Carbon/Silicon — The Silicon Bubble
Carbon/Silicon's The Last Post was one of my favourite albums of last year, and The Silicon Bubble has just vaulted to the top of my best of '09 contenders' list.
Singer/guitarist Mick Jones (The Clash, Big Audio Dynamite), guitarist Tony James (Generation X, Sigue Sigue Sputnik), bassist Leo "Eezykill" Williams (B.A.D.) and drummer Dominic Greensmith (Reef) are back to continue their "M.P.Free" revolution by making the 12-track album available as a free download from their web site.
Jones' voice is unmistakable and, as a loose generalization, much of the material on The Silicon Bubble is comparable to his best work from B.A.D. But "What's Up Doc" is brash with lots of thrash and is the most punk thing Jones has done since The Clash's first album, while "Make It Alright" is a frantic psych-rocker. Things slow down, but work just as well, on the sparse and simple "Unbelievable Pain."
"Fresh Start" effectively blends harmonica in with the twin guitars.
Jones mentions Facebook and flash mobs in "Shadow" and follows it with another reference to modern pop culture in "Don't Taser Me Bro."
Songs average about five-and-a-half minutes in length, but none of them seem to drag on, which is one of my key qualifiers for a great album. While it may not have those one or two songs that really jump out like The Last Post did, it's an overall more consistent effort.
Carbon/Silicon put on a great show when I saw it at the South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas last year, and I was disappointed when James told me that Williams' passport problems wiped out the group's two Canadian concerts, but I'm still holding out hope that it will make it here eventually.
I don't expect everyone to share my enthusiasm for Carbon/Silicon but, since it won't cost you anything to give The Carbon Bubble a shot, why not go for it?