Sharon O'Connell

90

A Jaime 2.0 likely to secure her status as an auteur in terms of both conception and execution. It's bigger, freer-thinking and more dynamically audacious record.

60
Strings, piano and keyboard combine with multi-textured guitar in songs that, though engaging, tend toward the florid.
70

No curveballs are thrown. However, the band's debt to OMD and New Order is increasingly less obvious, while the earlier bombastic synths are being edged out by a more spacious, less forceful style of electronic poo that recalls fellow Baltimorean Dan Deacon, with echoes of Peter Gabriel.

80
Newdad's first full-length shows them expanding on their indie-pop roots, adding extra gnarly, post-punk bite and more sophisticated textures to their updated mix of The Cure, Slowdive and Curve.
80
There’s not a weak moment here, though the aforementioned “I Don’t Like My Mind” and “The Deal”, with its sudden percussive tumult, shine brightest.
80
An expansive, soulful set that embraces modern West Coast fusion, Hancock-style funk, psychedelic soul-jazz and more.
90
Here are profound expressions of timeless love, nostalgic memories of relationships past, reflections on fulfillment, grief, desire, belonging and habitual non-belonging.
70
Recorded with the London Contemporary Orchestra, it pitches up somewhere between devotional music, modern classical and shoegaze and plays as a set piece, though the powerful ebb and flow of “Skel” stands out.
70
His new, voice-focused album, made with guide (and singing guest) Thom Yorke, is the answer to his question “What would it sound like if The Beach Boys took MDMA and made a rave record?” Unsurprisingly, the result is far less prescriptive than that, though the balancing of melancholia аnd euphoria, the intimate and the epic, is a feature.
70
At 15 tracks it rather drags its anchor, but there's much promise here.
70
This debut from the helm of both GY!BE and Thee Silver Mt Zion... and the Broken Social Scene mainstay, respectively, is itself luminous - seven soundscapes that shift across drone, ancestral chant, shoegaze and a forlorn take on sacred music, lent extra otherworldly heft by Engle's beauteous vocals.
80

Idiosyncratic auteur shines in a bigger, bolder setting, with high-calibre guests.

70
Fever Ray’s records may be less boldly subversive than The Knife’s, but there are plenty of artful thrills and pleasures here, notably power-trance anthem “Carbon Dioxide”, the chilly, Depeche Mode-ish “North” and scuzzy, attitudinal disco banger “Even It Out”.

February Playlist
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