Because of my exhaustive work schedule the last week, I've been derelict in my duties to the blog, and I apologise for that. To make amends, here is a bunch of rapid-fire reviews. What they lack in length they make up for in brevity.
The Hazards of Love
Here's my thing about that broadest of genres, Prog; it was never the structures of the songs I minded. It was the empty virtuosity, where playing served no purpose but to remind you they could play, and the sound, something I can't quantify, but is the difference between Fragile by Yes (thumbs-down) and Selling England By the Pound by Genisis (thumbs-up). The outlandish stories never bothered me, because I could never follow them, and I just ignore the lyrics when they offend. The Decemberists didn't bring back the sound, so they have that, and they don't strut about in virtuoso displays. That said, it's not something I'll be returning to.
Tonight: Franz Ferdinand
Catchy, angular, occasionally muscular; It's everything you expect from these fine gentlemen. I listened to all three of their albums on shuffle as an experiement, and from the sound, I couldn't tell which songs came from which album. I can't decide if that's a good thing or not. For some bands, that's a strength. None of those bands are my favourites. But, if they keep it up, that could change.
I can't give this album a high grade. I just can't. I don't know why, but something within me prevents it. Maybe I feel like I can't as a reviewer, lest my taste be called into judgment. But I doubt that. I'd have given U2 an A like everyone else if that were the case. No. There is something special here, but in a weird way where it would do the album a disservice to overstate it. I'd rather give this a C+ and have you be pleasantly surprised than give it, say, a B+ and have you walk away feeling disappointed. Entertaining from start to finish, moving at unexpected times, and never quite content to sit on its laurels, it's really quite good. But... I... can't... and... I... don't... know... why...