The pristine gloom of Grouper is still here in places, but it’s tested on this new record. Harris has never been a static artist, but this capacity for self-questioning feels healthy and well-timed, and she still writes a despondent vocal hook better than almost anyone.
To their credit, on Terrain Portico Quartet manage to steer just clear of such Fast Show ‘nice’-ness by taking painstaking care with every part of the record, meaning that if at first it might seem a little too polite for some, close, repeated listens will be richly rewarded.
WINK is endearing, but it’s not Kawaii; it’s all analogue R&B and garage punk with a rap verse. It’s a bold move forward in their movement, which candidly champions people on their own terms.
Painful Enlightenment feels like a rewarding, groundbreaking footwork record for daring not to sound much like footwork at all.
Harlecore‘s gimmick is tempered with some incredibly solid melodies.
The most refined record Tyler, the Creator has made.
Unapologetically big and dazzlingly bright, Jubilee is an invigorating depiction of Zauner’s journey to finding true happiness in a testing and unforgiving world.
This is an album of quiet ambition, one that treads softly in both sound and message.
A masterful album – one which unsurprisingly surprises at every turn. Cavalcade proves Black Midi are incapable of resting on their laurels.
Ultimately, the high points more than make up for any shortcomings; this an at-times-stunning album that balances bangers and heart in an endearing and enduring fashion.
This is a more patient and slippery album than some may be used to from IGLOOGHOST, but no less rewarding. Its expansive quality and quiet spirituality show him as not just a great storyteller, but a new kind of myth maker.
Aside from its tighter presentation of Virginia Wing’s existing sound, private LIFE benefits from a doubled-down dedication to the specific wild abandon only pop can offer.
Each track is unique and there’s not a bad song here. Conversations between mates, exclamations about the demise of punk and unique beats wind themselves around the listener’s mind until it is completely claimed, fertile ground for an outpouring of pain and love and the unfairness and bittersweetness of history
Great Spans jettisons reference for dizzying experience. Foraging further into the wilderness, Doyle has uncovered a maximalist Lynchian heaven from the undergrowth.
It’s their most musical record yet, with more adventurous instrumentation, as well as the vocal features of Amyl and the Sniffers’ Amy Taylor and up-and-comer Billy Nomates, adding further excitement to what is a brilliantly by-the-book Sleaford Mods album.
The album that emerged is a record of greater confidence and refinement than Dry Cleaning’s two EPs, Sweet Princess and Boundary Road Snacks. Here, triviality and meaning compete to create a compelling portrait of ordinary life, one littered with acerbic wit, intricacy and yawning negative space.
On S.I.M.B.I., Little Simz levels her successes by being herself, being introverted. And with that, she has made a record that prompts the kind of introspection that can lead to personal breakthroughs. It’s an album to listen to over and over.
Theon Cross goes deeper than preconceptions by delivering a record that is truly personal and intricate.
Thoroughly modern in its make-up, A Common Turn is simultaneously reflective and rambunctious. Anna B Savage has made an outstanding first impression.
Sanders’ performance is the star turn, seeming almost three-dimensional with his breath sounds and key-clicks interacting with Shepherd’s electronics, and the LSO’s blending of their instruments is always the moreish side of soupy.
If Wrench’s masterful production is the expertly-made canvas, it’s this storytelling which gives the record its colour, and combined they make a brilliant piece of art.
Rather than using pop polish to mask uncomfortable truths, Prioritise Pleasure hits so powerfully specifically because it uses the language of a pop record to state them frankly. It’s masterful.
For The First Time comes off as a wildly successful experiment and, much like Slint, it’s easy to wonder if Black Country, New Road will ever make anything remotely similar ever again.