These guys are here to have fun, and their faculty for it might rankle some elders.
Listening to Star Power gives you the sense that they accomplished exactly what they set out to do: reconnect with the sense of play and reckless curiosity they had when they were teenagers in the garage, messing around with a 4-track and trying to make each other laugh.
The kind of envelope-pushing on Mess is nothing if not mature, simultaneously punk as fuck and utterly refined.
Warpaint practically demands multiple listens for taking everything in. Where a song might call for a melodic core, rewards come in the unique ways Warpaint chooses to carry it.
After 20 years it seems strange to say, but Damon Albarn may finally have put the ghosts of his Britpop past to rest.
Like an ailing canine after a reinvigorating trip to the veterinary surgeon, El Pintor has a bit more bite to it than some of Interpol's recent efforts.
Temples may not be about to win any awards for Most Groundbreaking Sound, but they channel their influences so skillfully, and have such a good ear for a melody, that it's almost impossible not to fall for them. A supremely confident and delightful debut.
Jagbags might suffer from a mild case of "the mids"—mid-paced, middle-aged, and (at times) middle-of-the-road—but there is still much to enjoy here.
What makes Ryan Adams so stunning is both its substance and restraint
In Conflict doesn't find Owen Pallett breaking new ground, but that might not matter. He's still bringing his exacting ear to perfect arrangement (sometimes a little overly so), along with a unique lyrical outlook—and for the most part, In Conflict balances the two.
If Belong was Pains' alternative anthems record, then Days of Abandon is their take on classic indie pop.
The album feels uniquely empowering. It's like the mystery drug convincing kids they can fly in an afterschool special. It demands full volume.
The songs have a widescreen, cinematic sound to them, but remain very much the band's own; they sound like hat-tips to the likes of U2 and Springsteen, drenched in reverb-laden guitars and obfuscated with selective distortion.
While Wild Beasts have crafted another beautifully soulful record in Present Tense—with perhaps a little more bite than its predecessor—it does leave the listener wondering how long a band can stick with one mood before it starts to stagnate.