Sauna presents itself as a unique amalgamation of each release’s strengths, embodying the tranquil, hearth-warm sonic pallet of Clear Moon while stretching and expanding these sounds into the endless ether akin to Ocean Roar.
Even with its faults, The Magic Whip is remarkably cohesive; not a single track is superfluous, flippant, or jarring. While Blur may not have the perceptible onerousness for each other that they did fifteen years ago, they certainly have the zeal.
Jamie Woon has dropped a second LP every bit as captivating as his first, and it’s hard to find any faults with this piece of work. Sumptuously slick, and with the humidity of a tropical locale.
The Most Lamentable Tragedy presents an abstracted story as its emotional core, and it’s significantly harder to respond to that more distant lyrical perspective. Taken on its own, however, the album is one of the more compassionate, prideful and ultimately moving depictions of mental illness on record in recent years.
The greater the risk, the greater the reward. And I can think of no better reward than this album.
Although more stylistically cohesive than her 2012 debut Movement (which felt more like a calling card for her diverse talents than an album proper), Platform suffers from the breadth of its ambition.
Marling has a talent for instilling in her work an awareness of what listeners are thinking, and this self-awareness goes hand-in-hand with one of the album’s most compelling features: the urge to push the boundaries of artistic mediums.
Staples has so much to say in Summertime '06 that it’d be impossible to fully dissect in one listen, and his ingenious phrasing makes for a constantly amusing variety of vignettes. A record is only as good as the music that accompanies, though, and collaborative producer No I.D. delivers in spades and then some.
Poison Season is even more sumptuously complete, sleek and highly refined, repurposing the champagne-coated synths of Kaputt with the aid of a full band to further accentuate his high-brow witticisms.
Tillman becomes one of the great diarists of our generation in Honeybear, possessing a keen, merciless intelligence within a sophisticated melodic sensibility.
Although Sometimes I Sit and Think is musically straightforward, Barnett doesn’t need anything more to tell great stories.
Stevens invites us to peer into a cathartic moment in his life without any trace of irony, bound by his faith, the geniality of his compositions often belying the grief that hides beneath the surface.
That To Pimp A Butterfly forces difficult questions both sociopolitical and aesthetic is testament to its brilliance. It is an album that can be, even deserves to be annotated song-by-song, line-by-line.