Wednesday, December 18, 2013

STN Top 50 Albums Of 2013: 17-15

17 Summer Camp - Summer Camp
[iTunes] [Spotify] [Amazon]
Having put Condale-ish things aside, Elizabeth and Jeremy decided it was time to check where they were ultimately up to. Much as it's still centred on the Instagram synths and slightly askew melodic sense we're already used to, the sound branches out into well trodden paths - pulsing electro, retro disco, R&B and hip-hop production tricks, James Murphy half-inching - and seem more personal in their dealings with what love means and hope for something better while still sounding like this area the duo have already set up for themselves, one of easy warmth and Sankey's soaring vocals. It's an unashamed modern pop record, but not as straightforward as that.

16 Julia Holter - Loud City Song
[iTunes] [Spotify] [Amazon]
The scale and opacity of a song-cycle for the novella/film Gigi - not that not knowing about it precludes liking the record - might overcome lesser talents, but by placing her ambitions high Holter lands in a place that's coated with visualisations of high society opulence being led astray, subsumed in so much slow motion orchestration and soluble electroncs it feels like it has its own gravitational field. Some songs are more pastoral mini-symphonies than songs in the pop music idiom, others cleave to nothing but their own jumpiness, an individualist (if post-Kate Bush via Talk Talk) take on widescreen dramatics within its own internal narrative.

15 Savages - Silence Yourself
[iTunes] [Spotify] [Amazon]
See, everyone, this is *also* what post-punk was. The Siouxsie & The Banshees comparison could be easily thrown about, what with Jehnny Beth's stentorian presence over the kind of stereoscopic guitar sound that was John McGeogh's domain, but to transcend such influences requires a level of self-belief and tightness disguised as looseness to complement the dead-eye focus. They sound like a band rushing to keep up with each other, which is what all the best all-out post-punk bands did - if we're talking easy influences there's easily as much Wire and Peter Hook in there - mastering palpably taut tension and spectacular release. And then it ends with an uneasy jazz piece.

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