Title: Love and Other Planets
Catalogue Number: WIG160
Year of Release: 2006
A1 Warning Call
A2 Something's Going To Come
A3 X Is For Kisses
A4 Launch Yourself
A5 Love And Other Planets
B1 Sea Of Tranquility
B2 You And Moon
B3 Last Transmission From The Lost Mission
B4 These Lights Are Meaningful
B6 Human Beings Gather 'Round
I'm going to shirk my responsibilities for once, and say that there are tons of review of this album out there already. They may not have as many photos as me, nor may they be as strangely blue, but they are handily compiled for you here. If you want to get a feel for what the music is like, I suggest you read a few of them, as I'd much rather discuss a couple of other things.
Firstly, much has been made in other reviews of this being a 'concept' album, as if that were something terrifying, unnatural, or just plain odd. A thing to be whispered quietly behind hands. However, any album that has some kind of unifying theme, which doesn't even have to be lyrical, is going to get called a 'concept album' by some lazy folk wanting to throw the artist into some kind of prog-rock hell-hole where Tales from Topographic Oceans is on repeat. IMHO this is about as much of a concept album as Sgt. Peppers - and at least is doesn't have the maudlin bilge of She's Leaving Home on it. Neither does it have a Mr. Kite or Day in the Life, but that's neither here nor there. I think what's confusing me is that I like a lot of things that get called concept albums (Matt Elliot's Drinking Songs being a recent case in point), but dislike the phrase itself, and it's an annoyingly handy and useful phrase, which makes it worse.
Before I have a Stressed Eric moment, let's move to my second point - this blog is here partly to celebrate the joy of owning records, but there's nothing spectacular about the sleeve or artwork of this one. There's a lot of it, but it's not very interesting. And then the tracklisting is exactly the same on the CD as the LP. Obviously it sounds better than the CD, that's a given, I just like a notable feature, as do, I suspect, we all.
I did buy this direct from Domino, and so got a selection of stickers with the order, featuring various bands and artists on the label, including Adem, and some little button-badges, which, were I about half my current age, I might attach to my school bag in limp rebellion at something or other. Being 28 now, 29 soon, I realise that I am not going to 'stick it to the man' by sporting metal, cardboard, and pin combinations on a knackered hessian knapsack. It's much more about seeing how long the free lunches will last these days. You might argue that I shouldn't be so ungrateful though.
The music here is very polished, a bit too shiny and well-made at times, and whilst there are no stinkers on the album, there's a lack of definite highs. These Lights Are Meaningful attempts to rewrite These Are Your Friends, but doesn't quite make it. The opener Warning Call is a bit too happy with itself for it's sly twist at the end (Do you see? I was talking about Earth all along! Do you see what I did there?). Having said that, the best ones for me are like the B-side to Ringing In My Ear, when he puts down the guitar and plays about with stuff a bit more. Therefore You and Moon and Love and Other Planets are recommended.
And finally - if you're going to intentionally make a concept album (not that I'm saying you are, mind) then at least get the tracklisting right. You should start with the title track, and end with the one you called Last Transmission From the Lost Mission, otherwise it doesn't make sense! See the little monkey?