Wild Beasts: Smother
“If you’re not tired of such things, this is a love song,” came the introduction to Deeper at the Liquid Room last month. As if you could tire of love songs by Wild Beasts. After 2009’s pretty damn filthy Two Dancers (at the same gig,tAll The King’s Men was announced with “this is a song about fucking”), the utterly romantic core of this year’s Smother came as something of a surprise. The heartbreaking Invisible, Reach a Bit Further (the devastating delivery of “Will you by any chance remember the olive branch?” is worth the price of the album in itself) and the trembling Burning stand out in an astounding collection which reinvents the very idea of the love song, made all the more impressive given its unlikely source.
Antlers – Burst Apart
I Don’t Want Love is a serious contender for best album opener of the year, and nothing that follows disappoints, particularly Corsicana and the panicked Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out. Sublime from start to finish.
The Birthday Suit – The Eleventh Hour
Certainly didn’t see this one coming. Rod Jones of Idlewild’s new outfit The Birthday Suit turned out a rather brilliant noisy indie pop album, full of gigantic choruses. Hope Me Home soars, On My Own‘s swirling guitars conjure madness, and They Say I Love You is an unashamedly soppy ballad, and a glorious one like that. When considered alongside Roddy Woomble’s folky solo efforts, it hints at the reason for Idlewild’s hiatus: Jones clearly wants to make a lot of noise, and on Do You Ever in particular, he does it beautifully.
It’s becoming an ambition of mine to have a pint with David Tattersall and just listen to him say words. His lyrical style is twisted, witty and utterly loveable. Two Lemons, One Lime features the line You said you wanted a white wine in red wine weather”, tossed out with a weary sigh as if it’s an unforgiveable slight. Elsewhere on The Wave Pictures’ third album, a more cohesive, addictive successor to If You Leave It Alone, Little Surprise shimmies with a knowing wink, and Pale Thin Lips, arguably one of their finest moments to date, dissects a past relationship with affecting clarity and genuine regret: “You can pretend you don’t know me… I like the times they had, I thought they weren’t all that bad.”
ANR – Stay Kids
Noisy, glittery indie-dance-pop beautifully done with falsetto agogo. Big Problem in particular demands the flailiest of dance moves.
M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
It’s testament to how good this album is that it contains saxophones – 1980s instant coffee-tastic saxophones – and is still one of the best releases of the year. Single Midnight City is not of this earth.