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 May 15 - 21, 2008 

Sonic Reducer

Millencolin Machine 15 (Epitaph)

The last time you probably heard these guys was while playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2. But make no mistake, Millencolin has toured the world several times and has been dropping LPs since 1994. Machine 15 is crisp and well-produced, thanks to producer Lou Giordano (Taking Back Sunday, Plain White T’s). But the content within Machine 15 is redundant and overworked. The single “Detox” is filled with poppy harmonies, chord progressions and references to turning on the radio. This album is decent. It'd be great if it was released five years ago. (JH)

The Roots Rising Down (Def Jam)

Ten albums in, and we're still waiting for a dud. Though Rising Down doesn't have the same bursty power as 2006's Game Theory—no huge drop moments, no builds that really blow—this one is all about the simmer, the maturity of a slow boil. Rising Down isn't without force; but instead of obvious explosions, the pressure is constant. The use of cussing bleep-out tones and rhythmical elements on "75 Bars" is brilliant, as are 90 percent of the performances on the disc. A shadow falls on this album, tinting everything in the muted tones of evening—poetic, but realistic in its poetry. (MD)

Joan of Arc Boo Human (Polyvinyl Records)

One night, while living in Chicago a couple years ago, I caught an interview with Tim Kinsella on the radio. Pitchfork had given Joan of Arc (both institutions are based in Chicago) bad reviews, and Kinsella was pissed. Writing it off with a variety of hilarious insults, he even threatened to beat up the music website. That said, Boo Human is a gloomy blend of emo and folk with ambient sounds that ebb and flow throughout its 44-minute duration. "A Tell-Tale Penis" is amusing, and "The Surrender #2" is particularly interesting, but overall, and at the risk of having my ass kicked by Kinsella, this release floats in a realm slightly above mediocre. (JCC)

(JH) Justin Hood, (MD) Marisa Demarco, (JCC) Jessica Cassyle Carr

 
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