In theory, a Twin Fantasy redo seemed unnecessary and pompous, a misguided detour in service of soothing an artist’s ego over past shortcomings. In execution, it’s as vital as anything released yet this year.
Should Arctic Monkeys remain cozily in that era forever, no one should fault them. And yet, unlike many nauseatingly nostalgic acts today, it never sounds pastiche.
Not only does OCHL feel more balanced than the band’s three previous releases—which each placed an enormous burden upon their few moments of passive instrumentation to maintain an even keel—it also feels entirely more transparent.
Sparkle Hard possesses a little bit of everything Malkmus does well, from heart-snatching guitar hooks to wistful ballads and psych-rock wig-outs. But Malkmus doesn’t stop there—he chucks in spare parts from disparate genres, and the unlikely hybrids work well.
Wide Awake! finds Parquet Courts spreading themselves in multiple genres, developing as many formulas as possible for corporeal mobility—and by that, I mean not just dancing, but physical reactions, from excitement’s range of kicking and screaming to pliés of joy.
The record is big and colorful, its production drawing equally from hip-hop’s visceral impact and psychedelia’s strange weather, its pacing perfect and its songs casually bleeding into one another. It works so well as a big-picture record that it’s easy to forgive Monáe for leaving the edges a little fuzzy.
With 7, Beach House has done nothing to disturb their status as one of indie rock’s most consistent bands. They’ve done a whole lot, though, to demonstrate a willingness to reimagine what it is that Beach House can be.