Hello. It’s been a while since I’ve last written on here- moving city and starting a new job aren’t half a drain on your time. Rather than spaffing on about how weird/awesome it is living somewhere new, here’s three albums I’ve really liked this year.
1. Wild Beasts – Smother
People who have read my blog for the past couple of years will know how much I adore Wild Beasts. ‘Smother’ follows on from the excellent ‘Two Dancers’ wonderfully- taking all the literary references, sexual frustration and testosterone but handling it in a more understated way. If previous single ‘All The Kings Men’ was the band’s adolescent fumble at the back of a club, ‘Smother’s standout track ‘Reach A Bit Further’ has to be their bruised, mid-twenties hangover after the album before, muzzy with the knocked confidence of previous encounters and lost lust. Amazing.
2. Real Estate – Days
Real Estate are so dreamy. Sadly, I didn’t make it to one of there live dates for this album – too busy humping my possessions across the country- but ‘Days’ more than makes up for it. It takes their signature, surfy-beachy sound, and develops with a slighly poppier slant, providing impossibly catchy, should-be-pophits like ‘It’s Real’ and ‘Easy’. Like I said, dreamy.
3. St Vincent – Strange Mercy
Annie Clark has one of the most lovely girl-voices in music at the moment, along with an excellent line in guitar loops and a fine head of hair. ‘Strange Mercy’ is a beauty, leaving behind the ostentatious, slightly cutesy demeanour of her previous two albums and showing off a much sharper edge and surer sense of self. Crunchy guitar parts, distorted synths and assured lyrics such as “I’ve played dumb when I knew better/ Tried too hard just to be clever,” show how much Clark has evolved as an artist, and make ‘Strange Mercy’ a completely gripping listen.