The real skill that this duo has managed to display here is in creating a distinctive sense of personality around whom they are and what they do whilst operating in a self-imposed ever-shifting musical landscape, in which standing still appears to be a crime.
Songs melt into one another, merging from breathless prog grooves to aching balladry and back again. Weaver is offering something deeper than nostalgic noodling.
While ‘Compassion’ isn’t an ode to the fissures and fallout of Brexit, Trump and the chaos in the Middle East, it captures the uncertainty and insecurity perfectly, manifesting itself as an incongruent collection of tracks that seep deep.
Exploring fresh musical territories without leaving tradition behind following a two-decade career, ‘Mountain Moves’ is the LP of a band at their peek.
The whole effect is something that’s the very opposite of escapist, but rather reflective and deeply personal. ‘Arca’ is an album that’s also a prison – a place where you’re trapped in Ghersi’s compelling, claustrophobic world.
Three albums in with ‘Love What Survives’, they’re moving forward once again with a floating mix of motorik beats, woozy pop and some solid vocal collaborations.
If ‘I Love You, Honeybear’ was a sarcastic title for a record of hard truths, it’s got nothing on the name ‘Pure Comedy’ – Tillman’s 75-minute slow avalanche of ballads that relentlessly nags at the absurdity of mankind.
For a record to have such a bizarre, profound (and not always entirely pleasant) impact is a rarity; for the same record to boast such a catalogue of eminently danceable, cathartic moments is astounding.
In both content and delivery ‘English Tapas’ is reminiscent of John Cooper Clark at the tail end of a cheap amphetamine binge. And I mean that in a good way. It’s bleak, tough and funny. Like life.
Somewhere between the stadium pop of Heart and the dive-bar dirt of Springsteen, Cameron is undeniable in craft, humour and sax solos.
The different voices and inversions mean that, even though she operates within the broad confines of gothic folk, she has an air of unpredictability. This suggests that the listener is party to a talent at the very start of her creative life.
The composition of the tracks give way to rhythmic peaks and flows, and while there isn’t a story as such, the narrative sense of journey makes this record as much literature as it is music.
She seeks to articulate the unbearable emotional heaviness of being on the brink of adulthood, and of all the yearning, identity crises and self-examination that that entails. That she manages it with sincerity despite her status as an established global pop star success story, with triumphalism despite being so audibly let down by the reality, and with authority despite still not having completed the journey herself is what makes ‘Melodrama’ such a compelling experience.
Written as the nadir of 2016 was coming into focus, it paints a somewhat dystopian vision of a society out of control and typifies the record’s tone of, in his own words, “utter chaos and confusion.” This is a good thing for ‘Sincerely, Future Pollution’, whose nine tracks have a deliciously inky, retro feel, like Nick Cave fronting a bitter ’80s Vegas house band.
At its heart, however, this is still a record with techno at its core, and it’s demonstrated by Owens’ aptitude for subtlety and nuance.