With his debut LP Process, Sisay has finally given an insight to the man behind the anonymity, and it’s a stunning insight at that.
The Courtneys’ hypnotic songs sprint with gleeful release, triumphantly charging ahead with hooks and licks to spare. It’s a densely packed dose of pure gaiety that hides its complex arrangements well, seeing as the trio play against each other with emphatic ease.
There’s a confrontational energy to The Underside of Power that encourages conversation, and not just rapturous abandon. It’s an unorthodox approach that immediately distinguishes them.
It never quite overstays its welcome during its brisk 30 minutes, though once it approaches its more redundant second half, it’s hard to make out whether they’re paying homage to their heroes or if they’re gearing up for a nostalgic tribute tour.
Both cynical and biting, Nothing Feels Natural is a timely and involving call to arms that promises great things from Priests sooner rather than later.
Lytle addresses sadness with a sweeping grandiosity, where the stories he conjures are both sides amusingly satirical and deceptively foolish.
Never does it hide the duo’s own merits, as they embrace a more vibrant form of beat-driven electronica that also functions in a rock context with collaboration at its heart.
Sick Scenes is an emotional melting pot of joy, regret and rage against the passage of time. But as heavy as that sounds, Los Campesinos! has never sounded lighter on its feet. With some of their catchiest songs yet and Gareth's muse in top form, this album stands among their strongest work.
While Marling's lyrics come across as powerful and worldly, it's the conversational tone that makes Semper Femina work so well ... United with the strongest set of songs of her career, she has reached a new peak in a career full of them.
At once droll and melancholic, Cigarettes After Sex struggles to earn the aural beauty it desperately seeks.
The whole record is crafted with an air of distrust, but its execution is surgically precise. Spoon’s stream of critical acclaim shows no sign of slowing down any time soon.
Each and every selection here has loads of character, confidently bringing back the kind of polished guitar dynamics that many contemporary indie rock bands either take for granted or don’t have the capacity to arrange into sharp, rock-sculpted songs.
Duterte recorded Everybody Works entirely in her bedroom studio, and its snug, unhurried, duvet-wrapped warmth intensifies any previous definitions of the bedroom pop genre.
Owens consistently and effortlessly locates sweet spots without ever falling into a specific alcove, showing a maturity and understanding of her craft seldom seen on a debut LP.
One of the most frustrating releases of recent times. Tracks meander insipidly, crushed by the weight of a solipsistic “message” and the real moments of quality only serve as a reminder of what might have been.
The electronic work is fantastic throughout Plunge, never adhering to presets and making full use of every beat, burst and throb. When coupled with Dreijer’s slick, razor-sharp vocal you have a monster of a record that gets more impressive with every listen.
Holiday Destination is Shah’s third LP, and is her most accomplished effort to date – superbly executed with an ability to make an austere backdrop insatiably compelling.
Turn Out the Lights is an immense record that runs a gamut of emotions, from distress to love, anguish to healing. These are songs that you feel more than listen to. Everyone has encountered some sort of mental illness, addiction or crisis of faith, whether in your life or another’s. Not only does Baker prove that you’re not alone, but she finds a way to make it better.
While it gives a feeling of unease, Indigo is actually about seeking to understand through self-identification. And ultimately, having to move forward with what’s outside of her immediate scope.
What you see is pretty much what you get with A Deeper Understanding: impeccably-produced songs about aging and disillusionment imbued with an air of nostalgia.
It may be Power’s most fatalistic declaration, but also his most engagingly diverse, and his marked exasperations do reflect a not-so-distant dystopia that suitably aligns with today’s societal disconnect.
Molly Rankin’s vocals throughout the record compliment the soundscapes perfectly, fanning disappointment with hope whilst exercising a great deal of control - and an admirable lack of bias - over her ponderings.
Ctrl is a languid, cavernously soulful debut that is never anything but assured – a collection of delicious jams that are equal parts fragile, cozy and piercing.
There’s a stunningly transformative quality to Big Thief’s second effort, a feat considering it’s a been a little over a year since the Brooklyn foursome last released their breakthrough debut, Masterpiece.
I See You is a sprawling album. The band has embraced the spectacle, yet it is not the antithesis of their previous minimalist work.
Even if Elverum is reluctant to label it as such, A Crow Looked at Me is what all art should aspire to be: honest, affecting, and unforgettable.
The laconically titled Slowdive adapts to what Slowdive are capable of sounding in 2017: there’s no need to reinvent because doing that once is enough, so why not apply what they know best and try to adapt to a different, more current environment.
Visions of a Life follows on from My Love is Cool almost seamlessly, and with two hugely accomplished records already in their arsenal, Wolf Alice are a band who have the world at their feet.
It’s beautifully conflicted and human, and does provide a unique and unforgettable experience that will continue to charm with its paradoxical qualities for years to come.
American Dream does offer a lot from a songwriting standpoint, and why wouldn’t it? Murphy is a skilled producer with a deft ear for melody. But he’s somehow disrupted that valuable balance of humor and thoughtfulness found in LCD Soundsystem’s past with a more sedate offering that is riddled with mixed messages.
It’s somewhat off-putting to witness Clark, who handles her artful presence with mannered precision, discard any sight of a clear objective on Masseduction.
The changes are slight in Sleep Well Beast, but they still render quite significantly in view of how they have a pressure to upend any expectations.
Melodrama isn't strictly about inebriation. It's about growing up and growing out of love, where the excitement of a relationship fades and what's left can't sustain itself. This album explores this segment of adulthood in all its joy, despair, confusion and revelry. And it does it with stunning introspection and musical freshness.