Friday, 19 December 2014

2014 albums: ROUND-UP

A few others that were good but maybe not always too good.

Ben Watt – Hendra

This is something of a special album for me this year even if I hardly have time to relisten to it that much. The melancholic, depressing, eerily beautiful and lyrically uncomfortable title track is a song of the year. A few others, like the cheerlessly upbeat “Forget” or “Matthew Arnold Field” are good too, but sometimes Ben Watt shows more subtlety than substance. 7/10

Thurston Moore – The Best Day

Basically, Thurston Moore doing his thing. The best part is that this time around he chose to put a bigger emphasis on the melody. Two opening guitar epics are hypnotic and well-written, and sparkles of brilliance are all over this thing. Moore knows he is a limited songwriter, but equally he knows how to present himself. “Forevermore” is one of the greatest things he has ever done. 8/10

The Amazing Snakeheads – Amphetamine Ballads

This is one hell of a combination of band name, album title and record sleeve. Everything matches the music perfectly. Rip-roaring, free-floating, screaming rock music with good riffs and heaps of attitude. For those who want to get mad late at night (preferably – very late). Bluesy, swampy and menacing. 7/10

Fire! Orchestra – Enter
Swedish band whose genre (according to certain websites) goes as follows: experimental big band. Deeply imaginative, inventive music that masterfully shifts from seductive sax-led grooves to charismatic noise freak-outs. Unfortunately, they had to spoil all the fun with those torturous vocals at the beginning of track 3, but overall lots of well-honed improvisation people with taste should appreciate. 8/10

Vashti Bunyan – Heartleap

Vashti Bunyan is of course a legend. Part of the legend can be attributed to the fact that she has recorded very little. But consider the quality. Her first album Just Another Diamond Day and gems like “Train Song” should be enough to convince anyone. Heartleap is a slow, monotonous and incredibly nuanced folk record. And one of those genuinely good things that can perhaps make you a better person. 7/10

Parquet Courts – Sunbathing Animals

To be completely honest, the first time I heard this album – I thought Sunbathing Animals would grow on me. I thought Parquet Courts were doing the right thing trying to slow things down and go for addictive mid-tempo grooves. Sadly, though, the album wore thin too quickly. Good album, entertaining in places (“Vienna II”, for instance, is wonderfully Fall-esque), but should have been more. Weak 7/10

Einstürzende Neubauten – Lament 

From cathartic to atonal. Selflessly experimental. Never an easy listen, and a palpable tune is not to last. Impossible to describe, difficult to listen, incredible to take in, irresistible in its genuine, authentic weirdness. However, let me tell you this. “Lament 3. Pater Peccavi” is the most beautiful thing I’ve heard all year. 8/10

James Yorkston – The Cellardyke Recording & Wassailing Society

Altogether less immediate than James’ brilliant previous album, I Was A Cat From A Book (whose “Border Song” is still in my heavy rotation), The Cellardyke takes time and patience. The folksy melodies are certainly charming but slightly meandering and will require your fullest attention. In the end you will be converted. Because nobody can deny something as gorgeous as “Red Fox” or "Great Ghosts". 7/10  

No comments:

Post a Comment