The final instalment of my favourite albums of 2012. Each accompanying pop-up is made within a 1 hour timescale and is within a standard place card.
An unusual named band with a style only marginally influenced by the other PT band. Pineapple Thief take over a no mans land, somewhere between Muse and Radiohead. A slightly indie rock approach with progressive sensibilities. The last album ‘Someone here is missing’ was excellent (see the ‘State were in’ track) but the ‘All the Wars’ album is a step up again. Generally tracks are melancholy in nature, usually acoustic initially waiting to build into crescendo with powerful riffs and sweeping orchestral elements. One or two tracks take more a Muse tack, with pounding bass, drum, and guitar. Most of all the songwriting is stunning and the lyrical content emotive and meaningful. Oh, and they were excellent live
Key Track: All The Wars. Acoustic guitar, a simple drum beat and a voice start this meaningful track dripping in melancholy. The lyrics reveal the need to resolve a relationship and absolving blame through a set of calm reflective verses. Cello’s kick in at the end of the first verse and continue throughout adding another level to the emotive arrangement until returning to the acoustic for the last line.
The place card for this Album, features a simple black band which holds three very small Risk cards in place. A design was found for some classic cards and after a bit of Sketchbook Pro manipulation the country names where taken off and replaced by ALL, THE, WARS. The three sides were placed together with three Risk reverse card designs. After printing the strip of cards were folded in half (with reverses on one side and fronts on the other) and stuck together creating fronts and backs for each card. All that was left was to cut out the cards
Other recommended :- Build a World, Give it Back, Someone Pull Me Out, One More Step Away
BTBAM are an acquired taste and so very hard to explain to anyone. Some of the comments of previous albums (taken from Wikipedia) show how difficult this is. Previous album ‘Colors’ was described as ’65 minute opus of non-stop pummelling beautiful music’, ‘New wave polka grunge’ and ‘adult contemporary progressive death metal’. The following album ‘The Great Misdirect’ was described “as a noisy Coalesce breakdown, 3/4 Mastodon groove, 9/8 The Mars Volta, Queen chromatic build up, and Megadeth chorus”. Parallex II follows a similar path. Another concept album of brutal progressive metal with excellent musicianship including moments where all members seem to be playing different tracks at the same time. There is nothing boring about this challenging album, BTBAM don’t allow you to relax at any time, with changes in style and pace throughout. I have seen them live twice and found them exhilarating, but also seen other punters shaking their heads in confusion whilst leaving. In my book, they are missing out, as these are one of the most progressive groups around
Key Track – Astral Body. This track strictly shouldn’t make any sense. Rush / Dream Theater like build up gives way into verses where guitars, bass and drums seem to be in their own jazz metal excursions. Screaming vocals add a ‘Focus’ like mayhem whilst individual fills and solos add more to madness. So many musical styles are thrown together in this challenging 6 minutes of excellent progressive musicianship that you could be left confused…. or very happy. Good luck
For this pop-up, I decided to create a diagram that shows a Stellar Parallax which is described as ‘the effect of parallax on distant stars in astronomy. It is parallax on an interstellar scale, and it can be used to determine the distance of Earth to another star directly with accurate astrometry’. Read more about it here on wikipedia… its too confusing to explain… a bit like this album. Anyway, a simple thin column of black card is created along the fold of the place card to hold the delicate diagram. A circle of silver card was cut out with the diameter line left intact. in the centre a rudimentary sun shape is place and at 12 and 6 o’clock, two blue card Earth’s are placed to show the their orbit and the times in the year where the parallax will happen. Two large silver viewing arrows are cut out and placed in a prescribed diagonal fashion crossing each other at the point of an imaginary star (gold circle) and ending being pointed at a couple of other stars. Confusing album, concept and pop-up…..
Other recommended :- Bloom, Silent Flight Parliament, Telos, The Black Box
So we finally reached the end. The pop ups were all fairly easy but the choices were painful as there were a number of rightful contenders. So heres 10 further recommendations of bands, albums and key tracks which could (or should) have appeared
Futureheads ‘Rant ‘ (Beeswing), Justin Townes Earle ‘Nothings Gonna Change The Way’ (Nothings Gonna Change The Way), Arjen Anthony Lucassen ‘Lost In the New Real’ (Pink Beatles in a Purple Zeppelin), Tame Impala ‘Lonerism’ (Elephant), Joe Bonamassa ‘Driving Towards The Daylight’ (Driving Towards The Daylight), Bellowhead ‘Broadside’ (Roll the Woodpile Down) , Marillion ‘Sounds That Cant Be Made’ (Gaza), Storm Corrosion ‘Storm Corrosion’ (Drag Ropes), Hogarth & Barbieri ‘Not The Weapon But The Hand’ (Naked), Ian Anderson ‘Thick As A Brick 2’ (Banker Bets, Banker Wins)