Boy From Michigan is not an easy album to get to grips with, nor is it one for background listening. For those willing to put the work in, this is another invigorating missive from one of music’s finest minds.
The sound on Welfare Jazz may be more of the same glam-phetamine trash disko bomp that made the first record so distinctive ... but there’s something else that’s been added to their arsenal, something that was hiding in plain sight all along.
Coral Island is an ambitious record that never topples under the weight of that ambition. Unusually for a double album there’s barely any filler and the songs have a timeless quality that keeps you returning.
Despite its relatively short running time, and the low-key nature of the songs, this third album sounds like a big step forward for Barnett – a move away from the stream of consciousness delivery of her early days and a step towards sincere contemplations of matters of the heart.
Flying Dream 1 is, in many respects, a typical Elbow album – warm, comforting and sincere. It’s also a record that many of us need after the last two years.
... its vivid subject matter dealing with depression, sexuality, prejudice and matters of the heart with an uplifting old-school feel complemented by celestial vocals.
Vynehall’s potential has always been apparent, but Rare, Forever is a truly beguiling record – equal parts poignant and hedonistic – which allows his vast array of talents to shine.
Vince Staples is a worthy continuation of his oeuvre, and proof if it were needed that his paradox of youthful energy and world-weary cynicism remains as captivating as ever.
It may take a few listens for this album’s charms to fully reveal itself, and some may find the apeing of classic rock greats a bit wearying, but overall, I Don’t Live Here Anymore is a solid addition to The War On Drugs canon.
They find Harris stepping away from the choral ambiance and glacial minimalism of the Nivhek era and retreating back to the nocturnal ebbs and crackling timbres of earlier albums.
Fir Wave is an exploration of large-scale natural patterns and cycles, translating them into musical forms – a kind of extended set of symphonic poems for electronics.
Music For Psychedelic Therapy is a real accomplishment, otherwordly escapism that’s irresistible for the mind, body and soul.
It’s still a sumptuously crafted, warmly atmospheric and often beautiful work from The Antlers, proving that Silberman remains one of America’s most gifted, emotionally intelligent songwriters.
Seeking New Gods is simultaneously thought provoking, questioning, elegant and unsettled – but it is fundamentally a feelgood album. We find Gruff Rhys at his most natural, his winning blend of a slight, endearing shyness balanced by extrovert, psychedelic tendencies.
This album certainly is a rush, and it’s also the best Japanese Breakfast album to date.
The dark, introspective nature of Idles’ latest release may well disappoint those who love the band for their rabble-rousing, tongue-in-cheek headbangers. But for those who’ve been waiting some time for the beloved Bristolians to take a left turn with their sound, Crawler is an absolute thrill.
One of their most powerful and cohesive statements to date.
Overall, Voyage is an odd mixed-bag of styles and subject matter, not all of which completely work. But then, if we’re really honest, hasn’t this in fact been what has always made an ABBA album special and enduring – the refusal to stick to a limited formula even if you get something you don’t like?
Endless Arcade might be an album of recalibration and evolution, but it’s also one that more than holds its own against the lofty peaks scaled earlier in their career.
As Days Get Dark is a remarkable return, a new Arab Strap that updates, deepens and re-energises their sound.
It’s fair to say that you generally know what you’re getting with new Godspeed albums these days, but that doesn’t make the appearance of a new album any less thrilling. G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END! might follow a certain well worn path but still sounds magnificent, especially at volume, pulling you in like a rip tide.
Sleaford Mods’ Jason Williamson’s observations are so pin sharp, albeit wrapped up in his own unique lyricism, that it’s almost a civic responsibility to listen to him.
Daddy’s Home may lack the more exhilarating, guitar-shredding moments of some of Clark’s earlier work, but it’s possibly her best, most considered album to date.
With -io she has made a work that is both devastatingly personal and beautifully generous.
This is a truly joyous album, and a purely pleasurable experience.
The music throughout MONTERO suggests that Nas X has a very bright future ahead of him.
Blue Weekend is Wolf Alice’s best work yet – a confident, euphoric, blistering 40 minutes that’s guaranteed to be on many people’s ‘best of’ lists at the end of the year.
The layered and intricate soundscapes that embody Isles are testament to the vast and diverse musical influences that Ferguson and McBriar have explored and savoured over the years. Bittersweet and introspective, yet hopeful and spellbinding.
Overall, Moctar’s creations are perfectly pitched in drawing from Tuareg culture and reaching beyond the traditional into new territory.
With Carnage, Cave and Ellis have successfully balanced introspection and self reflection with the tumult and confusion of the wider world. It’s a hugely powerful statement.
Seventeen Going Under is powerful, essential stuff, a coming of age album that speaks to the human experience in the here and now. Its creator is absolutely the real deal.
There’s no sudden rush or instantaneous hit, but that’s not the point. Its hazy, dreamlike and enveloping charms unfold anew with further layers of melancholic woozy, summery beauty each time, as you contemplate about contemplation.
A vitally important album: a record that could be a feminist manifesto all on its own. It fuses the pop genius of the likes of Rihanna or Taylor Swift with the searing rage of early ‘90s Riot Grrrl.
It is neither their most immediate nor their warmest album, yet its provocations are effective, and become curious and complex in light of the melody and harmony that sits above them.