Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Sweeping The Nation's Top 50 Albums Of 2017: 50-41

50 Fazerdaze - Morningside
Although from the country's other island, the hazy DIY guitar-pop of Amelia Murray fits into the history of her label Flying Nun's 'Dunedin sound', loungingly etheral guitar washes giving way to forceful fuzzbombs all with an undercurrent of anxiety.

49 H. Grimace - Self-Architect
Post-punk holding societal pressure and power to account isn't that fresh ground, even right now, but something in the band's menace, distorted driving assurance and the pointed spoken word interludes makes it feel relatively fresh for once.

48 Iron & Wine - Beast Epic
Sam Beam's best work in at least a decade is him returning to a stripped down base, the recovered warmth all the better to enable Beam to slow down and tease out the detail from his Southern gothic tales in a way that finally suits his advanced age and experience.

47 Novella - Change Of State
Building on both their spiky psych-pop debut and The Way The World Is Now, it comes across as compact post-punk wiriness with sparingly effective retro effects, personally introspective while still trying to work out how things have changed around them.

46 Storm The Palace - Snow, Stars And Public Transport
Baroque to a fault, the debut album has clearly been a long time in development, richly melodic in a way, aided by Sophie Dodds' compelling voice, that keeps it of a piece as orchestral storytelling folk leans into Kirsty Maccoll-esque genre playfulness.

45 Onsind - We Wilt, We Bloom
The political acoustic-punk wing of Daniel and Nathan from Martha bring in a full band (including Naomi of same) on some tracks without diluting the message, cutting to the core of the bleakness around changes in attitudes and inequality.

44 The Academy Of Sun - Codex Novena
The chance discoveries are sometimes the most rewarding - this second album by an ambitious Brighton collective bases itself in dark post-punk widescreen wistfulness and then delves into post-rock dynamics, psychedelic longeurs and string-laden uncomfortable questing.

43 Post War Glamour Girls - Swan Songs
Coming on with even more compressed intensity to their theatrical post-Cave menace, the serrated guitar sound is leavened with the odd latter-day Radiohead-like moment of controlled ire, all driven by James Smith's literate entreaties to taking the power back.

42 Spoon - Hot Thoughts
Always different, always the same, this album's twist on their leftfield strutting, arrythmic indie-rock is a pale version of funk and high-stepping funk-pop where beats sound like samples, electronics are dramatic and Dave Fridmann's production effect is evident.

41 The Mountain Goats - Goths
Not just the titular throughline, mostly treatises what happens once fashion moves away from your tribe, but also John Darnielle abandoning guitars for pianos, indulging in jazziness and even velvety crooning. Throughout his lyrical pen remains sharp.

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