Sunday, December 23, 2012

STN Albums Of The Year 13-11

13 Internet Forever - Internet Forever
The sound of indiepop being spun round so rapidly it might not be sure who or what it is any more, Internet Forever have turned into a synth-indie concoction that manages to be sleek and quite lo-fi ragged simultaneously, not quite buffed to a shine but retaining the belief that fuzzy quasi-shoegaze guitars can coexist with a miniature wall of sound of keyboard patterns, drones and all manner of instrumentation around the edges. That homespun approach refracted through the studio means it retains a DIY aura, lyrically navigating the minefield of the modern ways of (im)personal relationships and all over before it can delve too deeply into itself.

[Bandcamp] [iTunes] [Spotify]

12 Tindersticks - The Something Rain
While not totally surprising given recent improving form, that Tindersticks suddenly produced their best album in a decade and a half is a heartening development, especially given their choosing a nine minute spoken word story with twist ending as opener. They're as much soul as chamber now, looser, more stretched out and working to its own terms, Stuart Staples' infamous baritone fitting in better than it has in ages as redolent of hope and despair as equal partners. The arrangements are still king, more playful, committed and capable of switching from strutting beautiousness to casting itself adrift. Confidence restored, they sound again like only their own people.

[Amazon] [iTunes] [Spotify]

11 Saint Etienne - Words And Music By Saint Etienne
Finally, inevitably, Bob, Pete and Sarah have made their music-about-music album. Or at least their record about how we grow up with, relate to and harness the redemptive power of music. Mostly couched in the musical language of current/recent synthpop in the way only Saint Etienne these days seem able to make it work just for themselves there's a jubilance at heart to match the lyrical wide-eyed joy at being granted admittance to the inner circle ("join our club", indeed) representing the inherent fascination in going to gigs, finding likeminded souls or just getting lost in your own sound world, pop-cultural touchstones as part of everyday life. Best album cover of 2012 too.

[Amazon] [iTunes] [Spotify]

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