Wrong Car" had on me when I first discovered these guys, this is precisely the only thing I wish had carried over (maybe the wall-of-guitar-noise too). But I kinda got used to the more smeary, straight-ahead emotional delivery, and while maybe it's not overall better (namely because of songs like the aforementioned), I think this album might actually be more consistent than the last one. The melodies rise and crash just a little softer but it's just very smooth and gripping, like with "Alphabet".
As far as peers, I think Forget the Night Ahead was kind of the Scottish alternative to the National, especially High Violet era.
Agreed pretty much all around. "I Became a Prostitute", I thought, could have launched these guys to stardom. It's the type of song that can stop you in your tracks regardless of what you're doing and put a lump in your throat even if you can't fully discern the lyrics through Graham's brogue. I knew the first time I heard it that it would become one of my all-time favorites. Their debut had a number of real stunners, too ("Walking for Two Hours", "Mapped by What Surrounded Them"). As an album, this one is probably more even feel-wise, but none of it really struck me like I was hoping for.
I can see the comparison to The National; High Violet
was far and away my favorite album of 2010, and Forget the Night Ahead
was my #2 for 2009, so I definitely have an equal affection for both albums. One thing I didn't mention in the review is how key the percussion was to the sound of Forget the Night Ahead
as well, and that's probably where the strongest parallel with High Violet
lies. That type of bombastic drumming doesn't surface often on the new album either, but obviously, it wouldn't have been a natural fit anyway.
In any event, solid album. Perhaps my own expectations and prejudices interfere somewhat with making a completely accurate judgment. Wouldn't be the first time, won't be the last.