The piano has displaced Krug's veil of intellect and mystery. What remains is something warm, something sentimental, something beautiful. Spencer Krug has never sounded better.
They ooze a confidence that marries the seductive mews of Aaliyah with something just slightly sinister. It's a combination that could easily sound forced, but Francis has mastered the trick of adding a nuance to her purrs that makes them intoxicating.
For a band that has made change their consistent state, Fade is another welcome stop on a career that shows no signs of growing old.
A charmed debut that exhibits just how deep the well of pop music runs when a band has a firm grasp of the fundamentals, which Ex Cops possess in spades.
This is music that takes a while to comprehend, designed for longevity over quick appeal. For those of you wistful for this approach, look no further.
Peaks and drops alike unveil a rich and full detail that becomes beautifully granular on subsequent listens without being obscure or academic.
The singer sheds herself of what little accoutrement she's had in the past; these songs are Niblett, her guitar, her drummer, and little else.
The Invisible Way may be a distillation of previous outings, but the new production style and emphasis on feminine vocals is a welcome change for a group that experienced some growing pains this decade.
While it may be a little overlong at nearly an hour and a half, there are influences from 40-odd years of pop music expertly melted together by a master craftsman to create an album of consistently brilliant songs.
It might not be a major leap forward for Boards of Canada, but when the music continues to be so obviously them, maybe Tomorrow's Harvest doesn't need to be.
The introspection allows ideas to flow freely, and moreover the diverse styles of the collaborators this time make cosy bedfellows to create a genuinely beautiful, atmospheric record.
Slow Focus is exactly what you'd expect from a Fuck Buttons effort: it's brusque, overwhelming and complicated. But for a band so intent on pushing boundaries, this is a strange, almost faltering, sidestep.
Featuring eight songs of disco/pop haze laced with longing and Dan Bejar-approved horns (Shabason moonlights as Destroyer's saxophonist), the band's debut album Perpetual Surrender is packed full of earworm elements that, in another era, we all had to use the phrase "guilty pleasures" to describe.
While the music often shows a strength and hope, The Silver Gymnasium is largely a heartbreaking record.
Without a doubt, this is their strongest and most cohesive collection of tracks to date.
Tennant and Chris Lowe hit far more often than they miss here; Electric is the most boisterous and lively Pet Shop Boys album since Very.
They're fragile mists of songs, often hanging together as much by theme and mood as structure. It's a haunting song cycle, one that might not necessarily appeal to their fan base as a whole. But give it another listen; for all its subtlety, this is a role that Goldfrapp was born to play.
A bold album that takes you places
With Unmap, Volcano Choir clearly had the raw materials it needed to create something stunning—but those materials were left unarranged, scattered, and disparate. Repave is built from the same basic building blocks, but they've been die-cast into a definite mold—and the results are remarkable.
No matter what happens to Phosphorescent from here on out, Muchacho is an artist setting a new standard.
The appeal of the album lies in its musicianship and perfect production. Synths and drum machines create a panic-laden sci-fi landscape; meanwhile, acoustic guitars slip deftly in and out of the songs.
It was only eight months ago that Wild Nothing treated us to a near-perfect album. Now they're just spoiling us.