In anticipation of Sean's review, I thought I'd post my usual musings. This is usually a good warning that I'll be posting a long one but here I go...
My feelings about this album are very similar to Chromatics' second LP, 'Night Drive' in many ways.
Johnny is nothing if not prolific - a literal white hole of creativity isn't he? He's also very much in love with noir-ish 1980 soundtracks. He builds his albums as if they're soundtracks to "imaginary films" which means that they're usually very long and consist of tracks punctuated by wide open spaces of atmospheric instrumentals. In the same way, as with a soundtrack to a movie though, I get the impression that Jewels' LPs are meant to be absorbed in the background. I think that's how he wants his work to be experienced.
I find if I try to actually sit down and listen to a Chromatics album without doing other things, it's a bit of commitment but mostly it's a bit frustrating. The reason for me is that an album is slightly different to a soundtrack in that it's filled with songs with occasional (and I do mean occasional) brief instrumentals to build links between them. There'a flow and a forward propulsion to a a good album that keeps you hanging on for the next track. Well, I think there is anyway. Albums demand your attention, they don't just add to what you're doing.
Most of all, good albums are often tight. They make a statement but never outstay their welcome. I have a theory (well a hypothesis, really) that the average album is 10 to twelve tracks long for a reason. Most people can't really sustain the enthusiasm to directly engage with an album for more than an hour tops. It doesn't matter how good the album is - if the album is too long, the great songs it has will often get swamped and lost because there's just too much going on.
For this reason, I'll say this album is probably genius but yet it's far too long for me. I think I know what Johnny wants his albums to feel like but for me, that's not my idea of an album. For that reason, I think I'm going to remove some of the nice little instrumentals - not 'cause they're 'filler' because I don't think they are. 'Filler' means you needed some bland shit to fill in spaces where you didn't have the material to make a consistently good album. Johnny has produced more than enough material here for the kind of listening experience I want.
Take for example, 'Broken Mirrors'. It's nice but it does take it's time and after six of some of the best things I've heard coming out of speakers so far this year, I think it kills the pace of the album. I will probably remove the tracks 'Eleventh Hour' and 'Running From The Sun'. Having these and 'Broken Mirrors' either side of 'Candy' doesn't work for me. Moreover, 'Running From The Sun' has the same distorted male vocals as the earlier excellent 'The Streets Will Never Look The Same' but it's slower and more laboured so removing it will let that song sound a bit more unique.
I won't remove 'Dust To Dust' or 'There's A Light On The Horizon' because these are lovely yet far shorter atmospheric instrumentals which do no harm to the flow of the album for me. I will remove 'No Escape' though because firstly, it' a huge instrumental track in itself and placed after the beautiful ' The River' it feels a bit unnecessary as a closing track. What's more, it lessens the impact of 'The River' which is a waste, for me . Secondly, it's a bit like 'Tick of the Clock'. I love that track, don't get me wrong, but I never thought it was well placed slap bang in the middle of 'Night Drive' Deluxe Edition (which is 'Night Drive' as far as I'm concerned).
So then, that's enough of my drivel. For me, 'Kill For Love' may well end up looking like this on my iPod:
Into The Black
Kill For Love
Back From Grave
These Streets Will Never Look The Same
Dust To Dust
Birds of Paradise
A Matter Of Time
At Your Door
There's A Light Out On The Horizon
One more thing, I've listened to this now about four or five times (I'm listening to this again, as I write this) and by God, this would have been my album of the year easily.
Sorry for the long post. Lookin' forward to reading Sean's review.