Although some moments trend toward a slightly more palatable sound, Everything In Between pulls in the opposite direction too.
Grinderman 2 goes a long way towards solidifying this four-man Bad Seeds mash-up as a distinctive musical act, even as it brings them closer to their parent band’s wheelhouse.
Arcade Fire’s seven members resemble an archetypal family. They grew up — on record, anyway — in the bittersweet nostalgia of small neighborhoods, remembering the bedrooms of their parents and the bedrooms of their friends; moved on to the bright lights of histrionic cities, trying to avoid it when the planes hit the ground; and now, migrated to the suburbs. (Where else does one go after producing Neon Bible, one of the decade’s more somber statements on existence?) But far from a comforting escape from all that came before, Arcade Fire’s suburbia is a lot like Cheever’s: menacing, shadowing the depression of lost innocence and the paranoia of adulthood behind a pretty white picket fence.
Thematically and atmospherically, it is even more successful than The Crying Light, achieving its cohesiveness with an even wider stylistic palette.
High Violet isn’t simply The National’s best album; it’s already one of the strongest album of this young decade and will likely continue to be, even in another nine years from now.
Beach House have reached the point in their career where achieving grand melodic climaxes seems to come to them effortlessly, and on Teen Dream the climaxes are as thrilling as ever before.
The whole album is a gorgeous mess, and you’ll immediately want to be dragged through it all over again.
If anything, the album proves beyond a doubt that Stern must be regarded as that: a songwriter, not only a technical genius.
The whole set is energetic but not exhausting, stopping along the road to breathe and cleanse the palate.
So no, Public Strain isn’t the manic, dirty opus Women was. But it’s still Women. And I’m still in love with it.
Fantasy is hardly as difficult or artsy as it wants to think it is, but its emotional complexity more than compensates for bulging song lengths and near-constant pomposity.
As difficult as it might be to find fresh plaudits with which to laud Deerhunter, they continue to deserve every single redundant bit of acclaim.
The problem with trying to quantify Emeralds is that potential descriptors of the group veer into the utterly formless. "Drone" and "hypnagogia" are en vogue terms that fail to summarize and completely locate the group within a movement. In some ways, definitive terms have almost become toxic. Once something is defined, it's doomed. While it's tempting to throw around terms like this, they ultimately feel disingenuous and exclusionary. Sadly its the critics' terminal plight to try to define movements, therefore containing them, suffocating them. Maybe in this specific context, I should leave the problem of defining Emeralds' sound to my iTunes; the genre tag it gave to Does It Look Like I'm Here? was simply "data."
Lopatin dissects elements of sound and arranges them into new magickal sigils, making Returnal not just a collection of tracks but an indivisible and cohesive whole, held in place this time not by grids and zones but by atmospheres and plumes.
My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope To the Sky, from the title’s evocation of righteous death on down to its suffusion with keening strings and other touches of sonic Americana, is an attempt to come to terms with the dark heart of history, with that ultimate question: if we are born into crime and monstrous darkness, how do we become more than that past?