Gareth O'Malley

90
A monument to the ‘if you build it, they will come’ ethos; the sound of a band who’ve finally arrived after they’ve had shoulder to grindstone for 15 years, ready to embrace the moment. All is love and love is all.
83
In and out in under 28 minutes with not a second wasted—typifying the pair’s poise and purpose, no longer unlimited in name, but certainly in nature.
86
It may be steeped in personal struggle, the lyrical perspective weighed down by old haunts and fresh wounds, written in tribute to old faces and old selves, but their latest offering is forward-facing even at its most reflective, celebrating new beginnings.
93

plastic death is a staggering achievement: it might be four years later than planned, but give glass beach their flowers—they have more than earned them.

87
Their debut album may spend much of its runtime navigating darkness, but its relatable lyricism, towering hooks and unshakeable sense of perseverance help to light the way. Good for up and comers? Good full stop—great, even. SPRINTS have arrived and woe betide anyone who stands in their way.
85

It’s possibly their most immediate offering to date⁠—a deceptively breezy 54 minutes jam-packed with hooks⁠—but musical and lyrical depth abounds.

80
As before, there will probably be talk about what this band is, or should be; what genre conventions it fits into, and so on—it’s shown that it doesn’t care about any of that, and this album is a riposte to the doubters as Deafheaven morphs once again, into quite possibly the best version of itself.
85

Foxing continues to outdo itself, and Draw Down the Moon is both its most focused and accomplished album yet.

81

He may have been on the fringes until now, but with Live Forever, one of the year’s most daring records, he signals his intent – this is an artist not merely requesting his seat at the table, but demanding it.

90
The world they create on it is compelling, latching on to unpredictability as they display a willingness to mix things up throughout – they thrive in a state of constant flux, and their ninth album finds them sounding as fired-up as ever.
80

The Slow Rush is the answer to what comes next, the ending of something and the start of something else.

80
There was a time when they might have been content to sit back and write what might have been called a ‘typical’ Coldplay album, but following up a pop record with a wilfully experimental one such as this was the wiser move.
80

It's barely been more than 18 months since CYRK, but she's managed to move her sound forward considerably in that time, while proving that she's in for the long haul with a concise and commanding third album.

70

Not many other bands in their position could get away with an album like this; they've reached the stage where going back to writing straightforward songs would seem like a serious retrograde step. More power to them.

80

It's immediate, but it's challenging; it's instant, but it's a grower; how it manages to be all these things at once is, quite frankly, beyond me

80
Every single note here does what it’s supposed to do, and despite all the album’s strangeness (it could genuinely be said to create a whole other world for its listeners to get lost in) and the amount of time it needs to have an effect, it’s true to Blake’s philosophy.
90

There is no weak link; there is not a single misstep (and this is a 68-minute-long album). This may very well be his masterpiece.

70
The album has more hooks than you can shake a stick at, and there are some real promising moments here. For the most part, however, the band are in thrall to their influences, and some thinking outside the box is needed if they are to create a sound of their own.
70
Bold, brave, bonkers, and sometimes brilliant.

January Playlist
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