The rougher, rawer songs here demonstrate her desire to create music that she can support with her own “musculature,” to use another word she’s used lately.
The Nashville Sound sees Isbell swaggering confidently along the rockier edge of his range--as usual--he's at his best on the reflective ballads.
As if suddenly unleashed creatively, No Shape finds Hadreas building on Too Bright in every direction at once ... The queer subtext of Hadreas' work is the source of much of its power.
Their gem-like guitar pop songs start meandering a little. Altogether, though, In Mind feels like a collective exhale.
This wired counterpart pays tribute to a New York tat now exists only in the songwriter's head, or his record collection.
The uninitiated may hear only a wonky Julian Cope at 25rpm, but somewhere on Screen Memories is the point where performance art ends and genuine mania begins.
It’s a tribute to their instincts that there’s nothing here that feels studied or overly developed. Instead, Plum fizzes and surprises with the kind of regularity that makes even its fine predecessor, 2015’s 1,000 Days, sound a little prosaic by comparison.
It’s the haunted croak of the band’s main singers, Ibrahim and Abdallah, that are the main draw: the sound of heartbroken gangleader, the world-weary soldier, bravado replaced by tenderness. It’s a sound that suits them perfectly.
On I See You, The xx have expanded their horizons without sacrificing any of the emotional intimacy that makes them one of the most compelling acts around.
Some of the most exuberant and immediately engaging music they’ve ever recorded.
Hot Thoughts finds Spoon at the peak of their considerable powers, their ninth album effortlessly unfolding and gradually revealing its mysteries as they cement their place in the firmament of undeniably great rock bands.
Distinctive, involving, challenging, accessible, progressive and most other things that continue to be desirable in an indie-rock record, whatever the year.
The band continue to develop their sound and deepen their levels of engagement.
While there are hacksaw marks here and there, 50 is a finely turned piece that surveys the looming thunderclouds of mortality and the biblical gloom of the times, and – quietly, unshowily – transcends both.
Taken on its own, The Kid is a hugely satisfying example of Smith’s wholesome and harmonious vision, one that manages to enmesh the wonders of music, memory and nature via analogue synthesis without explicit reference to the healing properties of crystals.
Hallelujah Anyhow may have been recorded swiftly, but the abandonment is still exquisitely detailed, as every listen to "Domino" reveal further nuance beneath the swagger.