Paramore. Anathema. BROCKHAMPTON. Forest Swords.
The first few singles from this record are so damn catchy, groovy, and awesome. Hayley’s voice is incredible, as always. I love how she adjusts her infection and uses vocal adlibs; adding character, accentuating the music. She supports and reinforces the 80s synthpop music. This record will take a bit of time to appreciate the ballads and latter half of the record.
Paramore may have lost some of their punkier edge, though it was always more pop-infused than punk, this iteration of Paramore is pretty wonderful.
I can not deny how flat-out incredible “Told You So” and “Hard Times” are. Truly jams of the year so far.
Album highlights: Hard Times, Told You So, Fake Happy, Tell Me How
Over the past decade, Anathema has abandoned their doom and metal influenced earlier records. Instead, they’ve continued refining and evolving their special brand of alternative and progressive melancholic rock. While I do miss the metal influence and adored Vincent Cavanagh’s rougher vocal work, I welcome this evolution. It’s important for a band to evolve and challenge themselves – mostly to extend their creative expression and for devoted listeners.
From a storyline perspective, this record sees a continuation for 2001’s open-ended soul-crusher, A Fine Day To Exit. The specifics of which have been covered very well, elsewhere. It will take me time to sit with this record – as it isn’t an immediate project, like any concept record. For now, I’m just enjoying listening to it.
Album highlights: Leaving it Behind, Endless Ways, Springfield, Back to the Start
Brockhampton has so much promise. The collective can’t help but draw a comparison to Odd Future, both in terms of talent/energy, rough aesthetic and do-it-yourself ethos (control all creative aspects). I’d say Brockhampton is more consistent in their overall exhibition of talent – but that might be a premature assessment.
This record is the most consistent body of work presented by the collective to date – which is only their second collective release. Coming off the mild-but-important success of member Kevin Abstract‘s sophomore release, 2016’s American Boyfriend; a record that showed promise but felt too sparse on substance for me. I really adore his ambition and what he’s trying to do.
When each Brockhampton emcees bring fiery verses and bearface bellows gorgeous hooks, they truly are unstoppable. I am kinda sad the incredible “Lamb” didn’t make the official cut. It’s an incredible track.
From what started as a dream on Kanye message boards, this collective is going places and creating some exceptional projects.
Album highlights: Heat, Gold, Star, Fake, Face
I love what Matthew Barnes, as Forest Swords, is able to produce. It’s ambient, strange, haunting, and diverse. His use of snippets is effective, showcased in “The Highest Flood”,”Panic”, and “Raw Language” especially. The sample in “Panic” reminds me of John Darnielle‘s voice, but who knows, it could just be from an old no-name record.
This record, like so many beat-records, is so conducive to my work day living in a code editor and being an introverted work from home guy. I’m digging this.
Album highlights: War It, The Highest Flood, Arms Out, Raw Language