Rock104 Blog

Review: HIM shows same parallels between light and dark on “Tape”

By ALYSSA HOLCOMB

I’ll admit, I had huge reservations about the new HIM album. Having been a fan for a long time, I’ve felt a certain pang of disappointment with the majority of their latest releases. However, Tears On Tape, the band’s eighth studio album, sounds more like HIM than ever – even with a bit of a more upbeat flair.

That’s not to say the album is peppy – this is HIM we are talking about – they are peppy in a completely different way. Ville Valo’s vocals on tracks like “All Lips Go Blue” and “I Will Be The End Of You” stretch more into his tenor rather than his deeper rumble. It’s a nice compliment to the hard but melodic instrumentals, particularly with guitarist Mikko “Linde” Lindstrom’s simple but effective licks. Mikko “Mige” Paananen is also modest with the bass, as is Mika “Gas Lipstick” Karppinen on the drums, but both emphasize that driving background that makes the band’s songs harder than the usual tuneful rock song. Add Janne “Burton” Puurtinen’s sweetly punctuating keyboards and you have something beyond the typical hard rock band – they are much more melodious than that.

The tracks transition nicely from softer to harsher. For example, the relatively mellow “Tears on Tape” segues into a darker intro on “Into the Night.” This is not out of the norm for the band – if anything, this album as a whole is very similar to their other records. But what’s different about this usually standard transition (and album) for the band is the little things – the hand claps at the beginning of “Night” and an overall lighter quality to the songs. It’s interesting to hear what is (at least to me) a lighter side to this dark metal group. It’s that combination of dark rock and lighter melody that has made HIM a great band from the get go.

Songs like “Drawn and Quartered” feature a lot more harmony, which accentuates the track’s overall tone. This is one of the more “upbeat” (for all intents and purposes) songs on the record – and it fits. What also fits are the interspersed instrumental tracks like “Lucifer’s Chorale” and the album closer “Kiss The Void,” the latter of which became one of my instant favorites with its faded drums laden with multiple faint harmonies.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it’s this combination of two seemingly separate sounds that makes the album work so well – and makes it sound so very “HIM.”

Tears on Tape is now available on iTunes. For more information on HIM and their upcoming US tour, check out their website www.heartagram.com.

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Review: Raunchy Buddy-cops Bring on “The Heat”

BY ALYSSA HOLCOMB

Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy are arguably two of today’s funniest leading ladies in their own right. Naturally, putting the two together in a raunchy buddy-cop flick written by Katie Dippold (MADtv, Parks and Recreation) and directed by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids), seemed like a match made in comedic heaven – and, for those who prefer dirty jokes to deep dramas on their summer cinema ticket, it is!

The Heat stars Bullock as Sarah Ashburn, an uptight and slightly odd FBI detective on a case in Boston to prove to her boss that she’s ready for a promotion. McCarthy is Shannon Mullins, a rough-and-tumble Boston PD detective with questionable (and sometimes unsanitary) tactics. The two are determined to find a dangerous drug lord, but neither expected to have help in the matter from a partner – or find a friend in the process.

Bullock and McCarthy play off of each other nicely – Bullock’s subtle expressions combined with McCarthy’s over-the-top physicality make for a well-suited team. Many of the jokes in the film focus on Mullins’ criticisms of Ashburn, with McCarthy exhibiting a bite similar to that of her character in Bridesmaids.

Melissa McCarthy & Sandra Bulloch; courtesy of theheatmovie.com

One scene in particular takes place at a bar where the duo does some bonding while becoming increasingly inebriated; the off-kilter antics of their drunken escapades are simple and silly, but the way Bullock and McCarthy show them off make it the perfect example of how their subtle yet effective chemistry works.

Also featured in the film is Michael Rapaport as one of McCarthy’s brothers, Thomas F. Wilson (Biff from Back To The Future) as McCarthy’s Boston Police captain, the surprisingly quiet Marlon Wayans as a coy FBI agent, and current Saturday Night Live cast member Taran Killam as a DEA agent.

In fact, comedian cameos abound in semi-dramatic roles including Michael McDonald (from MADtv, where he also starred with Killam), Tony Hale (Arrested Development), Kaitlin Olson (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Dan Bakkedahl & Nate Corddry (The Daily Show), and Jane Curtain (an original SNL cast member and star of 3rd Rock From The Sun). Curtain plays McCarthy’s disapproving mother alongside Michael Tucci as her father (Grease). And since the story takes place in Boston, there’s even a cameo from New Kids On The Block singer Joey McIntyre as one of McCarthy’s loud Southie brothers.

L-R: “Gina” (Jessica Chaffin), “Gina’s Boobs” (Jessica Chaffin’s Boobs), Rock104.com’s Stephanie Matarazzo, and “Beth” (Jamie Denbo).

Also part of McCarthy’s Mullins clan is the comedic duo of Jessica Chaffin (The Real Housewives of South Boston) and Jamie Denbo (Ronna & Beverly, with Chaffin). ROCK104.com’s Glenn Richards interviewed the ladies (in character, I might add) as part of a promotional tour for The Heat that brought them to Gainesville for an advance screening. You can experience some of the duo’s improv comic talents (learned as part of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater) during the interview, here:

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Movie goers nationwide will be able to feel The Heat when it hits theaters on June 28th. For more information, check out the flick’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheHeatMovie?fref=ts.

“The Heat” Red Band Trailer (NSFW)

“The Heat” Official Trailer

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Ben Taylor at High Dive: Win-Your-Way-In!

See Ben Taylor with Hannah Harber and Devon Stuart, Friday, May 3rd at at High Dive in Gainesville.

Fill out the short entry form below and we’ll select five random winners to win a spot of the guest list!

 

Listen to Rock104.com’s Connor Hachey’s interview with Ben Taylor featuring his music as well as music from Hannah Harber and Devon Stuart:

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Winners must be 18 years of age or older with valid ID. Deadline for entries is FRIDAY, May 3RD at 11:59 AM EDT. Good luck!

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