Since he joined Twitter six years ago, around the same time that he joined his first Super Rugby club in Canberra, former professional player Cam Crawford has mixed a little Rugby chat with a lot of chat about American sports, music, films and arts in general.
Now living back in Sydney and working at Morgan Stanley, Cam has taken us up on the offer to provide greater length and detail to his entertainment reviews; keep an eye out for Cam’s reviews every couple of months moving forward.
Toro Y Moi – Boo Boo (July, 2017)
★★★½ / ☆☆☆☆☆
Key Tracks: Mona Lisa, Girl Like You, You And I
Indie pioneer Chaz Bundick has been on the scene for just under a decade and in that time his music has spanned a couple of different outfits and multiple genres. On Toro Y Moi’s latest offering ‘Boo Boo’, we see Bundick at his most introspective to date.
This isn’t an album stacked with numerous up-tempo numbers nor does it go down the guitar-driven path like the band’s previous album ‘What For?’. Instead, we get a far more intimate and reflective body of work with ‘Boo Boo’. Tracks such as Labyrinth and the brilliant You And I are good examples of this. Armed with synths and drum machines, Bundick sings in first person jumping from reflections on specific relationships to much bigger themes all in the same song. It’s a nice mix as Bundick’s vocals and lyrics truly take center-stage for the first time in the band’s career.
While the album’s backbone moves at a deliberate pace, we aren’t completely deprived of any funky dance numbers with Mona Lisa & Girl Like You destined to make the feet shuffle. Indeed, Girl Like You wouldn’t seem out of place on any of Daft Punk’s latest offerings. Having had the pleasure of seeing Toro Y Moi live, this track will surely be another crowd-pleaser.
In an already impressive discography, I can’t claim this album to be Toro’s best. But, if I can prompt readers to go and listen to some of the band’s music then I’ve done my job. Put your head-phones on, sit-back and get intimate with Toro Y Moi’s ‘Boo Boo’, a really enjoyable listen.
Dunkirk (July, 2017)
★★★★ / ☆☆☆☆☆
Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Harry Styles, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, Fionn Whitehead
Christopher Nolan has built the reputation as a fine director with films such as Inception, Interstellar & The Dark Knight filling his resume. And, with his latest work Dunkirk, Nolan doesn’t look to be slowing down.
The film portrays the evacuation of Allied troops from the shores of the French town Dunkirk in May 1940, as the German army closes in from land, air and sea. It is an unnerving tale of both survival and resistance, leaving the audience with a harrowing depiction of what World War II was like for those men and women involved.
What I liked about the film was Nolan’s ability to avoid the Hollywood and embrace the historical. Indeed, clear techniques were used to help Dunkirk feel as ‘real’ as possible. For example, storylines were intertwined between characters while timelines were fractured helping to create a sense of disorientation. Furthermore, only British actors and extras were cast with the likes of Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy and even Harry Styles putting in quality performances as British soldiers. The enemy, the Germans, were never seen by the audience which helped add tension through the unsuspecting timeliness of when an attack might be coming and a fear of the unknown. The lead-up to the ‘Mole’ scene is the best example of this. Nolan also uses the film’s audio to great effect with bullets piercing and bombs blasting at ear-splitting levels. Coupled with another brilliant, menacing score, Dunkirk proves what a great effect the audio can have on a viewer’s film experience.
Finally, I enjoyed Nolan’s restraint at the conclusion of the film where he could have easily pulled on our heart-strings a little tighter. While great bravery and sacrifice was shown, especially from a number of civilians, there was no victory. Just survival.
A tense viewing from start to finish, you will feel like you’ve survived Dunkirk yourself, another fine work from a bright movie-mind.
The Libertines – ‘The Libertines’ (2004)
★★★★★ / ☆☆☆☆☆
Key Tracks: Can’t Stand Me Now, Music When The Lights Go Out, What Katie Did
There is nothing clean about this album. From the production, to the lyrical content and even the cover art, this record is a mess. Luckily for listeners, though, it’s a beautiful mess. Following on from their critically-acclaimed debut ‘Up The Bracket’ was never going to be easy for The Libertines but their second and final album was to be their finest.
In an all-too-fleeting career, the band suffered from numerous addictions, a struggle to cope with their new-found fame and, most importantly, from an ongoing fracture between lead-men Carl Barat & Pete Doherty. It was common knowledge in the build-up to recording ‘The Libertines’ that Barat & Doherty had their issues. There were fights, hospitalizations and even prison episodes with Barat claiming that he was at war with Doherty over the vision & direction of the band.
This is where ‘The Libertines’ finds its energy. The opener Can’t Stand Me Now sets the tone as Barat & Doherty jostle for vocal duties which continues over the course of the next 13 tracks. The album is littered with the typically chaotic, brash tunes that the Libertines do so well but it is the quieter moments where we find the real gems including Music When The Lights Go Out & What Katie Did, an ode to Doherty’s perilous love affair with model Kate Moss.
Barat & Doherty went their separate ways shortly after the release of ‘The Libertines’ and their future projects Dirty Pretty Things & Babyshambles proved that the two musicians worked best together. The album closer, What Became Of The Likely Lads, is fitting as Barat & Doherty wail “What became of the dreams we had? What became of forever? I guess we’ll never know”.
The back-story is great. The music is too. Throw this record on and enjoy the chaos that makes ‘The Libertines’ a classic album.
Want to reach out to Cam about his Sights & Sounds article? Hit him up on Twitter; @camcrawford1.