Shaun Curran

60

It could have been a disastrous grand folly. Instead it is, if not exactly Revolver, as invigorated as either has sounded for years - and seems like the start of something more.

80

Wall Of Eyes is unlikely to stop speculation over Radiohead’s future, but maybe now that noise will quieten. The Smile have developed into their own creative entity, and they’re capable of going wherever they feel like next.

100

Iechyd Da is his masterpiece, start to finish.

60
The boy/girl vocals of Nina Cristante and Jezmi Tarik Fehmi – the latter of whom can sound uncannily like Robert Smith – dovetail nicely, though a sense remains that Bar Italia are a work in progress.
60
Things turn introspective as Smith deals with self-doubt and toxic treatment, with some beautiful results, particularly Backward, which has a gorgeous strings coda, and the sparse pulse of the choirfeaturing Try And Fit In.
80
It all builds to a dizzying peak with the sensory overload of 90s rave up Feels Like I Am Dreaming, a high so relentless it collapses into the floating, ambient beauty of the closing title track. Thirty years in, and as thrillingly vital as ever.
60
Much preferable are the ballads at the album’s back-end that do offer some divergence: the airy piano-led Waves and the superb glam tinged There Goes My Cool proving arresting antidotes.
80

If the premise is laid on a bit thick – Rowland never does things by halves – at least torch song My Submission is the most beautiful thing Dexys have ever done.

80

Irish post-punk crew make a startling leap forward with epic second.

80

Cacti might show Maries in survival mode, but revealing vulnerability has seen her songwriting soften and come into its own.

80

A lockdown-induced spell back home has reconnected the Perth singer-songwriter with her childhood, her old birdwatching hobby, and the piano she hadn't touched for decades.  That wide-eyed feeling of possibility permeates Flood.

80
Emerging out of a period of patchy experimentation, former White Stripes man gets back to his best.
80

A layered, atmospheric, darkly playful headrush of a first offering.

80

In attempting to circumvent the human mind, Everything Everything have found their heart, and made their finest album yet.

80

The tensions that consume Fontaines – musically, personally, philosophically – continue to propel them forward: Skinty Fia is another triumph for this era’s most vital group.

100

Subversive, clever, of the moment and utterly joyous, this a record that reminds you how life-affirming pop music can be.

60
Unsettling atmospherics from the US artist.
80
Second effort Colourgrade, heavy with contemplations on family and motherhood, picks up the baton and runs in a weirder direction still.
80

His knack for alchemising an engrossing trip hasn’t deserted him yet.


February Playlist
AOTY Discord