Today, when I haven’t been listening to In Glorious Times, I’ve been listening to a live recording of The Cinematic Orchestra, who released a new album, Ma Fleur, a couple months ago (coming out next Tuesday, I think, in the States). Seems like Ma Fleur has been pretty resoundingly panned, with the BBC calling it “a reeking letdown,” but in the live environment, for the most part the new songs come off pretty well — though admittedly the band have a bit of reputation for tearing it up live much more than they do on record. (Their studio albums that I have, Every Day and Man With a Movie Camera, are laid-back to the point of wallpaper sometimes, though the songs are invariably beautiful and well-crafted.) Some of the songs with the new vocalist are pretty easily skippable, though.
But the real highlight is the encore closer: a five-minute blowout that they call “Rites of Spring,” although I’m not sure if it is actually a reinterpetation of part of Stravinsky’s famed composition or if it’s merely inspired by it. Either way, this thing burns all the way through, like a collision between John Coltrane, King Crimson and Amon Tobin: heavy electronic beats, fuzz bass, chiming guitars and squealing horns all conspire to make this piece way, way more exciting than anything else in the entire set.
Maybe the sleepy Ma Fleur is just a warmup, and the band’s next album will be more like “Rites of Spring,” in which case it would probably take up permanent residence in my CD player for several months.